Category Archives: Public Entrepreneur

Chris Driessen on Building “THE” House of Brands in Cannabis | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Barrington Miller is joined by Chris Driessen, CEO of SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CSE:SLNG) to discuss how he is applying his skill set in his recently appointed role as CEO and what he thinks it means to build “THE” ‘House of Brands’ in the cannabis industry.

Here’s an overview of what Barrington and Chris cover in this edition of the #HashtagFinance podcast:

0:35 – Introducing Chris Driessen
3:55 – How to compete in the Colorado market
5:41 – Building ‘THE’ House of Brands
7:35 – Upcoming milestones for 2021
9:20 – The foundation of SLANG’s culture
12:30 – Popular products during COVID
15:35 – Discussing Colorado – an early hot spot for the industry
17:35 – Why North American footprint is critical
19:00 – What are the company’s KPIs?
22:50 – The importance of making good on promises

About SLANG Worldwide Inc.
SLANG Worldwide Inc. is a global leader in the cannabis CPG sector with a diversified portfolio of popular brands distributed across the United States. The Company specializes in acquiring and developing market-proven regional brands as well as launching innovative new brands to seize global market opportunities. SLANG is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol SLNG and on the OTCQB under the symbol SLGWF.

Learn more about SLANG Worldwide at https://thecse.com/en/listings/life-sciences/slang-worldwide-inc

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Sky Pinnick on Building an Authentic Cannabis Brand from Nevada | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Anil Mall chats with Sky Pinnick, CMO of C21 Investments Inc. (CSE:CXXI), to discuss the company’s retail footprint off “the strip” in Nevada and how Sky is applying his 20-year experience in filmmaking to craft an authentic brand around C21 and its products.

Here’s an overview of what Anil and Sky cover in this edition of the #HashtagFinance podcast:

0:35 – Introducing Sky Pinnick
1:48 – C21: A profitable model in the cannabis sector
2:59 – Weathering the pandemic “storm”
5:55 – Introducing Bruce Macdonald as the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board
6:18 – What Sonny Newman brings to the table as CEO
8:44 – Silver State Relief – 40K walk-in customers per month
10:55 – Staying off “the strip”
11:18 – The expectations of the “green rush”
16:35 – Why it is ok to wait for Federal Legalization
19:14 – The customer experience in Nevada
22:09 – Sky’s role at C21 and his background in film
26:49 – Sky’s passion for the plant
29:35 – Battling the cannabis stigma
32:00 – Milestones ahead for C21

About C21 Investments Inc.
C21 Investments is a vertically integrated cannabis company that cultivates, processes, and distributes quality cannabis and hemp-derived consumer products in the United States. The Company is focused on value creation through the disciplined acquisition and integration of core retail, manufacturing, and distribution assets in strategic markets, leveraging industry-leading retail revenues with high-growth potential multi-market branded consumer packaged goods. The Company owns Silver State Relief and Silver State Cultivation in Nevada, and Phantom Farms, Swell Companies, Eco Firma Farms, and Pure Green in Oregon. These brands produce and distribute a broad range of THC and CBD products from cannabis flowers, pre-rolls, cannabis oil, vaporizer cartridges and edibles. Based in Vancouver, Canada, additional information on C21 Investments can be found at www.sedar.com and www.cxxi.ca.

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Galen McNamara on the Wild History, Promising Future of the Silver State | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Anil Mall chats with Galen McNamara, CEO of Summa Silver Corp. (CSE:SSVR), about the colourful history of the Silver State – Nevada – and the company’s ambitions to revive the Belmont Mine, one of the most prolific silver producers in the United States between 1903 and 1929.

