Category Archives: CSE Issuer Stories

High grade, low cost and near production: Winston Gold is ready to shine

Throw in an experienced management team and you’ve got what many would see as the complete package.

With its two assets and strong mining team, Winston Gold Mining, which raised C$545,000 when it listed on the CSE last March, appears to tick all of these boxes.

While it is still in the early stages of developing its Gold Ridge property in Arizona and its namesake Winston project in Montana, the company holds historic data (particularly on the latter) which suggests both projects have more than a fighting chance of success.

Winston is located near Helena, Montana – an area with a rich mining history dating back to the 19th century.

The district is reported to have produced 100,000 ounces of gold from only 150,000 tonnes of ore back in its heyday at an impressive average grade of 22.8 grams per tonne (g/t). A quick look at the records will tell you that the Custer mine – which lies within the Winston property – was a major contributor to that figure.

Similarly, the Gold Ridge project near Willcox in Arizona yielded some good grades in the past, too.

“It was acquired from some people we know very well. It’s also a historic mine, but not quite as prolific as the Winston claims,” explains the company’s chief executive Murray Nye.

The Gold Prince deposit on the project was mined sporadically between 1932 and 1996 and produced 22,000 ounces of the precious metal from multiple veins, averaging almost 12 g/t.

The low price of gold back in the eighties forced the previous owners to move out of the property, but Nye’s interest was piqued by what was left behind.

“What we liked about that was that it had a lot of development done already. They had set up two drill stations underground and we went down and checked it out and they were both in good shape,” he explains.

“Both the drill stations were ready to go and drill below the level they were mining, so we thought there was a pretty good opportunity to start some bulk sampling or test-mining there on a near-term basis.”

This is exactly what Nye and his team look for when assessing potential projects.

“We’re after properties that we believe can get to a development or bulk sampling stage as quickly as possible because the investors who we’ve aligned ourselves with are looking for that kind of opportunity and we think we’ve found a couple of assets that fit those criteria.”

Given that it only acquired Gold Ridge at the back end of last year, not much additional work has been carried out at the property. The company’s primary focus has been on its flagship Winston property.

“We think it has more opportunities in terms of tonnage,” says Nye.

The project had around 630 holes drilled down to around 100 metres or so as the previous owners tried to assess the potential for an open pit operation. They estimated it could be host to around 500,000 ounces of gold, potentially more.

“That’s not 43-101 compliant but it certainly gives us an indication that there are some pretty good gold values in the property and many of them were very high grade,” says Nye.

The CEO and his partner Mike Gunsinger think the real potential of the Winston project lies in the untested geology further below ground.

“Our thinking is – and three geologists have also told me this – that this project is better suited to underground mining. What we’re doing now is drilling underneath where the old workings are.”

Recent results would seem to back up this theory. In January Winston appeared to locate a “high-grade gold vein which could be amenable to underground test-mining.”

Drilling along the Edna-West vein, as it has now been called, yielded grades of 8 g/t up to 44 g/t.

The bonus of these high grades is that it would make the project relatively low-cost.

But it’s not just the grades that make Winston such an exciting project; the fact that the infrastructure is already in place is also a plus-point.

“There’s a major highway within a half-mile of the property and there’s a major power line running right through the middle of it,” says Nye.

“The elevation is also low by Montana standards so Winston would lend itself to year-round operations.”

The plan is to carry on drilling here for another few months and then go underground, with a view to getting into production within two years.

“If we were to start something [underground] eight months from now, you’d be doing the development which would probably take another eight months,” explains Nye.

“Depending on how long the vein is and what you’re mining it would at least take you another eight months to develop that into a shrinkage stope operation.

“So within a couple of years – maybe a year and a half – you’d be in a production scenario if everything went to plan.”

“Our goal is to develop underground access and gradually ramp up to a 300 tonne per day test-mining stage. If all goes according to plan we believe we could achieve this for about CDN $10 million.  Of course the ultimate number of ounces produced will depend on the average grade recovered.”

That’s not a lot in mining terms, but it is a tough ask for a fledgling business. But that there is where the experience and connections come in.

Winston is the second mining company Nye has headed over the past decade, and before that he was involved in financing projects, while Gunsinger has over 50 years of mining experience to draw upon.

So they know mining money people and are also pretty well up on the laws and regulations, especially in Montana.

“Operationally we’ve got a very experienced mining team and management is key in this. We’re very familiar with the state, the regulations there and we have very good relations with regulatory bodies,” says Nye.

The one thing Nye can’t control is the price of gold, although things are starting to look up here too.

“The gold market, in my opinion, is a place to have a serious look right now – it bottomed out but now seems to be back on an uptick,” the Winston CEO says.

Is this another box ticked for Winston Gold Mining? Very possibly.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Feb 16, 2017 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Winston Gold Mining at http://winstongoldmining.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/mining/winston-gold-mining-corp.

Irving Resources unearths exceptional gold, silver exploration opportunities in Japan

When one thinks of Japan, sushi, Shinkansen bullet trains and onsen hot spring resorts come to mind more readily for 99.9% of the population than precious metals exploration. But those famous hot springs are plentiful because of geothermal activity, and this special geological phenomenon in Japan has given rise to some rich gold mines in years past.

The most impressive example in modern times is the Hishikari mine located on the southern island of Kyushu. Operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. (Tokyo Stock Exchange:5713), Hishikari is very high-grade in nature, averaging some 40 grams per ton of gold in its ore.

Quinton Hennigh and Akiko Levinson knew about the potential for exploration in Japan as they were building up ounces at the Springpole deposit in Ontario while running Gold Canyon Resources. Springpole developed into a resource of over 5 million ounces of gold before the company was acquired by First Mining Finance in 2015.

As part of the deal, Gold Canyon spun out a new company with Levinson at the helm. She and Hennigh had for years agreed that if they ever started a new company, it would focus on Japan. The new vehicle was their chance and Irving Resources (CSE:IRV) had its direction laid out from the get go.

As 2017 kicks off, Irving has a project portfolio with all the hallmarks investors like to see – multiple projects with high-grade gold and silver showings, sound infrastructure, and a friendly jurisdiction to work in. Combine these attributes with good share structure and a healthy treasury and the Irving story has become an investor favourite, its stock price rising over 600% in the past 12 months to around $0.90.

In November 2016, Irving raised just short of $6 million, with famed precious metals investor Eric Sprott personally providing the lead order. That leaves the company with over $7 million in the treasury, or to put it another way, all the financial runway it needs for well over a year to begin showing the world how rewarding precious metals exploration in Japan can be.

