Tag Archives: Public Entrepreneur

Jason Paltrowitz and Richard Carleton on Opportunities Beyond the Border

This special episode of #HashtagFinance takes the podcast out of the studio and into the CSE Media Centre! Jason Paltrowitz, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services at OTC Markets Group, and Richard Carleton, CEO of the Canadian Securities Exchange, join James Black to talk about Cannabis Investor Day, the inaugural event co-hosted by the CSE and OTC Markets Group (0:53), the importance of the CSE’s partnership with OTC Markets when it comes to creating opportunities for listed companies beyond the border (1:40), and why maintaining cross-border shareholder visibility is essential (6:25). Listen until the end for Jason’s explanation of the different market tiers at OTC Markets, for Richard’s advice to Canadian issuers going into the US markets, and to learn how both the CSE and OTC Markets Group help companies not only go public, but learn how to be public.

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Stephen Ehrlich on Revolutionizing Financial Services Using Cryptocurrency

Stephen Ehrlich, CEO of Voyager Digital (Canada) Ltd. (CSE:VYGR), joined James Black in the podcast studio after Voyager’s Market Open at the CSE Media Centre to discuss what sets the company apart from the competition when it comes to trading and education in the crypto space (2:07), how their execution network allows Voyager to cater to both retail and professional users (6:12), and what he’s learned about achieving success in a volatile market (10:35). Listen until the end to learn more about how Voyager safeguards the investors that use their cryptocurrency trading platform, Stephen’s history in finance, and why he believes Bitcoin will become the global currency.

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Nextleaf Solutions: Cannabis extraction technology takes the spotlight as edibles and beverages prepare to hit Canadian shelves

Nextleaf Solutions (CSE:OILS) is a BC-based cannabis extraction technology company that takes pride in doing things just a little bit differently.

When most cannabis companies were thinking of cultivation, Nextleaf had its intentions set on the future of the cannabis industry: infused products. Since 2017, the company has focused on developing and acquiring the technology, processes, and formulations around extraction and post-extraction for cannabis concentrates, the precursor to every cannabis-infused product.

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Pedersen remembers the day he met soon-to-be Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Ryan Ko, who at the time was working on a novel extraction process aimed at producing highly refined oils derived from cannabis.

“When I met Ryan in 2016, he was doing things with extraction and molecular distillation that I had never seen before,” says Pedersen. “He was light years ahead of where large licensed producers were at with extraction and purification. That was the genesis of how it all started.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

With six issued patents – including the first issued US patent for industrial-scale extraction and purification of cannabinoids – and 23 pending in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Jamaica, Europe, and Australia, Nextleaf’s intellectual property portfolio is growing quickly.

A glut of cannabis and hemp biomass in the market, coupled with a shortage of extraction and processing suppliers, means the company holds a notable position as one of a few extraction companies in Canada with a real solution.

“We have a head start,” says Pedersen. “Our strategy from day one was to be the absolute best at developing disruptive extraction technology, and to focus on the underlying methods that transform plant into product in a highly scalable way.”

Technology takes centre stage
Nextleaf’s patented technology covers a range of hardware and processes, and goes beyond traditional crude extraction, implementing additional processing measures aimed at higher standards of purity without sacrificing capacity.

The company produces a premium distillate and believes what differentiates its product from others is the additional purification and refinement steps found in its unique process. In short, it can turn failed crops of biomass into standardized, high-purity oil for use in a variety of infused products.

However, not all infused products are created equally.

Major issues with taste, smell, colour and even performance can be experienced when purchasing infused products found in unregulated markets. This is due to the chlorophyll, fats, lipids and other impurities in the crude extract used. Nextleaf’s highly concentrated THC and CBD distillates are odourless, tasteless, and standardized for potency – meaning the consumer will enjoy a reliable and repeatable experience with each product.

Scalability is key
Notably, the Nextleaf process is also truly scalable on an industrial level.

“Scalability gets massively overlooked,” explains Ko. “There are a number of companies that can produce an oil that is tasteless and odourless on a benchtop scale, but being able to do that on an industrial scale is key. We look at THC and CBD as ingredients. As with any ingredient, it comes down to the quality, and the cost to produce it.”