Here’s an overview of what Anil and Galen cover in this edition of the #HashtagFinance podcast:

0:35 – Introducing Galen McNamara
2:20 – Focus on Gold and Silver in Nevada
4:15 – The discovery story
8:21 – History: Tasker Oddie and Wyatt Earp
10:21 – History: Howard Hughes in Nevada
14:13 – Describing a Carlin-type gold deposit
15:50 – History: George Wingfield – a gambler
18:25 – History: George Graham Rice – one of the original stock promotors
22:35 – Industry analogs for Summa Silver
27:35 – The team at Summa Silver
31:35 – Galen’s first time as CEO
34:01 – His best exploration story
36:35 – What’s happening at Belmont Silver Mine
39:50 – The Bonanza King

Summa Silver Corp is a Canadian junior mineral exploration company. The Company has options to earn 100% interests in the Hughes property located in central Nevada and the Mogollon property located in southwestern New Mexico. The Hughes property is host to the high-grade past-producing Belmont Mine, one of the most prolific silver producers in the United States between 1903 and 1929. The mine has remained inactive since commercial production ceased in 1929 due to heavily depressed metal prices and little to no modern exploration work has ever been completed.

Related links
https://thecse.com/en/listings/mining/summa-silver-corp
https://www.summasilver.com/

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Anoosh Manzoori on the Diversified Approach to Small Cap Investing | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Phillip Shum chats with First Growth Funds Limited (CSE:FGFL) CEO Anoosh Manzoori about how his company provides advisory services to companies and invests across a diversified portfolio of different asset classes, including equity and convertible note investments in large and small cap public listed and private companies.

The company also invests in technology companies involved in the development of blockchain solutions as well as direct investments in established and liquid Cryptocurrency (for example Bitcoin and Ethereum).

Related Link: https://www.firstgrowthfunds.com/ 

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Bob Groesbeck on the Vegas Retail Rollercoaster of 2020 | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Barrington Miller chats with Bob Groesbeck, Co-CEO of Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (CSE:PLTH) about his company’s challenges – and newfound opportunities – serving customers through their Vegas SuperStore during the pandemic:

0:35 – Introducing Planet 13 holdings – an entertainment company
1:35 – Life since MJBiz in Vegas
4:33 – Having the team to make the transition to delivery possible
7:03 – The Planet 13 product offerings – expansion of the house brand
10:24 – Current tourism trends
12:58 – What the company plans to do with its recently raised funds
14:49 – Post-COVID plans
16:44 – Origin of the Planet 13 name

Planet 13 is a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Nevada, with award-winning cultivation, production and dispensary operations in Las Vegas – the entertainment capital of the world. Planet 13’s mission is to build a recognizable global brand known for world-class dispensary operations and a creator of innovative cannabis products. Planet 13’s shares trade on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE) under the symbol PLTH and OTCQX under the symbol PLNHF.

Related links
www.planet13holdings.com
https://thecse.com/en/listings/life-sciences/planet-13-holdings-inc

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Setti Coscarella on the Better Way to Smoke | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Phillip Shum chats with TAAT Lifestyle & Wellness Ltd. (CSE:TAAT) CEO Setti Coscarella about their objective to introduce an innovative, experience-driven alternative to tobacco cigarettes for tobacco smokers who aspire to leave nicotine behind.

Here’s an overview of what they cover in this episode of #HashtagFinance:

0:35 – Introducing Setti and the TAAT mission
1:57 – Setti’s background with Phillip Morris’ heat – not burn – product (IQOS)
4:15 – How Hemp/CBD cigarettes emulate a tobacco/nicotine smoke
7:43 – Manufacturing and marketing differences between hemp and tobacco cigarettes
11:53 – Recently secured manufacturing partner and patent filing
14:42 – Where TAAT is currently being sold and tested
16:37 – What you didn’t know about the tobacco industry
18:35 – Setti’s goals as the new CEO of TAAT
19:45 – TAAT’s opportunity in the 900Bn global tobacco market

Related links
https://thecse.com/en/listings/life-sciences/taat-lifestyle-wellness-ltd
https://taatusa.com/ 

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NexTech AR Solutions: Evan Gappelberg’s latest venture is a big bet on the future of augmented reality

Imagine you are shopping online for a new couch. You find one you like, but it is hard to know if the colour quite matches the rest of your furniture, and the retailer’s website only has a 2D photo of it from the front.

Now imagine being able to view and rotate the couch in full 3D and use your phone to project a volumetric image that you can place, pinch, zoom and walk around, right into your living room.

That’s one example of how augmented reality is changing the way people shop, and shopping is just one of four verticals NexTech AR Solutions (CSE:NTAR) is pursuing in the sector.

