PsyMed Ventures’ Greg Kubin on Investing in Psychedelics

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PsyMed Ventures’ Greg Kubin on Investing in Psychedelics
Courtesy of PsyMed Ventures

Greg Kubin thinks that the hippies had it right all along.

“They adopted certain healthy eating practices, veganism. They created the music festival. They used psychedelics, cannabis. They brought a lot of Eastern traditions to the West,” he said.

Many of those ideas have disrupted traditional industries. Kubin is mining this idea to co-found PsyMed Ventures, a $25 million fund for psychedelic medicine and mental health technologies. On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Kubin discusses the benefits of psychedelic therapy and investing in the space alongside his co-founder Matias Serebrinsky.

“Both Matias and I had, I would say, our own deep experiences with psychedelic medicine [and] had experienced the transformations in our own lives. And were like, ‘This feels like it could be next’,” he said.

The pair delved into research on the topic and met with people who have been investing in psychedelic medicine, like Dina Burkitbayeva, who joined the PsyMed team. One major issue in the space, Kubin said, is that the Controlled Substances Act has discouraged research and funding in the field.

“A lot of the neuroscience and mechanisms of action are still being researched,” he said.

But more tech founders are now eyeing the space as research points to the potential mental health benefits of psychedelic medicine, Kubin said. There is a particular focus on how the synthetic “club drug” MDMA can treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by allowing people to work through traumatic events in a safe, regulated space.

“A really important concept with […] psychedelics is the concept of set and setting—being in the right mindset, and being in a safe and supportive setting,” Kubin said. “This was not well understood in the ‘60s, and is probably one of the biggest reasons why, you know, people were having bad trips and falling out of windows and buildings and having psychotic episodes.”

Many of the companies PsyMed has invested in since launching in 2020 focus on the burgeoning research and development in this space. As more startups explore the different facets of the medical benefits of psychedelics—ranging from drug development companies like Delix Therapeutics and Freedom Biosciences to Journey Clinical, a company that encourages therapists to explore psychedelic therapies—Kubin believes that the practices can provide real help for people.

“There's a psychedelic renaissance happening right now,” Kubin said. “The general movement that I am observing is that there is an increasing number of people that are benefiting in one way or another from psychedelics and or psychedelic therapy.”

dot.LA editorial intern
Kristin Snyder contributed to this post.

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.