Premium: NBA Legend Chris Webber's $100M PE Fund Offers 'A Seat At The Table'

On the heels of launching a $100 million private equity cannabis fund, five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber and JW Asset Management head Jason Wild spoke to Benzinga to discuss the importance of their endeavor as well as what's to come in cannabis and beyond.

Scroll down to watch the exclusive video.

Aiming For Industry Change

The Webber Wellness brand founder wants a robust cannabis industry that does not leave anyone behind. The effort aims to diversify an industry that currently sees over 80% of its businesses owned by whites.

"We're so encouraged that we get to bring people to a seat at the table," added Webber.

Wild says the past few years opened his eyes to the disparity in cannabis arrests and nascent industry, prompting him to help bring about change. Talks with Webber over the past few weeks revealed the alignment they had on such goals.

"Our mission statement isn't something we have to make up," said Webber. He added, "It's what we live," noting that each of his ventures keeps an inclusive focus.

Creating A Sustainable, Profitable Fund

For Change Together, the two agree that building an inclusive community is essential. They also agree that it is vital that they create a profitable fund to sustain what truly matters: impacting communities most in need.

"The only way we're going to be able to have a real impact and build a sustainable if these companies we invest in are profitable or have a pathway to profitability so they can build revenue," said Wild.

Change Beyond Cannabis

While the fund focuses on cannabis, it is just the start. The duo hopes to foster and support talent while also inspiring other ventures to take up a similar charge.

Webber said that Wild conveys a message to other business leaders like himself. He said their endeavor aims to show other ventures that they too can invest in affected communities.

The response has been substantial early on, with Wild reportedly receiving well over one hundred emails about possible opportunities since the news broke. He said the two are going to sift through the outreach in the coming days.

What's Next

Currently, the group is fielding calls from potential portfolio investment companies. They encourage others to reach out, saying they don't have any strict requirements. The duo noted that they are eager to mentor early-stage companies just as much as they are keen to work with more established operations. "We're open to all of it as long as we think it can be a sustainable, profitable company over the long-term," explained Wild.

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Posted In: CannabisFinancial AdvisorsNewsEntrepreneurshipFinancingSuccess StoriesStartupsMarketsPersonal FinanceInterviewGeneralcannabis industryChris WebberJason Wildlegal weedmarijuanaNBApremiumprivate equity
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