Chief Executive Officer Evan Gappelberg calls it “ARitizing,” and his company has done it to everything from furniture to firearms to human holograms.

A self-described crazy entrepreneur looking for the next trillion-dollar megatrend, idea or industry, Gappelberg prides himself on identifying the next big thing. He has invested in dozens of successful ventures and led companies in the software and cannabis spaces, and three years ago he found his latest muse, augmented reality.

Augmented reality is a new concept to most people. Tell us how NexTech AR was formed and why you became interested in the industry.

I spent 30 years on Wall Street, and on Wall Street you always have to identify the hot stock in the hot sector. In the 1990s, it was the internet. Then energy and real estate took centre stage in the early 2000s. And then in 2008 the iPhone kicked off a paradigm shift, with mobile phones creating an entire new industry and stock sector called social media. Then, in 2015, everything switched to cannabis investing. Now and in the 2020s, technology, and specifically AR, AI and IoT, will create new billion-dollar companies seemingly overnight.

To be a successful investor I have followed the flow of money, which has made me kind of a generalist. If oil and gas is a hot sector, I do a ton of industry research and I become an expert in everything to do with oil and gas. Same for technology, healthcare, social media, etc. I research industries as I get deeper into them, and I start to understand how they work, which makes investing life interesting since I’m always learning something new.

I identified cannabis as the next big wave in 2011. It took a few years, but I brought in seed capital for a cannabis company that went public in Canada in 2016, and in 18 months it went up by 40 times. It was about identifying the trend and getting in before the big wave, then riding the wave, although to avoid a round trip you need to be able to see if the sector you are in is about to go through growing pains or get disrupted. Most of my investments are not buy and hold, although I did take a gaming company called Take-Two Interactive Software public in the 1990s, and today it has a $15 billion market cap. That was one I should have held.

Not to say I haven’t had my fair share of mistakes, but I do have a solid track record of picking industries that really have the potential to be grand-slam-home-run investments.

That brings us to augmented reality. I was introduced to AR in late 2017, and as soon as I saw it I knew that it was going to be the next big thing.

To take advantage of the coming AR megatrend, I founded NexTech AR Solutions in January 2018. Our first product was ARitize, which is an app that went live in 2018. It’s a white label AR app that we are having a lot of success with. It can create AR experiences and allow us to demo augmented reality to our enterprise clients. So that is how we got started.

As CEO and Founder of NexTech, I put my money where my mouth is by investing in my own company. I have invested millions in NexTech, and currently I take 100% of my salary in stock, plus I have made four purchases of the company’s shares this year alone. The only reason to do that is because I think the company is going to be worth a lot more over the following 12 to 24 months.

How does your technology augment a user’s reality?

We were first to market with a webAR e-commerce solution, which we launched in early 2019. It allows customers, on any web browser without requiring an app, to just click on a web icon and view a 3D model in augmented reality. And if they are on a mobile device, the product shows up as an AR digital twin.

We recently signed up an eyewear company, Clearly.ca, and are ARitizing seven different styles of glasses for them. We’ve created a special 3D/AR advertising platform where you can put your face up to your phone or up to your computer screen, and the glasses will appear on your face, so you can try them on virtually before you buy.

It sounds as if the possibilities are endless. What does the business model for such an evolving technology look like?

It’s a SaaS business model. You can download the ARitize360 app for free, and then after that you pay for usage. It can cost as little as $40 to $99 for an AR scan, and the goal is to get it down to $10 to $20 per scan. If we can do that, we expect to see mass adoption.

The cost has to do with human touch-up, as the less interaction there is with the asset, the cheaper it is. We are currently the only company that has virtually zero human interaction, so nobody needs to touch it.

Businesses can then use those assets on our 3D/AR ad network, which launched this year.

Most medium-sized businesses are spending $50,000 a month on ads, and we have proven that 3D ads generate a 300% increase in conversions. We have done testing on an e-commerce site we own, vacuumcleanermarket.com, and the 3D ads we ran brought a 300% jump in sales.

