New York

From Sex Tech to Weed, 28-Year-Old NY Venture Capitalist Profits in ‘Bad' Business

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

One New York City venture capitalist is looking to break boundaries by funding "bad" businesses, everything from sex tech to cannabis, while eyeing New York’s budding marijuana industry.

Catharine Dockery, 28, is a pioneer in an area where most investors don't venture: vices. Investing is still a non-traditional practice in vice-related businesses dealing in alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, gambling or sex.

Dockery is the founder of Vice Ventures, an NYC-based venture fund investing in early-stage vice companies. Growing up, her father was a bartender at the Corner Bistro in Greenwich Village. That’s where she learned that stereotypically "bad" businesses, such as dealing with alcohol, were not always necessarily immoral.

“For me, alcohol wasn’t a bad thing. People made money and supported their families on this. I always thought that vices weren’t as bad as people thought they were,” she said to NBC New York.

Dockery was listed among Forbes 30 Under 30 list last year, and her ambition continues to grow, particularly in her hometown as New York legalized recreational marijuana on March 31.

To her, the first and foremost impact of legalization is decriminalizing marijuana possession and expunging nearly 160,000 prior convictions.

“The most important thing about legalization is that it has the potential to reverse mass incarceration,” she said.

According to Dockery’s data scientist, nearly 18 percent of people admitted to smoking weed whether it was in legal or illegal markets. Favorability for the drug's federal legalization was high, 68 percent according to Dockery, which she hopes is the next evolution for marijuana.

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday restated his call to federally legalize marijuana.

"Hopefully, the next time this unofficial holiday, 4/20, rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive overcriminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way," Schumer said in Congress.

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