#63 - Psychedelic Focused VC: The Conscious Fund with Richard Skaife

By Stephen Hays

Today’s guest is Richard Skaife.  Richard is Founder of the Conscious Fund which invests in early stage startups pioneering plant powered medicine with a focus on psychedelics.  To date, they have invested in startups such as ATAI Life Sciences, Bexson Biomedical, Cybin, Gilgamesh, Hive, Microdose, Numinus and more. Richard talks about how he found his way into VC, and gives a great summary of the psychedelic startup ecosystem including an overview of the current regulatory environment. Connect with Richard:  Richard on Twitter, Conscious Fund on Twitter, Richard on LinkedIn Other Links Mentioned: 1961 U.N. Drug Convention, https://maps.org/, Psychedelic Industry Job Board HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT: Richard talks about his path to VC and how he ended up starting a plant-based medicine focused venture fund (the Conscious Fund).  We talked about why he is drawn to the mental health space and specifically the psychedelics space. The Conscious Fund likes to invest in the earliest stages and looks for founders who have a true alignment with the psychedelic medicine space. They also participate all the way up to series-B as well. We walked through the regulatory landscape around psychedelics, why they are illegal, and we went all the way back to the 1961 U.N. Drug Convention. We talked about how we got to where we are legally, and where we are going from a regulatory perspective in this space. The amount of information around efficacy and safety is extensive and we’ve had a lot of that information for many decades and is now being resurfaced. We talked about the size of the startup market in the psychedelic medicine space. There are probably 140 to 160 companies in the space and there are more entering every day.  WE talked about ancillary business opportunities outside of the compounds themselves as well. Richard explained where the white space in the industry is today. He talked about medical conditions that are not being serviced by other psychedelic medicine companies in areas such as joint pain or specific addictions, etc.  He also talked about how wide the ancillary services market is for tech creation. The Conscious Fund launched a jobs board for the entire psychedelic space as well. Link here: https://theconscious.fund/psychedelic-industry-jobs/ We talked about the efficacy levels of psychedelics versus other treatments for things like mental health differences and addiction. Connect with the Stigma Podcast in the following ways: Patreon, Website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email Connect with host Stephen Hays here: Stephen Hays Personal Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, What If Ventures, Mental Health Rolling Fund, Rolling Fund FAQ  

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