And if you can grow something 300% by switching to our ad network, you are going to do it. We get a percentage of those dollars, so it’s less about how much money we make on the 3D asset itself and more about how companies use that asset to drive sales for their business.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting companies in different ways. What has it meant for NexTech so far?

Well, we had a platform called ARitize University, which has morphed into our recently acquired InfernoAR virtual events and video conferencing platform, which is surging right now.

InfernoAR is the only platform that offers virtual video conferences with augmented reality. So, if you’re watching a presentation and there’s a product on the screen, by using our ARitize app you can take your phone and scan a QR code, which literally pulls out of the screen whatever product it is you’re viewing and places it in the room with you. We see this as transformative new technology.

InfernoAR is booming. Because so much has been shut down by COVID-19, governments, businesses, universities, healthcare providers, really everyone is looking for a way to communicate remotely, and we have the only immersive platform driven by our AR that allows you to create human holograms or to have 3D/AR product views, all built into this video conferencing platform.

It’s funny watching people try it for the first time, because they will literally press their nose against the screen of their computer to get a closer look. I literally see them move all the way in, because they cannot believe what they are seeing.

We recently doubled our sales force, as we continue to sign up new customers, and we expect to double it again this year. Because we are in the fastest growing market sector, which is the technology sector enabling the work-from-home and shop-from-home paradigm shift, our business really has the potential to explode and grow exponentially, similar to the way that Zoom has grown recently. Zoom just reported that revenue grew 169% for their last quarter, while we reported 169% growth for last month alone, so similarities do exist.

You clearly have unique products that fit the times. How are sales going?

We had record revenue and record gross profit in the month of May. We saw $1.3 million in revenue and $800,000 in gross profit, which is a 169% increase year over year on the revenue side and a 290% increase on the profit side.

We are firing on all cylinders right now. Virtual events, augmented reality, e-commerce – they’ve never been stronger. And we see that trend continuing. June should be better than May, and July better than June. We are projecting $15 million to $20 million in revenue in 2020, and possibly double that in 2021, up from $6 million in 2019.

It goes without saying that a company such as NexTech is constantly evolving. What’s on your radar for the next little while?

There are a few things on the horizon. First is to continue to succeed with our virtual video conference platform and build up our sales force.

We also have our 3D/AR ad network that is starting to gain traction and show sales wins, so we are going to have to build a team around that and allow it to scale.

Lastly, we are looking at acquisitions. We have made four acquisitions since we went public, and we continue to look for more.

There are some exciting opportunities out there in the world of augmented reality. There are a lot of little start-ups that would fit right in with NexTech and help us to push our technology forward without having to spend time and money on development costs.

This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about NexTech AR Solutions
at https://www.nextechar.com/.

Anthony Brown on Computing the New Digital Era | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Anil Mall chats with Anthony Brown, CEO of AMPD Ventures Inc. (CSE:AMPD), about his company’s ambitions in providing high-performance cloud and computing solutions for low-latency applications, including video games and eSports, digital animation and visual effects, and big data collection, analysis and visualization.

Here’s an overview of what Anil and Anthony cover in this edition of the #HashtagFinance podcast:

0:35 – Catching-up with AMPD CEO Anthony Brown.
3:10 – What does it mean to be a “Next Generation Digital Infrastructure” company?
4:45 – High Performance Computing vs Commodity Computing.
6:00 – The potential of the global eSports, virtual reality, and digital effects sectors.
8:55 – Recent announcements re: AccelByte and Versatile Media.
13:06 – The financial impact on the film and television industry.
16:15 – Being the company that provides the picks and shovels for the gold rush of virtual production.
20:15 – The Supercluster Project w/ an airline manufacturing plant.
24:20 – How Anthony’s passion comes from his 30 years of experience in the industry.
27:15 – What Stephen Hynes brings to the AMPD team.
30:15 – The Waterfall Building and how it illustrates urban efficiency.
33:35 – Outlook for the remainder of the year.
35:35 – The coming Virtual Reality metaverse aka Ready Player One.