“We are one of very few exploration companies operating in Japan,” explains Hennigh. “We are building relationships in the country and it is a very pleasant place to work.”

Irving, though a local subsidiary, has thus far acquired three projects, all located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. Each of the projects holds great promise from an exploration standpoint, but Omui is the one that excites Hennigh most at this early stage, and with good reason.

Chip sampling off float boulders on the property returned assay numbers the company termed “exceptional”. The assays included samples of 480 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 9,660 g/t silver, 143.5 g/t gold and 2,090 g/t silver, and others of similar quality. Even the newcomer to investing in precious metals will recognize those grades as being virtually off the charts.

“Omui is a very high-grade epithermal vein system exposed at surface and there was limited mining there in the 1920s,” explains Hennigh. “We expanded our land position by filing for applications for additional tenements, and have also started to prospect beyond the historic Omui mining area.”

Importantly, the exploration team has also found Omui’s rock to contain silica, a common element accompanying veined precious metal deposits, and critical to ore processing in Japan. The early results indicate rock at Omui being very low in toxic elements such as arsenic and antimony as well, suggesting any deposit outlined at the project could yield ideal smelter feed for domestic refineries.

While Hennigh and Levinson will be spending quite a bit of time in Japan going forward, when not there they have teammates to rely on in the country who are second to none.

Hidetoshi Takaoka enjoyed a long career at Sumitomo Metal Mining, helping to explore the Hishikari deposit and sharing credit for finding and developing Alaska’s world class Pogo gold deposit. “I’d say Mr. Takaoka is Japan’s best known geologist,” says Hennigh.

Irving also considers itself fortunate to be working with Haruo Harada and Mitsui Mineral Development Engineering Co., Ltd. (MINDECO) for assistance with permitting applications and other work with specific engineering requirements.

Dr. Kuang Ine Lu, an Irving Resources director who earned a Ph. D in Economic Geology from the University of Tokyo, brings yet another experienced hand to evaluate projects and strategy based on years of local experience.

Longer term, the plan at Irving is to prove up deposits from which to sell smelter feed to domestic smelters.

Hennigh is quick to point out, though, that the company intends to move ahead in a methodical manner, so as to make the most of its financial resources and ensure the highest possible likelihood of ultimate success.

“We are looking to shore up our land positions in the next few months and then starting in May begin field work on the various projects,” says Hennigh. “Omui will be first, as it is our most advanced project and is giving us the best numbers. But we will explore Utanobori, Rubeshibe and possibly other projects we are considering with chip sampling, mapping, soil sampling and maybe some geophysics. This year will focus on refining targets and it will probably be 2018 when we are ready to get drills turning.”

Interestingly, Hennigh says that experienced drill teams are available in Japan not only owing to mineral exploration but also because resorts and energy projects drill to tap hot springs throughout the country. They use core drills primarily, which is exactly what Irving wants so that it can preserve layers of rock and assess veining at various depths in detail.

Shareholders will be happy to learn that the depths Irving envisions its targets at are not that daunting, with Hishikari’s deepest levels of 350m serving us a good indicator for a Japanese precious metals deposit.

And because of Japan’s size and advanced development, project accessibility is not an issue. “Most areas in Japan are accessible by road and we don’t have to walk more than half a kilometer to any of the sites,” says Hennigh.

The stars seem aligned to make 2017 an exciting year for Hennigh, Levinson and the rest of the Irving Resources team. With field work starting in a few months and early project showings nothing short of outstanding, the company is set to draw attention to a country whose potential for precious metals exploration has largely been overlooked.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Feb 27, 2017 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Irving Resources Inc. at https://www.irvresources.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/mining/irving-resources-inc.

MOBI724 at the vanguard of payments and coupon revolution

We all know that shopping isn’t what it used to be since the arrival of smartphones and e-commerce.

What you might not be aware of is that the payments, promotions and coupon landscape is also undergoing a seismic shift due to emerging technology.

At the vanguard of this revolution is rapidly growing fintech (financial technology) company MOBI724 Global Solutions Inc. (CSE:MOS), which provides consumer services that weren’t available as recently as two years ago and is participating in an expanding global market that this year has an estimated worth of $10 billion.

Specialising in card payments

The company specialises in card payments and its core business, explained Chief Executive Officer Marcel Vienneau, is its card-linked platform, which when combined with digital marketing represents a new ecosystem allowing banks, merchants and customers to transact more efficiently with each other.

Card-linked technology is transformative for credit card points programs, and in addition enables card users to receive a tailored stream of offers and promotions on their smart devices.

To give a sense of scale, the company’s website says there will be just over 1 billion mobile coupon users by 2019, up from just under 560 million this year.

MOBI724 also offers digital payments solutions.

“This type of technology simply didn’t exist two years ago,” said Vienneau. “We are selling our solutions primarily to card issuers or banks in different countries,” he adds, pointing out that the company has customers in Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In the Canadian market alone it has 400 customers.

“Most banks, anywhere in the world, have points programs where they issue points when you spend with their cards. Most of these cards enable customers to redeem points and get a reward,” he said.

Reinventing the technology

Perhaps the most significant aspect of MOBI724’s technology is that it has reinvented a clumsy, 20-year-old cost and payment structure, and thereby helps banks to make more money from card transactions.

Vienneau offers some examples of how the system worked in the past and how MOBI724’s better approach makes a difference.

A credit card customer has been awarded 25,000 points for using his or her card and can therefore buy a product with a $250 gift card. The card-issuing bank bears the cost of producing a rewards catalogue and the shipping costs of any product bought.

Now, say that a customer goes to an actual store and wants to buy a gift for $400 and include the $250 gift card value as partial payment. The current system is disjointed and the balance can be made up from cash, or another credit card, which might not be linked to the points system. Obviously, the customer doesn’t get the benefit of gaining more points.

MOBI724 simplifies the process by bringing all the strands together. It links the credit card, which issued the points, with the gift card. A customer can make a payment with an app and it both acknowledges that the gift card has been used and applies the balance owing to the credit card that earns points.

Similarly, when someone is in a store MOBI724 can send a coupon based on location or the customer’s profile, then the coupon can be used moments later at the cash register. The system can also send offers directly to a smartphone at any time, regardless of whether the shopper happens to be at a store or not.

In the preceding case of the $400 purchase, the bank charges a percentage of the transaction value when the points are redeemed, and so does MOBI724. The bank also wins by avoiding the necessity of having to pay for catalogues and product shipping.

“This is a new way to transfer a cost structure into a revenue-driven model, and it is seamless for the user and the bank,” said Vienneau.

