citybiz+ Cannabis Startup Curio Wellness Raises $4.1 Million

Days after Maryland legalized recreational cannabis sales, Curio Wellness has revealed a $4.1 million fund-raise from undisclosed investors, according to Crunchbase. The Lutherville-Timonium headquartered firm raised $21.4 million in 2021, besides securing a $26 million mortgage deal to expand its growing facility from Severn Savings Bank.

Curio was co-founded in 2014 by the duo of Michael Bronfein and Wendy Bronfein. Michael, who previously ran RLC Capital Management and Remedi SeniorCare Pharmacy, serves as the cannabis startup’s CEO. Wendy, who was previously a BBC executive, is chief brand officer and director of public policy, driving the company’s legislative agenda across multiple states.

Maryland’s ‘iPhone’ Moment

“I’ve never been in a state where this day has happened,” Wendy Bronfein told Business Journal about the long lines on July 1, when recreational cannabis sale opened in Maryland. “It’s like when the iPhone came out and people lined up waiting for it.”

Curio is Maryland’s largest cannabis cultivator by market share. It grows cannabis and markets a range of products including flower, pre-rolls, vaporizers, edibles, tinctures, topicals and accessories. It also runs a pharmacy, called Far and Dotter, that sells a large range of cannabis products developed by scores of companies. They include professional-grade vitamins and dietary supplements, hemp-based CBD, and health and beauty products.

Built on guidelines from the FDA and good manufacturing practices, or GMP, Curio’s cannabis growing facility in Lutherville-Timonium is over 50,000 square feet in size. It claims to process some of the finest plant material using state-of-the-art CO2 extraction equipment at a 34,000-square-foot facility nearby.

To push its franchised model for growth, Curio has established a $30 million Wellness Investment Fund to provide women, minorities and disabled veterans access to startup capital and operational infrastructure with a three-year path to 100% ownership. “The fund provides qualifying entrepreneurs with the investment capital they need to become a Curio Wellness Center franchisee, while ensuring their success through our best in class business operations,” Michael Bronfein told TechCrunch. The fund is led by managing director Jerel Registre.

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Patent on Sleep Aid
In June, Curio said it had been awarded a utility patent for Good Night, a cannabis sleep aid line released in 2021. The combination pill is designed to help consumers fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and reduce morning grogginess. The patent will be in force until early 2042.

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“This patent validates the revolutionary nature of the product development efforts at Curio and the novel application of our pulse-release technology,” said Dr. Edward Rudnic, Curio’s chief scientific officer and chairman of the company’s Scientific Board. “This is the first of many condition-specific product patents we anticipate to issue over the coming years thanks to the continued innovation and unmatched clinical testing executed by Curio’s product innovation team.”

Michael Bronfein serves as a board member of the Greater Baltimore Committee. He is also the past chairman of the board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Wendy Bronfein served as creative director of on-air Promotions at LIVE! With Kelly & Michael, and was a managing producer at BBC Worldwide Americas from 2006-2010. She has also worked on shows such as The Andy Milonakis Show, Wanda Does it and The Sharon Osbourne Show.