Related links
https://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/ampd-ventures-inc 
https://ampd.tech 

A legal disclaimer for AMPD Ventures Inc. can be found here: https://ampd.tech/legal/general-disclaimer/

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InnoCan Pharma: Better delivery of CBD to the body holds the potential to lower costs and broaden treatment options

CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other benefits. Its popularity reflects, in part, that it is positioned as non-psychoactive while still providing access to many aspects of the cannabis plant that are good for human health.

The challenge is to create a more precise and efficient method for delivering CBD into a patient’s body, preferably allowing for synergistic effects and/or controlled release.

InnoCan Pharma (CSE:INNO), based in the Israeli tech hub of Herzliya, has found what might be the golden ticket for CBD-integrated pharmaceutical technology in the form of a method to inject CBD into the body.

InnoCan and Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s business engagement centre supporting scientific discovery, are collaborating on a revolutionary exosome-based technology that targets both central nervous system indications and COVID-19 coronavirus symptoms, as CBD-loaded exosomes have the potential to provide anti-inflammatory properties to help infected lung cells recover. Public Entrepreneur spoke with InnoCan Chief Executive Officer Iris Bincovich recently about this project and other exciting directions the company’s technologies are taking.

Tell us about your personal background and how InnoCan came to be.

My background is in healthcare, working in the international pharmaceutical and cosmetic and medical device arena, and I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Israel Institute of Technology.

I have experience developing strategies and building brands in the dermatology space, and I have worked and communicated with top pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Estée Lauder and L’Oréal.

InnoCan Pharma was established by Yoram Drucker, an Israeli serial intrapreneur with experience founding companies in the field of stem cells; Ron Mayron, former CEO of Teva Israel, Teva Pharmaceutical being one of the most important generic drug producers in the world; plus Nir Avram, who was on the pharmaceutical innovation team at Perrigo and holds a number of patents, not to mention more than 30 years of experience developing topicals. We bring worldwide experience in healthcare and nearly 20 years of international marketing, business development and sales experience. I have led and managed hundreds of successful international transactions in the OTC cosmetics and dermatology sector.

InnoCan gives me an opportunity to utilize my experience, take my knowledge in the healthcare markets and combine it all into a company that today is active in three different segments.

We are involved in several pharma projects with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and with Tel Aviv University to better administer cannabinoids into the body with innovative delivery platforms and potential to treat several diseases.

We have also developed a line of over-the-counter topicals, Relief & Go, targeting a variety of skin conditions associated with issues like pain relief. Our pain relief spray provides a fast-action muscle relaxant and pain relief. It contains an analgesic blend of active ingredients, with isolated CBD to provide temporary relief of muscle and joint pain.

And we developed a line of CBD-integrated derma cosmetics, SHIR, whose formulations feature a tailored blend of active ingredients and technologies.

Let’s talk about the technology itself.  How is the company using exosomes and CBD?

We are developing a new platform that delivers cannabinoids in an improved way into the body. Our latest project is a collaboration targeting the COVID-19 virus with Tel Aviv University and Professor Daniel Offen, who heads the Neuroscience Laboratory at the Felsenstein Medical Research Center.

Exosomes have the ability to target damaged cells like a targeted missile, improve regeneration and assist in their recovery. Together with Professor Offen, an experienced researcher on cell and gene therapy in neurodegenerative diseases, we are looking to develop new technology that might be applicable to several indications.

Professor Offen is a co-founder of several biotechnology companies developing therapies for neurological disorders. One of them, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, developed cell treatment for ALS patients and is now in Phase III clinical trials.

Along with Professor Shulamit Levenberg of Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, he previously utilized loaded exosomes administered by intra-nasal spray into rats with severe spinal cord injuries. The results were dramatic. Within a few weeks, the rats began to walk again.

With COVID-19, most people die from a secondary infection and lung or multi-organ failure. CBD is highly anti-inflammatory, and CBD-loaded exosomes, which we refer to as CLX, may hold the potential to provide anti-inflammatory properties and assist in the recovery of infected lung cells.

The lungs are the organ most affected by COVID-19, so the CLX are expected to be administered by inhalation.

How far along in the development process are you?

We are in the preclinical stage, which we estimate will take nine to 12 months. We will begin production of exosomes loaded with CBD and then do in-vitro proof of concept in several models.  From there, we will do animal proof-of-concept models and then safety testing.

