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Money is flowing into pot startups, including Seattle’s Privateer Holdings. Photo: Shutterstock

We all know there’s a lot of money to be made in the pot business, especially in states like Washington and Colorado which have legalized marijuana.

But did you know there is a multi-million dollar pot startup already firing up in Seattle?

Privateer Holdings co-founders Michael Blue, Christian Groh and Brendan Kennedy.
Privateer co-founders Michael Blue, Christian Groh and Brendan Kennedy.

According to the latest Pitchbook report, Privateer Holdings — the Seattle-based company behind marijuana-oriented brands such as LeaflyTilray and Marley Natural — raised its last round of capital at a whopping $415 million pre-money valuation.

Pitchbook’s valuation analysis of Privateer is an estimate, and the privately-held company is not commenting on where its valuation came down in the last round of financing. But we’ve heard the valuation is actually right at $500 million.

Let’s put that number in perspective for those who may have had one too many edibles this morning.

That means the privately-held cannabis company is more valuable than Seattle area tech companies like RealNetworks, Blue Nile and Marchex.

Founded in 2010 by Michael Blue, Christian Groh and Brendan Kennedy, Privateer raised a $75 million venture capital round in April, including cash from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

It was the largest venture round of the second quarter in the Pacific Northwest region, and the company experienced one of the biggest valuation increases, according to Pitchbook. The next closest company in terms of valuation last quarter was Stratos Genomics, which raised its venture round at a $191 million valuation.

“People criticized us for being too optimistic, but it’s amazing how quickly this industry is transforming from an elicit industry to fully legal,” Privateer’s Kennedy told GeekWire at the time of the financing.

So, what does this say about the Seattle startup community?

Maybe we will start seeing some unicorn-style companies around here after all. It just might take a little Blue Dream to make it happen.

Previously on GeekWire: The word on weed: Where pot investors see the biggest opportunities now

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