It also taps into the way people engage with their banks and financial institutions nowadays – namely, instead of going into branches and using ATMs, people are putting “plastic into phones” and want more personalised interaction.

“Banks are losing their branding abilities but this gives them more channel opportunities,” Vienneau explained.

MOBI724 has invested considerably in its “business intelligence” capabilities, which allow it to map out people’s past purchases, social media interests and other distinguishing characteristics so that it can target them with specific coupons and offers.

“We are not just throwing everything at them,” said Vienneau.

The digital marketing aspect of MOBI724’s technology should also be of interest to advertisers, he points out, as it reveals consumer spending habits and other tendencies.

To that end, the company has struck strategic alliances with several agencies to help further grow the business.

Sales projected to reach $2.75mln for 2016

And growing it certainly is. Two years ago,annual revenue at MOBI724 was just over $100,000, and last year came in at $450,000. For 2016, sales are projected to reach $2.75 million.

Vienneau, a tech entrepreneur who became Chief Executive Officer when the group listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange in February 2015, expects to double revenue in 2017, along with crossing the line into positive EBITDA territory around mid-year.

In the next 36 months, the aim is to have $50 million in annual revenue and an expanding sales pipeline.

Vienneau designed the card-linked technology himself, planning the concept on a single sheet of paper four years ago.

The digital coupon market is projected to be worth $50 billion in the next three years and he reckons MOBI724 is well positioned to win a meaningful piece of this.

The group already has a respected backer in the form of institutional investor Fidelity, which has been involved in four rounds of funding, the latest for a $1.5 million convertible debenture.

MOBI724 announced plans to raise $5 million in July, around half of which has already been obtained. The money will be used to drive growth, as the research and development phase is over and the various technology solutions are fully functional.

Significantly, MOBI724 owns all the intellectual property supporting its platform and has a patent pending.

Vienneau reckons that at a market cap of approximately $5 million, or around twice projected 2016 revenue, the share price offers good value to new investors. “The challenge for us is to go out there and tell our story,” he said. “In time, this should lead to the market understanding our huge potential.”

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 24, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Mobi724 Global Solutions Inc. at http://www.mobi724.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/mobi724-global-solutions-inc.

Mining for Movies: Virtual Reality booms for Imagination Park and its low-risk approach to Hollywood

In a world where corporations with big budgets toil night and day to eke out what often are mere single-digit profit margins, the idea of a company making modest, low-risk investments and generating swift returns of 1,000% or more seems fanciful. Such a company would have to operate in an innovative industry facing serious capacity constraints, and be one of the few groups holding the keys that unlock the potential to address them.

Well, meet Imagination Park (CSE:IP), a young company that actually is on such a path, working in a realm that over time is likely to touch each and every one of our lives…virtual reality (VR).

Imagination Park is home to a multi-talented team whose members have sold feature films, concepts, scripts and intellectual property to some of the largest entertainment studios in the world. It is a company that seems to have the business side of the industry figured out, pursuing a model that provides multiple chances to make exceptional returns while limiting financial risk to a minimum.

How do they do it? They follow the money.

“I am a film producer by trade and learned early on that the best money in film is not made in production or finance, but in intellectual property,” says Gabriel Napora, Imagination Park’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our mission is to create, option or purchase the most compelling intellectual property in the fields of film and VR.”

More on virtual reality in a moment, but to illustrate the power of ideas in the entertainment industry, consider a story Napora tells about one of his many successful projects. “Early in my career, I produced a project called Tetravaal with a young director on a budget of about $4,000. Tetravaal won the attention of the right people and ended up being the precursor to Chappie, which had a budget of around $70 million. But it all grew from an idea that originally cost only a few thousand dollars to produce.”

Imagination Park brings substantial heft to its projects thanks to a team whose members include two highly successful producers — Napora, plus Imagination Park President Tim Marlowe who was the Executive Producer for The Lady in Number 6, which won an Academy Award. Colin Wiebe, a creative entrepreneur, digital marketing expert and musician who toured with the likes of rock legend Randy Bachman chairs the board of directors, which also includes producer and ace talent scout Yas Taalat. The top execs oversee a technical group on the special effects and virtual reality fronts that is second to none. This is a company ready to leverage technical and cost advantages to compete in a large and rapidly growing market for the products and services in which it specializes with an emphasis on 360 degree, 3D virtual reality content.

“Netflix had a budget of around $6 billion last year, you can expect Amazon to match that or be higher, and HBO will have to do the same,” explains Wiebe. “With more and more people binge-watching on Netflix content gets consumed very quickly, so studios have to both be shooting around the clock plus looking outside their walls. But the fact is that there are only so many quality content producers around and only so many production facilities.”

Imagination Park takes advantage of this growing supply/demand imbalance not only by producing films and other content, but also with virtual reality services and more conventional production support.

It does this in a clever way from a financial perspective, structuring agreements so they pay on both the front and back ends. “In film, and to some degree virtual reality, the riskiest thing is financing. No matter how smart you are, nobody can guarantee that a film is going to make money,” says Napora.

“When we create, option or license intellectual property to present to major studios there is always an upfront fee paid by the studio before we go into production. In most cases, we also earn producer fees to move things forward. By the time the film goes into the world we have already made an exponential return, and if the film is successful we’ll make even more. So, our model is significantly less risky than one involved in actually financing films.”

In the next few months the world will get to see a series of Imagination Park projects, including a full-length feature film starring Danny Trejo, several virtual reality pieces, and a full-length documentary. “We are close to having around 18 projects either created, optioned or acquired on our basic slate for 2017,” says Wiebe.

A proof of concept is like a mini-trailer, but the intended audience is a studio or other entity who would purchase or financially support the idea. Imagination Park creates proof of concept packages for third-party filmmakers as well as for itself to market its own concepts developed internally. Napora’s Tetravaal production was a proof of concept.

“Looking back, I have been able to sell about 50% of the projects I have been involved in to major studios,” says Napora. “I am not saying we will sell half of everything we are involved in going forward, but even if we were to sell three or four we would be a very well-to-do company. If we are right on two or three projects and they turn into hits, we become a major Hollywood player.”

On the virtual reality side, Imagination Park has created content soon to be for sale in virtual reality stores. It will also work with advertising agencies, and with film studios that have a new title ready to go but need virtual reality content online to help excite potential moviegoers.

“Sales of virtual reality equipment have exceeded $1 billion and this is not even the beginning of the curve,” says Wiebe. “We are currently in discussions with some major corporations focused strictly on advertising. We have detailed proposals going out to major companies and see this as being the very start of something that will spark a huge wave of virtual reality service work for us.”