InnoCan’s strategy is to combine R&D with commercial experience. Professor Offen has more than 20 years of experience working with stem cells and exosomes, and he has already established companies developing therapies for neurological diseases.

How do these different delivery methods compare to taking CBD oil orally?

We are developing a unique technology with Professor Barenholz from the Hebrew University to enable the injection of CBD into the body. When you take cannabinoids orally, about 80% of it is destroyed by enzymes of the liver. Patients overload to achieve a therapeutic level.  More than that, the dose is not controlled systematically. In each case, a drop of oil is put below the tongue and it might take some time from administration until therapeutic effect is achieved. Size and therapeutic effect can differ from one drop to the next. We are proposing a much more controlled and effective delivery system.

CBD is an oil molecule that normally cannot be easily injected into the body. But once isolated inside a capsule, such as a liposome, it could be injected. Liposomes are small vesicles that could entrap a substance inside.

Imagine a child with epilepsy – which there is already an FDA-approved CBD drug for – having a seizure; today he needs to be under close care, to be given the medicine, it will take a few minutes until the effect begins, and so on. InnoCan’s approach could be different. We are looking at a solution where the child will have a smartwatch connected to a pump with injectable CBD-loaded liposome. Then, instead of the child having a seizure, maybe falling to the floor and needing someone to administer CBD, the watch will sense the seizure and instruct the pump to inject a specific amount of CBD into the body. Precise delivery of CBD immediately could assist in relieving the seizure.

And this is just one application. For an epilepsy seizure, the CBD would be released immediately, but the liposomes can also be multi-layered to prolong the release of the CBD. We are developing a platform for several potential indications.

For example, for people suffering from chronic pain, we may be able to offer an injection once a week, and over time one could have a consistent release of CBD into the body.

Professor Barenholz has already developed a liposome-based breast cancer drug, named Doxil, that was licensed by Johnson & Johnson. We are working with people who have done this before and are connected to the commercial side. This is the value-driven proposition of the company.

Do you have any other products headed for commercialization?

We have our over-the-counter topicals, patent pending products that combine CBD and other active ingredients targeting skin conditions, pain relief, as well as for itchiness.

We also have a line of premium cosmetic products for women. Those products are now being produced by two manufacturers: one in New Jersey for the US market, and one in Portugal for Asia and Europe. Sales will start in the second half of 2020.

Eventually, the world will open up again, and there are lots of plans for the future, including additional distribution contracts for the topicals.

In Canada, we are in dialogue with several companies to enable local distribution. We need to collaborate with a local licensed producer in order for them to manufacture, distribute and sell our topicals to the different provinces. And I can say that we are in the screening process of who is going to be our local partner there.

This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about InnoCan Pharma
at https://innocanpharma.com/.

Making Sense of Today’s US Markets with Richard Carleton & Jason Paltrowitz | AFTER MARKET SPECIAL

Curious about what’s happening in the US stock market? We invited two market experts to discuss the recent rally in the US on our AFTER MARKET programs and compiled both interviews for your listening pleasure.

Firstly, JB & Bear are joined by their third ever guest on AFTER MARKET – Richard Carleton, CEO of the CSE – Canadian Securities Exchange. In this “After Hours” segment we tap the expert to better understand the recent stock market rally in the face of the global pandemic.

Here’s a highlight of everything discussed on this podcast:

0:35 – Introducing Richard Carleton, CEO of the Canadian Securities Exchange
2:35 – Understanding performance attribution within indices
5:00 – What happens to the stock market when things go back to “normal”?
7:05 – Investing FOMO and behavioural economics
11:20 – Why it’s hard to beat ETF and Mutual Fund returns (but the lizard brain doesn’t care)
13:55 – Money is effectively “free” – how does this impact the equity markets? (Warning: inflation alert!)

Following Richard’s interview, JB & Bear are joined by their fourth guest on AFTER MARKET – Jason Paltrowitz, EVP of  @OTC Markets Group In this “After Hours” segment we tap the expert to better understand how the US markets and economy are proving their resiliency in historically difficult conditions.

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