A company set up by two Scottish rugby internationals to provide an alternative to mainstream painkillers has secured its first external investor after reporting a surge in sales due to “covanxiety”.
Alex Stewart, a founding partner of Clyde Blowers Capital, has put an undisclosed amount of cash into Pure Sport CBD in a deal that is said to value the company at £2.8 million. Launched last year by former Glasgow Warriors teammates Grayson Hart and Adam Ashe, Pure Sport CBD provides cannabidiol products to assist in injury recovery, easing anxiety and promoting sleep.
Originally set up to help fellow athletes deal with the stresses and strains of high level competition, Pure Sport CBD has reported a surge in interest among those seeking to cope with rising anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic. As lockdown restrictions have become tighter in recent weeks, the company has seen a 30 per cent increase in website hits and an increase of nearly 25% in sales.
Compared to February of this year, before lockdown began, sales in September have increased more than four-fold.
The investment by Mr Stewart will allow Pure Sport CBD to develop more products to meet rising demand, and increase world-wide marketing.
“Whether people are scared for health reasons or their livelihood or both, more people are experiencing some level of anxiety right now, especially given the fact many are forced to live without their usual support network and friends and family,” Mr Hart said.
“That’s why people are searching for other solutions to calm racing minds and cure insomnia. We believe the product can do tremendous good in the world and it feels incredibly worthwhile that it’s helping at a time when people really, really need it.”
Although the business has been on the go for nearly two years, Mr Ashe has only recently been able to promote it publicly after his departure from Warriors was announced at the beginning of last month. The club has a blanket ban on players endorsing certain types of products.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical substance found in cannabis, but it does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound that gets users “high”.
CBD is used by professional rugby players such as Jerome Kaino of the All Blacks, Rhys Webb of Wales and Scotland star Finn Russell. Market research from Brightfield Group estimates the European CBD market will grow to nearly £1.4 billion by 2023.
“CBD in the UK is still largely unregulated, so there are a lot of products out there that are hit and miss, weak or contaminated and far from medical grade,” Mr Hart said. “We’re in this to convince the world that there is a safe natural solution to help people feel and live better – that’s why we only sell the most rigorously tested, high-quality, natural products.”