Vine Ventures: Rethinking Venture Capital for a Novel Approach to Health & Wellness

Starting from first principles

We began with a series of observations:

  1. The Mental Health Pandemic: Staggeringly, approximately 20% of the global population suffers from some form of mental health issues, a figure that was exacerbated dramatically by COVID-19. Mental health ailments present a debilitating shadow pandemic that has swept the globe. Meanwhile, overwhelmingly positive evidence of efficacy in a range of therapeutic indications has emerged from an academic renaissance in psychedelic research over the last decade. Psychedelics are certainly not a silver bullet to curing all mental health ailments, but they are clearly going to be a relevant part of a solution. For anyone who has particiapated in a plant-medicine ceremony, it is obvious that something special occurs when one combines thoughtful intention and mindfulness with the catalytic moment that these anceint compounds provide.
  2. The Allegories of Cannabis: The door that cannabis opened, both from the perspective of regulators’ and that of society at large, will allow other plant-psychoactive compounds to liberalize more quickly. While classical psychedelics present fundamentally different experiences and safety issues, there are a range of lessons to be learned from the development of the modern cannabis industry.
  3. Conscious Health and Wellness: We note the synergistic crossover between novel modalities of health and wellnesss. Whether micro-dosing by bio-hackers, the proliferation of breath-work with hot-cold therapies put forth by Inward or social movements like “California Sober,” which count participants in the tens of millions — psychedelic culture has made a compelling resurgence into modern zeitgeist.
  4. Mission Driven Entrepreneurs: When I started looking at the space, I noticed that some of the best work over many decades has been lead by non-profits like MAPS and Usona (please donate to both, if you can). As we’ve accompanied the growth in venture investment in psychedelics, we’ve come across so many mission-driven entrepreneurs that work tirelessly to build a future where people around the world can have access to psychedelic therapies in a safe, affordable, thoughtful manner.

Industry Analysis

We keep a detailed analysis of the emerging psychedelics industry to date, painstakingly cataloguing hundreds of companies, projects, non-profit organizations and community groups (starting with 283 in Q3-2019 and now more than 700). From this basis, we developed a mental map for how we look at the psychedelics value chain. Starting upstream in research and drug development and tracing down through production and all the way downstream into the interactions with the client/patient (Figure 1). Note: the below heuristic is not intended to be exhaustive, just a way to think about a value chain and touch points with end-consumers.

Figure 1: Mental map of the psychedelics value chain, for illustrative purposes only, no representations made by Vine Ventures
Figure 2: For illustrative purposes only. No representations made by Vine Ventures.
Figure 3: For illustrative purposes only. No representations made by Vine Ventures.
Figure 4: For illustrative purposes. No representations made by Vine Ventures

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Ryan Zurrer

Ryan Zurrer

Founder of Dialectic (dialectic.ch) a family-office focused on alternative assets & Vine Ventures (vine.vc) a differentiated fund focused on psychedelics