“Before you can formulate all these value-add products,” Ko states, “you’ve got to have that standardized element.”

Going beyond crude extraction allows the company’s PhD-led team to separate and isolate molecules, with the ability to reformulate those molecules to best suit the desired end product, whether that be edibles, vapes, gels, or other topicals.

Growing intellectual property
One area Nextleaf has remained hyper-focused on since 2017 is filing patents to develop and acquire the industry’s most advanced technology, processes, and formulations as related to cannabinoid extraction and purification.

“It’s been proven that the companies who get to enjoy the competitive advantage are the ones that have been first to secure unique intellectual property in their industry,” says Pedersen.

This summer, the company bolstered its IP portfolio by acquiring a US patent-pending hydrocarbon extraction process and award-winning formulation to make shatter, a cannabis concentrate.

For Nextleaf, 2019 and 2020 will focus on monetizing the company’s IP portfolio as consumer preferences switch from flower towards THC- and CBD-infused products, with the legalization of these products in Canada slated for this fall.

Through its commercialization partner, the company will provide processing solutions to licensed cultivators, and supply cannabis oil and extracts to qualified Canadian and international B2B partners under its own brand. Revenue will come from toll processing, white-label production, and licensing IP.

“We’ll start to commercialize our technology,” says Pedersen. “However, our primary focus remains on innovating and growing our intellectual property.” The company plans to double their portfolio in the next six months.

Pedersen also gave news of some major commercialization partnerships on the horizon.

One of those partnerships involves an exclusive supply agreement with BevCanna Enterprises, whose team brings experience in creating iconic beverage brands such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Vega.

“We have the technology to make water soluble distillate, and now, under their research licence, our partner BevCanna can begin to develop formulations and SOP’s for a portfolio of infused beverages leveraged through our IP,” adds Pedersen.

Promising future
The Canadian market for edibles and extracts is expected to reach more than $2 billion in 2020, according to a report from Deloitte. The report estimates that roughly $1.6 billion will be spent on edibles, followed by cannabis-infused beverages at $529 million and topicals at $174 million. It’s expected that the global market for alternative cannabis products will nearly double in the next five years.

With ample availability of cannabis and hemp biomass in Canada, and high-end extraction and processing capacity in short supply, Nextleaf is poised to take full advantage of what the company refers to as the next oil boom.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on September 11, 2019 and featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about Nextleaf Solutions at https://www.nextleafsolutions.com/.

Tom Meredith on Building New Resources with Modern Exploration Techniques

Tom Meredith, Executive Chairman of West Red Lake Gold Mines Inc. (CSE:RLG), joins Phillip Shum after the company’s Market Open at the CSE Media Centre to discuss his history and successes in the mining space (1:31), how the company is using modern exploration techniques to create valuable new resources (5:00), and his thoughts on gold as a foundational element of the global financial ecosystem (10:25). Listen until the end to learn why the Red Lake District of Northwestern Ontario is a well-known gold source, and for Tom’s thoughts on the investment cycle of mining and resource companies.

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Bob Brilon on Expansion in the US via Cannabis Company Partnerships

Bob Brilon, President and CFO of Vapen MJ Ventures (CSE:VAPN), joins Barrington Miller to discuss ringing the bell at their Market Open (0:50), the company’s recent, record-breaking month (2:44), and their plans to use a different approach for expansion outside of Arizona (6:52). Listen until the end to learn more about Vapen’s diverse product line, how Bob feels the political climate will affect US cannabis in 2020, and for his advice to entrepreneurs.

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Peter Miller on how Cannabis Companies Will Continue to Evolve in 2020

Peter Miller, CEO of SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CSE:SLNG), joins Barrington Miller in the podcast studio after the company’s Market Open to discuss what differentiates SLANG as a “house of brands” in the cannabis space (3:09), the inaugural outdoor harvest of cannabis from their Canadian operation, one of the first in Canadian legal cannabis history (6:22), and his thoughts on the vaporizer ban in the US, including how regulation and legalization can help alleviate issues that have played a role in the ban (12:30). Listen until the end to learn about SLANG’s association with Bruce Linton, their program dedicated to assisting nonviolent cannabis offenders who are currently in prison, and to hear where in the world SLANG Worldwide is heading next.