The modest investment philosophy extends to all corners of the company, with the chairman saying it is important to stay lean and mean. “Nobody is getting big salaries. Everything is performance-based and we have specific budgets for travel and projects.”

Virtual reality, proofs of concept, feature films and production work are enough to keep the Imagination Park team busy on its North American home turf, but China beckons as well. The Asian country is a huge and rapidly expanding market for feature films, and Napora happens to have both experience and connections there, plus an understanding of the types of concepts that sell to its unique audience.

“There are opportunities now that never existed in the past and they are there for the taking if you know the right people, have the right product, and have a team that can execute,” says Wiebe. “It is like mining for movies. But ours is a mining project where you know in advance that the value is there. All you have to do is go and get it. The skyrocketing virtual reality trend has been an added surprise discovery that luckily we’ve been way ahead of. ”

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 24, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Imagination Park Entertainment Inc. at http://imaginationpark.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/diversified-industries/imagination-park-entertainment-inc.

True Leaf twins medical marijuana ambitions with growing line of hemp supplements for pets

Canadian marijuana stocks have been some of the best performing investments of 2016, as the Liberal Government that came to power toward the end of last year made legalization of the drug one of its planks during the federal election.

It is unclear, however, precisely what form legalization will take from the perspective of producers, as there is sure to be regulation and oversight when it comes to growing and distribution. Investment in a would-be producer is somewhat of a binary play — if a company obtains approval to produce under the current or any new regulatory regime, it has the potential to generate revenue and show investors that its management team can run a profitable business. If for whatever reason it does not get a green light to produce, then it’s back to the drawing board.

True Leaf Medicine International (CSE:MJ) was an early entrant in the space, being the 48th company to submit a production application to Health Canada. But while highly confident that its application will eventually receive the government’s endorsement, the company has aggressively developed a related business whose early success has caught the attention of investors and removes some of the concern about ongoing sustainability. If Health Canada grants True Leaf approval to produce marijuana within the next year or so, it will essentially come as a very large bonus.

Harnessing the spending habits of millennials when it comes to both their own health and that of their animal friends, True Leaf established a new division in autumn of 2015 to develop and market nutritional supplements for pets that contain hemp and other ingredients targeting specific health conditions. According to Chief Executive Officer Darcy Bomford, True Leaf sees annual sales in the True Leaf Pet division potentially reaching close to $30 million in five years’ time.

“We know we can sell pet products today and there are no legal issues. We have a great product line and that is our focus,” explains Bomford. “We count zero revenue on the True Leaf Medicine side in our model, so any value attributed as we move through the various stages of Health Canada’s approvals process just improves our prospects.”

Bomford knows of what he speaks when it comes to pet products, having spent some 25 years of his career to date in the manufacture and marketing of natural products for the industry. His previous company was purchased in 2012, which freed him up to work with True Leaf, and further to consider the pet food space once the non-compete clause in the transaction agreement had expired.

“A lot of people don’t realize how big the pet food industry is until they get a dog – once you go to the pet food aisle or a specialty retailer, that is when you sense its massive size,” says Bomford. “Our product line is geared toward the millennial and baby boomer generations, which tend to appreciate natural ingredients and the value of nutritional balance.”

Being in a big industry is great, but it typically means there is lots of competition. Fortunately for True Leaf, their products have clear points of differentiation.

True Hemp Chews come in three different formulations: Hip + Joint, Calming and Health.

“Hip + Joint is for inflammation in older dogs, Calming is for anxious dogs, and Health incorporates antioxidants for general wellness support,” says Bomford. “Each formula has a hemp seed or hemp seed oil base, and then we add other ingredients. Hip + Joint has natural sources of glucosamine from green lip mussel, and it also contains turmeric root, which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. With Calming we use an amino acid from green tea call L-theanine, plus calming herbs such as chamomile and lemon balm. Health support has DHA, a form of Omega-3 from algae, and pomegranate.”

True Leaf has gotten True Hemp Chews onto the shelves of approximately 500 retail outlets in North America so far. Next steps involve building out the line with new products and increasing the store count. Bomford sees the line extensions leading to larger order sizes from both distributors and individual stores. “We have an oil product that you pour on your pet’s food every day, and a stick format that covers the chewing function,” says Bomford. “Down the road we are looking at launching a veterinary line with higher inclusions of the active ingredients and a functional chew for cats that addresses joint health.”

Moving quickly to make the most of its early-mover advantage, True Leaf introduced True Hemp Chews to the European market in May of this year and is now featured in the well-established Pets Corner chain of stores in the UK. Expansion into continental Europe is on tap for 2017.

True Leaf developed its products with assistance from a graduate student at Cornell University, and given his background Bomford knows how to take the formulations, brand them properly and build the business. “We use the co-pack model to avoid becoming capital intensive,” explain Bomford. “With my previous contacts I know basically all of the manufacturers worldwide, so we leverage other companies’ manufacturing capacity and focus our efforts on the brand. This is a necessary model for international expansion because we can have products made to order locally. We just provide the packaging and then are able to warehouse nearby and serve that geographic market.”

Balance in nutrition and balance in business. It is a combination that investors so far seem to be liking, and the philosophy has enabled Bomford to attract a balanced management team as well, with deep experience in everything from marketing to finance and quality control. Even former British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt is on board – quite literally, as Chairman.

“I think in general, the marijuana producers that have legs at this stage of the industry’s development are those with alternative revenue streams. That is what our pet supplement division provides us and we are happy with our progress there so far,” Bomford concludes. “True Leaf has a very good chance to develop its Medicine division as a supplier of medical marijuana, but you have to put yourself in a position to weather the storm that is the approvals process. I believe we have set our company up well to do that.”

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 21, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. at https://trueleafpet.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/life-sciences/true-leaf-medicine-international-ltd.

Fantasy 6 Sports blends top technology trends to create own momentum in Big Data

Fantasy 6 Sports (CSE:FYS) is a challenge to figure out at first because it is so cutting-edge you can’t think of any obvious comparisons to help put its business into context. A fascinating array of concepts to be sure, but how do you wrap your head around it?

Best start with the broader theme and work your way down to the individual businesses, then consider how they fit together. By the way, we are talking about a company simultaneously shaping fields such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Blockchain and Big Data – only 5 of the 10 technology trends forecast to define the world’s digital landscape in 2017.

