Aug 12, 2020
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
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
- 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
- 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
Connect with the Stigma Podcast in the following ways:
Website, Twitter, Facebook,
Connect with host Stephen Hays here: Stephen Hays Personal Website,
What If Ventures, Mental Health
Rolling Fund FAQ