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TruTrace Technologies protects intellectual property to send counterfeiters packing

Product validation is more important to the cannabis industry than you might think 

Instagram is a hotbed for selling knockoff fashion and cannabis, from fake Chanel bags to phony Gucci slides to counterfeit vapes, cannabis oils and edibles.

Loudpack Farms spent US$2.5 million on new packaging and hardware just to distinguish its award-winning Kingpen cannabis vapes from fakes. After Kingpen won 13 prizes, the company said knockoffs began proliferating at unlicensed dispensaries across California.

In a particularly brazen move, a counterfeiter went to cannabis cultivator THC Designs’ website, downloaded data that showed how its marijuana had fared on state certification tests, then stuck the lab results on the side of fake products to assert authenticity.

Fortunately for the legitimate cannabis industry, help is finally at hand. TruTrace Technologies (CSE:TTT) has developed the first blockchain-secured platform to track intellectual property for cannabis. The company provides DNA-based cannabis product validation and helps with intellectual property protection and product guarantees for patients and customers.

“It’s a combination of science, enterprise software, and blockchain technology,” says TruTrace Chief Executive Officer Robert Galarza. “By focusing on granular genetic, chemical and contaminant data, as well as motion and movement information and then merging that into a blockchain we are able to provide real-time data on each product being purchased.”

Galarza comes across as a veritable Renaissance man compared to most pinstriped CEOs. His background spans roles as a corporate attorney, movie producer, advertising executive, and entertainment lawyer. He’s even managed professional fighters and co-founded the enterprise technology company Spark Digital Technologies.

Channeling the power of blockchain
With TruTrace, Galarza now channels the power of blockchain to enhance trust and fix the grim realities of corrupted supply chains in the medical cannabis industry.

In a nutshell, TruTrace combines the power of big data with the security of blockchain to provide strain identification, registration and verification for cannabis at scale.

The firm’s immutable, cryptographically secure technology is the brainchild of Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Tommy Stephenson, who developed enterprise software platforms over two decades for companies such as Microsoft and Mercedes Benz.

Galarza says his favourite part of the job is traveling to Seattle to visit the development centre, which has “a Disney feel” to it. The engineers exude an “if we can dream it, we can build it” philosophy, he says.

The dream team in Seattle
“Tommy’s passion and genius percolates into the team. At our core, we are data nerds who love cannabis and understand the issues around moving this product around the world. When blockchain came on our radar, we knew it could be a powerful tool in data management,” says Galarza.

“Combining this with the immutable recording nature of blockchain also made it attractive as a protection method for intellectual property and creating a permanent lineage for cannabis strains.”

The Seattle team’s goal has been to build a framework to help licensed cannabis producers and micro-cultivators easily and inexpensively move their products through the mandatory testing process. TruTrace places that test data on the blockchain for its own protection and that of the company’s intellectual property.

In this way, TruTrace’s StrainSecure cannabis tracking platform establishes an accurate, single-source, validated, and permanent account for cannabis strains from seed source to market. A cannabis strain’s genetics are stored into an immutable ledger and information is added during each processing stage.

TruTrace’s seed-to-sale tracking technology
In short, TruTrace’s seed-to-sale tracking tackles two pain points in the cannabis industry: it modernizes the inventory tracking system and provides customers with details about a product’s lab test results and cultivar.

It’s been a busy year for TruTrace, which listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange in June. The company expects momentum to continue into the second half of 2019 driven by its medical cannabis pilot program with national Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart.

“Our biggest inflection point has been the relationship with Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws. I’m not sure everyone fully grasps how much it means to have a company of their size, history, and reputation in the medical cannabis industry,” says Galarza.

Pilot program with Shoppers Drug Market
“Working alongside Shoppers changes the conversation about what our technology could mean for the industry because we are focusing on building a bridge between medical cannabis and the traditional medical industry – that’s a bigger divide than people like to admit. If we can help make cannabis a customary part of medical treatment, it could impact the trajectory of the industry in a positive way.”