At its most basic, Fantasy 6 leverages its capabilities in these technology segments to help brands take their consumer engagement to the next level. “It doesn’t matter what type of industry you look at, data is driving decisions,” explains Ray Walia, Fantasy 6’s Chief Operating Officer and a 20-year veteran of the technology scene. “We are collecting data, we can anonymize it and it can drive decisions for other brands and corporations.”

Sounds like any number of Big Data companies who passively collect data and try to re-sell it with some analytical bells and whistles to entities who need insight into their target customers, right?

Here is where Fantasy 6 is different – this company generates its own data by interacting with a specific consumer base valuable to existing and potential clients. Because it collects data this way, its database is unique and proprietary. And it focuses on a very large and multi-faceted business sector that provides new opportunities for data collection and analysis every day – sports.

A good starting point in exploring the product side is FansUnite, a platform Fantasy 6 acquired earlier this year and is in the process of turbocharging from both the user appeal and business potential perspectives.

True to its name, FansUnite is a place where sports fans who like to bet on games come together to discuss strategies and try to develop an edge, or simply just learn more. “The idea is we are building a community around sports betting and sports predictions that adds a layer of direct fan engagement,” says Walia.

FansUnite gives members a free virtual currency so that they can place bets without putting actual money on the line. It’s the perfect risk-free way to keep score and it gives you bragging rights if you’re good. More importantly for the platform, it separates the skilled from the newcomers and inspires serious discussions around strategy and upcoming opportunities. And for those who operate in the real-money betting world, FansUnite is a universe rich in sports and odds aficionados who can help give them an edge. Think you know better than everyone else what is going to happen in tonight’s game? Well, put your virtual money where your mouth is.

The proprietary data side is well illustrated by shifting popularity among sports, and even the emergence of new competitive pastimes. “The most popular sport in North America for betting is the NFL, worldwide by far it is soccer, but the fastest growing one is e-sports,” says Walia. “The emergence of e-sports has caught a lot of people off guard. Having a site like FansUnite collecting all this data, you cut through the noise and the hype and people are actually seeing that there is active engagement worldwide.” By the way, e-sports is video gamers competing in organized competitions with games such as Counterstrike, League of Legends and other titles you may know. And don’t harrumph – these competitions fill stadiums with spectators.

Mobile games and Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) games are additional arrows in the Fantasy 6 quiver, the first commercial release being Football Fantasy Coach. As you might have already guessed, Football Fantasy Coach requires the player to analyze a virtual game scenario and call plays. As with fantasy sports, your choices are based on real players, with the game providing performance statistics that change in real time as actual games are being played. “It is a bridge of technology into the real world that directly engages the fan,” explains Walia. And it is one more way for Fantasy 6 to collect data for analysis alongside other sources to draw conclusions for client brands.

It is not all just about online experiences, mind you. Some of the “immersive” work that Fantasy 6 does requires actual fan participation, such as when the team built a “dynamic 360 virtual arena” for one of the largest companies in Canada recently that enabled visitors to have their pictures taken and receive an image on their mobile phones that looked as if they were standing at centre ice in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Not quite the same as lining up to the right of Auston Matthews, but still pretty cool.

“We maintain the right focus by keeping balance among these three verticals,” says Walia. “Each has synergies with the others but they all have different skills required to execute. The games division is going on its own with good partners and intellectual property, the data division is collecting data and it is a different audience that they appeal to. And then the immersive side is more corporate relationships.”

And who does Walia think would be willing to pay the big dollars for high-quality sports data? “In context, our data is all around sports odds and so those who can benefit include any entity in gaming, casinos or sports books for a start. They will value the data one way, and then a sportswear company would have its own different use.”

Fantasy 6 is well-funded to move forward with its plan, having received a convertible note facility in the amount of $10 million from fund Victory Square, which Walia, with partner and Fantasy 6 Chief Executive Officer Shafin Tejani, oversee.

And unlike a lot of technology companies for which revenue always seems to be a “tomorrow” concept, Walia has made sure that sustainability is part of the corporate ethos. “The convertible note is designed to show that we have the wherewithal to execute, but a lot of the ideas we pursue are intended to generate revenue and be self-sustaining. That is one of the reasons why we are able to tackle all three of our verticals at the same time. They leverage each other but drive revenue on their own and the teams sustain themselves.”

The next six to nine months will see data continue to build, the games division debut new titles in different genres, and a big push on the immersive experiences side, with the lead role in a $1.5 million fan experience project for the BC Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver a part of the effort.

“We are putting ourselves in position to be a strong player in VR/AR and mobile games as well as sports data driven by artificial intelligence, which will be the long tail,” says Walia. “There will be huge value and opportunity around that. And we know that Virtual Reality is attracting attention and we can connect brands with this and other technologies to help them reach important objectives.”

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 30, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Fantasy 6 Sports Inc. at http://fantasy6.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/fantasy-6-sports-inc.

Drone Delivery Canada readies proprietary drone fleet to speed delivery to rural communities

For Canada’s remote communities the reality of receiving packages from automated delivery drones is a lot closer than many might think.

Commercial deliveries are set to begin at some point in late 2017 with Toronto-listed Drone Delivery Canada (CSE:FLT) taking to the air.

Ontario-based DDC will be among the first ever commercial operations once it secures final approvals from Transport Canada in the second half of next year.

Chief Executive Officer Tony Di Benedetto sees rural Canada as an ideal proving ground for its scalable drone-based business model.

He points out there are over 1,800 isolated communities strewn over a sparsely populated landscape. It is not only a sizable market opportunity for DDC, but it also represents an opportunity for the Canadian authorities to better connect areas that are otherwise off the grid.

For investors, meanwhile, DDC presents a low-priced option on what is predicted to be a very substantial technology industry.

Broker Macquarie estimates the size of the entire private drone industry (which could include agricultural applications, infrastructure inspection, surveillance and surveying as well as parcel delivery) will expand ten-fold to around US$60 billion by 2020.

As an early mover DDC is not as recognisable as the likes of Amazon or Ratuken – customer-facing online retailers that have both been working on drones.

But when DDC’s technology is deployed in late 2017 it will be established as a revenue generating pioneer.

What exactly is Drone Delivery Canada

There are two elements to DDC’s technology.  A proprietary operating system – which will route, track and manage fleets of delivery drones – is perhaps the most significant element; the company’s intellectual property.

The Company has also, by necessity, developed its own drones, though Di Benedetto says that as more advanced third-party drones become available the company will be open to using those.

“We’ve had to develop our own prototypes to commence flying, because they simply don’t exist, you can’t go on the market and go buy delivery drones, they’re not there,” he says.

“Eventually, over time I’m sure people are going to create delivery drones and we’re not locked in to the ‘airframe’ design.

