Special Report: Medicinal cannabis company Montu broke two Australian records last week with its equity raising to support the growth of its network of doctors who prescribe cannabis-based medicines for patients across Australia.
Investors must act swiftly if they want to participate in the capital raising which closes on November 5. If the equity crowdfunding records that the company broke last week are anything to go by, the shares won’t last long.
Montu was the fastest stock to ever reach its minimum target ($300,000 in 59 minutes), and the fastest to reach $1 million (36 hours, 36 minutes). Australian crowdfunding platform Birchal is handling the raise.
“Expressions of interest actually exceeded $5 million, so we’re very confident we will fill $2 million in the next few days,” said Christopher Strauch, Managing Director at Montu.
“It’s good to know you have a market that is very positive towards your business,” he said.
The strong public support for Montu’s capital raising is linked to the strong personal connection investors feel towards the medicinal cannabis sector.
“The market certainly appreciates the opportunity for safer and healthier medications”.
“People can relate to cannabis. Everyone has a family member or friend that has had chronic pain, cancer, or other medical conditions [treatable with cannabis], and they understand the need for these products,” said Strauch.
The company has experienced extraordinary rates of growth of around 40 per cent month on month, reflecting the public’s interest and patient uptake of medicinal cannabis.
“We have been very focused on the key pain point in the market, which is access to doctors, and we have used our resources and capacity effectively to achieve tangible results early on,” said Strauch.
Montu is focused specifically on the marketing and distribution of medicinal cannabis products through its growing network of doctors who prescribe to patients across Australia.
“That is where we see the long-term value being generated in the industry, and that’s where we see the biggest growth,” said Strauch.
Only around 5 per cent of general practitioners are prescribing medicinal cannabis currently, meaning there is significant upside for the business in a fast-growing sector.
At present, the Australian medicinal cannabis market has a value of less than $100m but is set for phenomenal growth in the next few years to reach $1.4bn by 2023, said Strauch.
“We are at an inflection point, with more doctors prescribing, each has a thousand plus patients, and 20 to 30 per cent of those have relevant medical conditions.”
National network connects patients to relevant prescribing doctors
Montu essentially provides a matchmaking service that connects patients to prescribing doctors appropriate to their medical condition and location through its national network.
“The network that we have built has a capacity to serve over half a million patients, and that is constantly increasing.
“We work with some of the largest health providers such as Healius, MyHealth, MyClinic, IPN, Ochre Health and SmartClinics and we have a partnership with Jupiter Health, which is the largest Western Australian clinical network with 300 doctors alone,” said Strauch.
“We have been very strategic in how we approach the market in the most efficient way and to build a network at scale to actively drive change within the medical community,” said Strauch.
The Montu team have a wide range of entrepreneurial backgrounds and its members have started up a diverse range of companies as founders and investors, from ecommerce to fintech and online learning.
“We have the understanding of how to build companies in high growth environments and more importantly, how to build infrastructure early on to be prepared and well positioned for scalability,” he said.
The company’s culture is data-driven and focused on outcomes to ensure everything it does has a positive impact for patients and doctors in its network.
Cannabis medicines can treat more than 30 medical conditions
Medical cannabis is oftentimes hailed as superior to existing medications prescribed to patients.
“I think part of the reason why medicinal cannabis will become so big, and it’s forecast to grow so fast, is because it has a wide range of applications,” said Strauch.
The main ones would be chronic pain, anxiety, depression, migraine and insomnia.
These are highly prevalent conditions where chronic pain affects one in every five Australians, and anxiety around 25 per cent of people.
Within any doctor’s patient group, there can be 20 to 30 per cent of people who could be treated with medicinal cannabis, and once doctors start prescribing cannabis, they become more confident in doing so.
In expanding its network of prescribing doctors, the company has a dedicated liaison team that focuses on making contact with doctors and talking to them about medicinal cannabis.
“There are hundreds of doctors interested in medicinal cannabis, but general practitioners tend to be time poor,” he said.
Montu also holds regular virtual roundtables with doctors to explain the benefits of medicinal cannabis for patients.
“We are constantly exploring new ways to engage with the medical community to fast-track awareness creation and education of medicinal cannabis,” he said.
Own-branded medicinal cannabis products for patients
Montu has developed its own range of medicinal cannabis products under its Circle brand.
The company has relationships with a number of leading cultivators and extraction companies in Canada and Australia, to provide proven medical-grade products that are affordable.
“It helps to have a diversified network of partners to ensure reliable supply,” said Strauch.
Montu has plans to expand overseas into New Zealand which at the weekend has a national vote on whether or not to legalise cannabis for recreational use in the country.
“New Zealand is the immediate next market and we are in the application process for licences there, it is a market where awareness is very high because of the referendum,” said Strauch.
Montu is leveraging technology to streamline the prescribing process and has developed its Circuit platform for doctors and patients to maximise convenience.
“We have a web platform that makes it very simple for doctors to prescribe and can deliver products to any pharmacy across the country as well as home delivery within three days after consultation,” said Strauch.
“We are on a mission to make a real impact in the market,” he stated.
This story was developed in collaboration with Montu, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing. This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions. Any documents linked or referred to in this article were not selected, modified or otherwise controlled by Stockhead. Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in the documents linked or referred to in this article.