Ex-NBA Player Al Harrington Raises $16 Million in Funding for His Cannabis Business - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

Former NBA player Al Harrington’s career has gone up in smoke since he left the NBA. But, it’s due to his cannabis business, Viola, which, according to BET, has successfully closed a $16 million funding round led by Gotham Green Partners.

“Over the last five years, Viola has been dedicated to creating and producing quality herbal experiences for our customers,” said Harrington, CEO of Viola, in a statement. “With the financial support and investment of Gotham Green Partners, our ability to dedicate more physical space to growing and cultivating our flowers and team will make the possibilities endless.”

The company said that this latest round of funding will assist with the acquisition of a 34,500-square-foot cultivation, processing, and distribution facility in Adelanto, CA, as well as the completion of Viola’s 48,000-square-foot facility in Detroit. The funds will also enable Viola to continue to grow the company’s personnel with key new hires that will establish Viola as a leader in the cannabis marketplace.

“We are thrilled to be aligned with Viola as the company expands its lifestyle brand into new markets,” said Jason Adler, managing member of Gotham Green Partners. “As the firm’s visionary, Al has successfully launched the concept and subsequently surrounded himself with a top-notch management team. Further, Al’s background and the company’s mission resonate with a broad and engaged consumer base, and we are excited to see Viola products on more retail shelves across the country.”

Al Harrington Viola cannabis business

In an interview earlier this year with NJ.com, Harrington explained why he got into the extracts side of cannabis business: “Well, one reason was that building a brand in this space is far easier (than flower). Colorado, where we started, is more of a ‘deli’-style experience: The flower is in jars, and the jar’s contents go into this boring, white paper sack. But with extracts, you’re able to create some distinctive end-user packaging to set yourself apart.”

Founded in 2011, Viola is one of the nation’s leading producers and licensed wholesalers of premium quality cannabis products. The brand is named after and inspired by Al’s grandmother, who suffers from glaucoma and diabetes and finds solace in cannabis remedies.

Gotham Green Partners is a New York and California-based private equity firm focused on deploying capital into cannabis and cannabis-related enterprises on a global scale. The firm manages a diversified portfolio of investments and is actively investing across the cannabis value chain.