“Our logic is transportable. So if a better airframe emerges in six months we can essentially take our logic and transpose it and now we have a different vehicle for our fleet.

“It is no different than a traditional courier today – they have trucks and cars, and they switch between brands, sizes and specs.”

DDC’s drones can presently carry between 7lbs and 10lbs at a time over a 200km operating range.

They have been tested and, subject to regulatory approval, are ready to go.

Progress toward initial delivery operations through late 2017 will be the key catalyst for investors in the coming months as DDC works to prove the commercial concept.

It recently secured licences to test the technology, and is now awaiting full flight status from Transport Canada, anticipated in third or fourth quarter.

Scalability will be key

The scale of early operations will be driven by the sentiments of two key stakeholders, the Canadian regulator and the initial appetite of customers.

“We will slowly ramp ourselves up, it is about taking proper steps at first,” Di Benedetto explains.

“We’re working with a variety of different clients; we have quite a big roster of clients that we’re engaged with.

“Our clients are large organisations with substantial locations and requirements. We’re not delivering for ‘Joel’s pizza shop’ … they [our clients] are very large corporate and government organisations.”

As the delivery system is proven and confidence builds the company expects it will be able to scale up quickly with drones embedded into its clients’ existing operations.

The drones will be deployed on location for DDC’s clients, which reduces the need for ‘bricks-and-mortar’ type capital spending and as such Di Benedetto says it is “very, very scalable”.

“It is an incredibly elastic model,” he adds.

“It is a high-earning, recurring revenue business. The business operationally produces a lot of cash.”

“Clients would contract us for ‘x’ amount of deliveries per month, and it is a recurring revenue stream from then on. There’s a setup charge and integration fees to get the technology enabled in the client’s environment.

“Once it is installed and integrated we then oversee the operation of the fleet. We are essentially ground control for the client.”

Once it is sufficiently large in terms of client orders, DDC will have the option to contract third-party manufacturing for the drones. This would be another important milestone in the development process.

It is quite clear that DDC is presented with a very significant market opportunity.

It is an early mover with a disruptive technology that could transform the transport and logistics business.

The big question, however, is how quickly and effectively the small-cap company can seize the initial opportunity?

There’s still a long road for it to navigate, and it all starts with final regulatory approval.

Investors will want to watch out for progress towards this pivotal regulatory milestone, as well as any commentary from the company on its commercial tie-ups and contracts.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 28, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Drone Delivery Canada at http://www.dronedeliverycanada.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/drone-delivery-canada-corp.

Cashless and confident: Glance Tech targeting global domination

“Tech is the new oil,” the head of a well-known venture capital fund said recently. But while the scale and pervasive nature of the technology industry’s products might match that of oil, innovation is hardly a commodity. New ideas emerge every day, and most don’t make it, either because they aren’t good enough or the team behind them can’t execute.

Glance Technologies Inc. (CSE:GET) doesn’t look like it will have to contend with either of those problems, as its unique mobile payment technology addresses an issue many people face each day and early data suggest the team is doing a good job getting the product into the hands of its target user base.

Three-quarters of diners in North America use some form of plastic to pay for their meals, but waiting for your server to bring the bill, followed by another stretch before for the card machine arrives, too often means that a good meal is followed by a frustrating delay before you can get on with your day.

The solution to this problem is Glance Pay, an app that Glance debuted the same day it listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange this past September. The app’s premise is simple: allow diners to pay for meals using their smartphones, thereby slashing the time needed to deal with the bill. Looked at another way, Glance seeks to revolutionise how we pay for meals.

“Even when the wait staff are doing everything they can, when everybody is in a rush or all wanting to leave during a peak time it can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to pay your bill,” says Penny Green, Glance’s co-founder, president and chief operating officer.

With GlancePay, users take a photo of the cheque, confirm the amount and hit the pay button. There are also options to add a tip, split the bill and even store the receipt – a very useful tool if you’re on a business lunch.

“The restaurant experience revolves around good service – as a restauranteur you’re trying to give someone the best dining experience so having a great payment experience is something you’re obligated to offer now,” explains Green. “If a restaurant isn’t offering customers the option to pay with their phones, then they’re not offering the best dining experience.”

And increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction is probably not a bad idea in an industry which in North America will turn over US$750 billion this year.

Green – who is listed in Canada’s W100 top 100 entrepreneurs – founded the company alongside Desmond Griffin, the driving force behind mobile parking payments business PayByPhone before he sold it for around C$45 million over five years ago.

“I wouldn’t want to build a payment app unless I had Desmond leading the team,” explains Green.

“We have the person who probably has the most experience and success in the mobile payments sector worldwide as our co-founder and chief executive.”

The experience of the two co-founders – who still own more than 50% of the company – has allowed the business to thrive and develop the alliances needed by any successful start-up, Green adds.

“We have a stellar management team and we have an innovative and highly disruptive technology that offers an unmatched user experience. Those two things will enable us to dominate the exciting space we are in.”

Green isn’t joking when she hints at domination either, in fact quite the opposite. “Right now, we’re the largest mobile payment company for restaurants in Canada. Our goal is to become the biggest one in North America within a year and eventually the largest in the world.”

On November 23, Glance Pay announced it had signed up the MR MIKES Steakhouse Casual chain of 32 restaurants in Western Canada, bringing the total number of restaurants signed by Glance to 95. Glance has been aggressively signing up restaurants, and announced it signed 48 new restaurants to use the Glance Pay app within a recent 36 day period.

Green is more than happy with the progress made by Glance and its app so far on its quest to become number one, and is confident it can be profitable within the next few years.

“We are far exceeding our projections already in terms of adoption rates and usage. Our breakeven point can be after one year of operations, depending on how fast we expand,” explains Green.

As you might imagine, there are a few companies in this space that are trying to provide other solutions, but Glance isn’t too concerned by what they offer.

The main stumbling block for competitors is that they normally require their software to be integrated into a restaurant’s point of sales system, which can be time consuming and expensive, and can also limit the number of potential customers able to come on board.

“With our technology we can have a restaurant live on our system an hour after signing them up,” says Green. “This is something no competitor seems able to match at the moment. It’s a huge advantage.”

Glance also allows each restaurant to offer a customized rewards scheme for its customers through the app, so that regular customers can receive as much as 12% of what they spend back in credits at the restaurant, redeemed seamlessly as rewards through the app.

All 40 of the venues currently up-and-running on the app are in the Vancouver area, but within the next 12 months Glance is hoping to tackle the mobile payments space in other parts of Canada and the US. It already has restaurants signed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and plans to launch in Toronto by spring 2017.