In June, TruTrace announced a milestone deal with Shoppers Drug Mart for a pilot program to use its StrainSecure technology as a central hub for identity management, asset tracking, validation, and product authentication.

Licensed producers are also using TruTrace, in part to assure stakeholders that the medical cannabis industry is serious about offering a verified, standardized cannabis treatment option.

Harvest One Cannabis joined TruTrace’s master genome strain and clone registration program in February to verify its United Greeneries cannabis strains, becoming one of StrainSecure’s early adopters. The company said it turned to the platform so patients could enjoy an increased level of confidence in the consumption of its Satipharm branded cannabis sold through Shoppers.

Similarly, well-known medical cannabis producer WeedMD is a big believer. The Ontario-based company saw 40 of its cannabis strains undergo validation as part of the first phase of its pilot program with TruTrace.

Working with about 10 major producers
“We are working with about 10 major producers, with several others getting finalized at the moment. Although our focus has been in Canada throughout year one, we’re seeing some exciting momentum in South America and the US as well,” says Galarza.

In another recent move, TruTrace applied StrainSecure technology to cannabis water company NXT Water by fixing QR codes on its just-launched AKESO hemp-derived fitness water. A customer can now scan the QR code to learn instantly about the fitness water’s test results.

“This relationship was born out of a blind test they performed on several leading CBD water products in the US market. They found most of the products fell well below the advertised amount of CBD, with some having none at all,” says Galarza.

“Alternatively, the AKESO product was consistently testing out at around 12 milligrams of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle and NXT wanted to find a way to communicate this to their customers. They turned to TruTrace and started using the StrainSecure platform.”

Strong technology adoption
TruTrace has spent a lot of time, effort, and money perfecting its software. Now that the technology comprehensively solves a very real problem, long-time supporters are experiencing the moment they knew eventually had to come.

“The hallmark for an innovative technology company is adoption at various levels of industry. A great idea without customers unfortunately will remain nothing more than an idea that never panned out,” points out Galarza.

“We believe TruTrace has achieved this in its young history. From Shoppers Drug Mart and Deloitte, to WeedMD and NXT Water, we’ve found great adoption at many levels. We believe that sets us up for long-term success.”

As adoption grows with each new user, TruTrace further stakes its claim as a technology game-changer for the cannabis industry.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on September 13, 2019 and featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about TruTrace Technologies at https://trutrace.co/.

Ian Mclelland on the Shift from Traditional Media to Digital Content

Ian Mclelland, CEO and Founder of Proactive Investors, joins James Black to discuss how he turned his investing blog into a global financial news business (2:01), what Proactive offers that goes beyond the range of traditional news media and how they maintain their broadcast standards (8:24), why it’s important to have a global footprint in the industry (14:06), and how they create mutually beneficial relationships with third party syndication sites (20:22). Listen until the end to learn how investor interests and preferred media format vary by region, why Proactive created their app, and for Ian’s advice to publicly-listed companies on maintaining visibility and building trust with shareholders.

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Hadley Ford on Achieving Firsts in the Cannabis Industry

Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings, joined James Black after the iAnthus Market Open at the CSE Media Centre to discuss some of the firsts the company has achieved as an MSO in the cannabis space (4:11), how regulatory challenges in the US drive their strategy for branding and distribution (8:15), and his thoughts on the SAFE Banking Act, including how quickly he believes it will get through the Senate (14:37). Listen until the end to learn about the company’s mission to build a portfolio of iconic brands and delight their customers, for his opinion on the current vape ban in the US, and to hear why cannabis is a family business for him.

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Ross O’Brien on Bridging the Gap Between Cannabis Entrepreneurs and Investors

Ross O’Brien, Founder of Bonaventure Equity and Cannabis Dealmakers Summit, joins Grace Pedota via Skype to talk about what makes Cannabis Dealmakers Summit different from other conferences, and their goal to positively impact one billion lives (2:48), how maturation in the cannabis industry is helping bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and investors (5:07), and which sectors he believes have been (and will be) most impacted by cannabis (6:50). Listen until the end to learn more about his book, Cannabis Capital, for his thoughts on the development of customer affinity towards certain cannabis brands and products, and to hear about his upcoming appearance on the show Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch.

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