Although the company is looking to move into new areas geographically, with over 3,500 restaurants in Vancouver alone, Green doesn’t expect a move into other sectors such as retail any time soon.

“This is a huge industry and there’s a lot of room for us to grow, so it’s unlikely that we’ll go outside of the restaurant space because we don’t need to,” she says. “However, we are developing an extensive network of diners and restaurants which makes us an attractive target for alliances from many sectors.”

As with every business it’s all about the money, and Green explains that the company recently engaged Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. as agent to undertake a brokered private placement. Glance also completed an Initial Public Offering through Leede Jones Gable Inc., raising C$1 million in September.

GlancePay processed some C$56,000 of transactions in the second week of November and use has been growing at an exceptional rate since launch.

To give investors some sort of benchmark, Glance estimates that each new restaurant it signs up – it’s averaging five a week at the moment – brings with it the potential to process another C$1 million of transactions each year.

Even though the app will only take a small, “competitive” cut of those revenues, the potential is obvious.

But Glance isn’t just relying on transactions across its platform. The team realizes that once you have the audience, offering other features such as advertising and special promotions through the app to clients ups overall profit potential.

Not surprisingly, Green is quite bullish about the sector as a whole, expecting payments on the go to help the world spend over C$2 trillion by 2020. “It won’t be long until mobile payments are the norm.”

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Nov 28, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about Glance Technologies Inc. at http://www.glancepay.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/glance-technologies-inc.

FanDom Sports Media prepares to turn online sports chat into a whole new ballgame

It all started with a lighthearted debate between husband and wife that ended in a draw, both sides claiming their friends would agree that they were right. “Of course they would,” each thought, recognizing friends could hardly be relied upon to render an impartial judgement. But from this stalemate emerged an idea: in our increasingly digital age, wouldn’t it be something if there were a virtual space to go where groups of people could provide a ruling?

The next step was to figure out how to apply this inspiration to the business world. Blair Naughty, the husband side of that fortuitous quarrel, took the idea to friend and seasoned technology entrepreneur Bill McGraw, whose advice was to run with the concept but focus it on a particular set of consumers prone to taking sides.

Long story short, the two now run FanDom Sports Media Corp. (CSE:FDM), Naughty as CEO and McGraw as president.

FanDom’s business revolves around an app and supporting network that aims to function as the global center for sports chat. “You won’t come to FanDom to find out the score,” explains McGraw. “You’ll come to FanDom to find out what people are saying about the score.”

The FanDom concept goes well beyond conventional comment streams, its basic framework designed to supply the one element all high-traffic mobile apps need – a compulsion loop. In layman’s terms, the compulsion loop is the particular thing about an app that keeps people coming back. It’s what prevents you from putting down the game you are playing, even though you know that there are more productive things you could be doing with your time.

Compulsion loops are pretty complex things, based on a deep understanding of the sociology of your core user base. For FanDom, the compulsion loop is an environment in which users essentially become players who compete in multiple ways to determine a result important to them as sports fans.

FanDom users will vote on arguments, taking one side or the other and betting on the outcome with virtual currency. But don’t mistake this for a gambling app, because that’s definitely not what it is.

All FanDom users will initially receive virtual currency to use for betting on debates. The more you contribute to discussions and the better you are at choosing winners, the more currency you will stockpile and the higher your standing will be on the platform.

There are many personality profiles to whom this could appeal, but imagine the sports enthusiast who thinks he knows just as much, if not more, about his favorite teams as the pundits…or even the coaches. On FanDom, you’ll not only get to offer your opinion in the comment streams but also wager on and influence the outcomes of debates on a variety of topics. Think you’re right? Prove it.

“Our initial challenge will be to ensure we have enough content,” says McGraw. “If I vote on eight or nine topics during my morning commute and then look again at lunchtime, there had better be some different opinions in there, because if it is the same ones I’ll conclude that this isn’t much fun.”

Getting off to a strong start will surely be important, and while the app itself is only just heading into beta phase, the game plan for quickly establishing a committed user base is ready to go.

Part of the plan is to dovetail the initial app launch with primetime on the sports calendar.

“Football is starting soon, as well as hockey and then basketball, and of course we have the Major League Baseball playoffs,” explains McGraw. “We have a pre-launch plan that will integrate with events at some major universities. We’d look to do a regional launch in Southern California, then move to the top 15 to 20 population centers in the United States. From there it should begin to generate its own momentum.”

Once critical mass is reached, McGraw says that FanDom has multiple monetization levers it can pull, some conventional, such as online advertising, and others reflecting the unique dynamics of the FanDom app. Examples in the latter category could include sponsorships when FanDom builds discussions around a major sports figure who participates actively on the platform.

Merchandising is another opportunity. “With some things you end up making more money by tying what goes on in the app to what is going on offline,” says McGraw. “I have been doing this for many years and can tell you that there is no magic bullet. You just have to go back in day after day and look for a new place to generate traffic and monetize. You have to let the content people do what they do, and another side of the team has to become the monetization engine.”

Scores of apps are put on the Apple and Android stores every day, but a miniscule percentage have the quality of team behind them that FanDom enjoys. McGraw has stickhandled the launches of over 30 games and mobile apps. Other team members bring decades of game development, online marketing, athlete management and branding experience. The athletes McGraw says the company is lining up participation agreements with are almost all household names. The potential for creating buzz is enormous.

The trick will be to take that buzz and shape it in such a way as to leverage it optimally for FanDom, its users, as well as its athlete participants and their sponsors, a process that will require observation plus more than a little trial and error. “My experience tells me that whatever we end up building, the consumer will use it in different ways than we anticipate. Or the areas we did not think would be that popular will be, or vice versa. Having the team in place that we do gives us the best cut at it to begin with and then we can iterate on that as we go.”

An important aspect of the platform McGraw is confident predicting the course of, however, is that FanDom automatically roots out users who behave inappropriately, which will be welcome news to anyone who has noticed that sports comment streams often devolve into personal bicker-fests. “We will have some moderation of comments, but the testing we have done shows that the whole point of coming to FanDom is to vote ideas up or down,” says McGraw. “Selfish, misogynistic or threatening comments simply fall down the stream and get no attention, because there is no reason to vote on them.”

That will be significant because part of the plan calls for extending beyond the mobile screens of individual users to the televisions in venues where broadcasts are viewed by the public. Think fans at a bar in Boston debating with their counterparts in Los Angeles ahead of a big game between teams from the two cities.

On a bus, on a train, in the airport lounge or sitting at home with your pals, FanDom aims to give everyday people a chance to be part of the action. Perhaps not to the point of donning a uniform and stepping on the field, but to have a voice in an arena with rules, time limits and participants of varying skill is in some ways like an actual game. Real sports fans care passionately about their teams. McGraw is betting that many of them will care enough to carry that passion into FanDom.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Sep 7, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

Learn more about FanDom Sports Media at http://www.fandomsportsmedia.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/fandom-sports-media-corp

ParcelPal sees stars aligning as it readies same-day and one-hour delivery services for full launch

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on Sep 6, 2016 and featured in The CSE Quarterly.

“I want it and I want it now.” So the pundits say is the mindset of millennials, a generation that has grown up amid instant access to information and unprecedented awareness of other peoples’ lifestyles. Businesses, for their part, have long been this way, as some processes simply cannot move forward without the availability of certain items or documents.

Vancouver-based ParcelPal Technology Inc. (CSE:PKG) is counting on these dynamics, looking to provide on-demand (within 1 hour) and same-day delivery in local markets that beats the likes of Canada Post, FedEx and local carriers hands down. The prize is a portion of what the company claims is a market in which billions of dollars are spent each year getting items from one location to another.

The ParcelPal platform is a user-friendly marriage of software and logistics. When a customer wants something delivered they enter the details via computer or mobile device and a courier registered with ParcelPal is alerted to the request. Much like the famed Uber system for local transportation, couriers are rated by customers, and the higher your rank the more likely you are to receive the initial alert.

ParcelPal has aimed its sights on the B2B and B2C markets to begin, focusing on both e-commerce websites and storefronts. “Currently, the delivery process is full of paperwork, phone calls and waybills,” says Jason Moreau, ParcelPal’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is ripe for automation, and by utilizing smartphone and GPS technology we have been able to automate the courier request and engineer a standard of delivery I think people will be very impressed with. Our software is scalable and we can launch in new cities quite quickly.”

Once a courier accepts a delivery request, wheels are set in motion both literally and figuratively. The courier travels immediately to the pickup point and takes possession of the package. As the courier makes his way to the destination, GPS technology is used to monitor progress. No more sitting at home all afternoon waiting for something to arrive – the customers on each end of the transaction can see precisely what is happening so they can make any related decisions accordingly.

The cost is reasonable, at $3.99 within a 4km radius for same-day delivery and $6.99 within that same radius for 1-hour service. Charges on top of the base rate are added for deliveries of more than 4km or for packages weighing more than 25kg.

Of the fee, 80% goes to the courier and 20% to ParcelPal. ParcelPal has also implemented an insurance program whereby customers can select to insure their items for up to $1,000. The company gets 100% of the insurance revenue.

Vice President of Operations Kelly Abbott explains that ParcelPal currently has some 1,600 couriers registered to deliver its packages, each of whom has undergone a screening process and training session to ensure they represent the company professionally.

“Potential couriers come in and meet us and we do a background check and an in-depth training session,” says Abbott. “We have them do a single delivery, then we show them how the application works and how to handle various delivery scenarios. Delivery standards are our main concern, so if anything goes wrong, such as if a courier is on time for pickup but takes forever to drop the parcel off, his rating will turn negative and he will automatically be removed from the system.”

Also reflecting the Uber model, couriers have the opportunity to rate customers. In this way, automation introduces efficiency but accountability is maintained through detailed monitoring of operations and real-time rating of the system’s various human components.

In the first quarter of this year, ParcelPal conducted a six-week beta launch during which it delivered over 200 packages in Vancouver and the surrounding area, its couriers traveling over 5,000km in total. The launch went “very well” according to Moreau.

In the near term, the team is continuing with its soft launch in Vancouver, slowly building the local user base and working out any kinks in the system before heading nationwide, likely in the first half of 2017. “We are receiving inquiries from Toronto and Calgary saying ‘when are you going to be here,’ but we have to make sure it is perfect first,” says Moreau. “Right now Canada is pretty much a land-grab, as anyone with a similar model is focusing on big hubs in the United States.”

Moreau says that one of the verticals envisioned is integration of the ParcelPal platform with online e-commerce websites. “What that means is a company selling shoes, or virtually any product, in a given city can integrate with ParcelPal and during the online check-out process ask how the buyer wants their goods delivered. Do you want it on-demand, same-day, or do you want it through a traditional courier that might take days? ParcelPal would handle the same day and on-demand scenarios.”

Moreau and Abbott realize that ParcelPal will have to cement its reputation before big retailers agree to feature it as a delivery option on their websites. But for smaller retailers for whom such a service could be an immediate boon to business, the API (coder lingo for the ParcelPal computer program a retailer would hook up to its system) and Shopify plug-in are available for download.

Lest anyone conclude that ParcelPal can establish itself as a household name overnight, Moreau is quick to point to the growth curve experienced by Postmates, a local delivery service based in San Francisco that was established in 2011. “It took them about five months to do their first 1,000 deliveries,” explains Moreau. A graph distributed by Postmates founder Bastian Lehmann showed it taking 116 weeks to reach 500,000 deliveries, but then only another 20 weeks to reach 1 million.

All things considered, ParcelPal seems off to a good start, with business in the first half of 2016 having moved forward according to schedule. The company recently ran an online advertising campaign which further convinced management that demand for speedy delivery is out there waiting to be met, particularly among consumers.

“We did an online ad campaign as an experiment of sorts, comparing business shipping versus consumer,” explains Abbott. “We got a little traction on the business side, but on the consumer side we got over 8,500 visits over the course of a month. It was basically an ad asking if the viewer was interested in having food, shoes or clothing delivered right to them.”

Consumer scenarios are limited in number only by one’s imagination, but a busy person needing a particular article of clothing for a function or a group wanting to order food from a restaurant are ones to which ParcelPal is perfectly suited. ParcelPal is planning to launch its consumer app early in the fall.

“Consumers will have the ability to order whatever they wish,” says Abbott. “We’ve created an on-demand marketplace right in your pocket, whether you want your lunch delivered, or you want our drivers to pick up your dry cleaning, it will be possible to have it at your door within an hour.”

For the second half of the year “we anticipate full launch of our consumer app and doing a large campaign in Vancouver,” says Moreau. “Once we are sure it is perfect then we’re going across Canada. We are a nimble young company building out some spectacular technology, and when the consumer app comes out in the fall that is where it begins to get really exciting.”

Learn more about ParcelPal Technology Inc. at https://www.parcelpal.com/ and on the CSE website at http://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/parcelpal-technology-inc