Tag Archives: Technology

Hillcrest Energy Technologies: Perfecting Clean Energy Breakthrough (That could soon be coming to an EV near you)

electric car, electric vehicle parking, charging point, EV charging point

Hillcrest Energy Technologies Ltd (CSE:HEAT) is a Canadian clean tech company playing a role in the global shift to green energy. The company specializes in optimizing electrical systems, such as those used in electric vehicles, with its proprietary Zero Voltage Switching (ZVS) Inverter Technology, a cutting-edge approach that minimizes switching losses.

Hillcrest’s in-house power electronics hardware and control firmware combine to enhance efficiency, performance and reliability in electric systems – think control systems and power conversion devices for next-generation electric and fuel cell vehicle powertrains, charging applications and renewable energy systems.

In the booming electric vehicle (EV) market, Hillcrest’s ZVS Inverter Technology, along with its Enhanced Powertrain Solution, eliminates the need for an onboard charger and booster, and thus simplifies the charging process.

With EVs set to represent up to 18% of the global car market this year, according to the International Energy Agency, Hillcrest is driving innovation for lighter, more compact and more efficient solutions. This aligns with government initiatives and automakers’ electrification targets, such as General Motors’ US$35 billion investment and its ambition to have 30 electric models globally by 2025.

In an interview with Proactive, CEO Don Currie highlighted Hillcrest’s role in helping to shape the future of electrified systems worldwide.

Don, two years ago we’d have been talking to you about petroleum. What was behind Hillcrest’s shift from oil and gas to clean energy technologies?

We realized that the company had to shift from oil and gas because the sector wasn’t feasible for a small company any longer. Money was not easily available, and the investment world wasn’t behind it. We started looking at a strategic transition into clean energy and began that transition around March 2020.

Clean tech and clean energy had the interest of almost 100% of the investment community. We needed to find a niche that made sense for us. Our advisor at the time, now our Chief Technology Officer, Ari Berger, thought the company would benefit from focusing on power conversion technologies, such as inverters. Zero voltage switching is agnostic to the application and can work in renewables, solar and electric vehicles, where members of our team are extremely well connected.

What is the challenge that manufacturers face where inverters such as yours could come into play?

Soft-switching is a major focus for our company. Right now, nearly all electric vehicles in the world use hard-switching inverters. While they offer efficiency benefits, there are trade-offs involved. However, we have successfully developed the world’s first commercial prototype of a soft-switching inverter.

Soft-switching allows our ZVS inverters to operate at higher switching frequencies and eliminate losses associated with switching. One of the European original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) we are working with, for instance, is looking to lower electromagnetic interference (EMI) to a level where protective shielding would not be needed. Our initial tests indicate that we can meet or surpass this requirement, potentially saving them $200 to $225 per car. With production volumes of a single model of 100,000 units per year, that could translate into potential savings of $22 million. Alongside improved efficiency, our ZVS soft-switching technology delivers cost savings for OEMs, developers and manufacturers while enhancing convenience for consumers.

Would it be correct to say that it translates into not only a lower cost model, but also one that is more reliable and longer lasting?

Let’s consider the immediate impact of our technology. One EV manufacturer said that a 1% increase in efficiency translates to a 2% range increase. Our inverter, with its 99.48% efficiency, has shown up to a 13% increase in motor efficiency during our tests. This could potentially result in a 26% boost in range for consumers. While it’s uncertain whether manufacturers will pass on the savings to consumers, increased efficiency can reduce battery size and extend range. This directly benefits consumers who want a quicker return on investment. Our technology shortens the payback period, making EVs a more economically attractive choice for buyers.

The global inverter market is expected to see a huge amount of growth over the next few years, to $95 billion by 2028. What’s behind these numbers?

That $95 billion encompasses all uses of inverters, not just EVs, and translates to 5% annual growth. The actual EV inverter market is projected to reach $11.5 billion by 2027, which is about 23% annual growth. It makes sense because all the automotive manufacturers are moving toward full electrification, and it’s happening at an incredible pace. The growth is there and so is the market.

Take us through your commercialization strategy. You have several projects in development. When are they going to translate into revenue?

Well, we have ongoing commercial development deals with seven companies at different stages. These deals typically have staged milestones. The first milestone involves demonstrating the technology and ensuring its compatibility with their application. We recently announced the achievement of milestone one with a global tier one supplier, which is a significant step toward milestone two, and then moving toward milestone three where we expect definitive commercial agreements to be discussed.

We also have a partnership with Hercules Electric Mobility, which we expect to progress quickly. Additionally, we have publicly mentioned a European OEM that is providing a motor to our German partners for integration with our technology. We are now working closely with them to meet their specific requirements.

We anticipate starting definitive commercial agreement discussions with some, if not all, of our partners in the third and fourth quarters of 2023. After that, we’re expecting revenue to start flowing in 2024. Revenues are expected to climb through 2025 with significant revenue growth projected to occur into 2026 when the technology could be deployed in actual models.

At volume, and depending on the specific application, our inverters will be competitively priced and expected to be roughly the same cost as inverters currently on the market – around $1,000, depending on the currency exchange rate. If an OEM requires 100,000 units per year for a particular model, that translates to a contract value of approximately $100 million. Once we reach definitive agreements and have clarity on the numbers, the revenue ramp-up will be rapid.

Another important benefit of our inverter that sets us apart is the potential for our customers to offset the cost of purchasing our inverter with up to $700 in material savings across the powertrain system.

What are you working on in terms of R&D?

The inverter technology itself has undergone rigorous testing, and we have successfully demonstrated to the European OEM that the EMI tests meet or surpass the required protective shielding standards. Currently, our focus is on developing grid software technology in the lab. Our goal is to combine the benefits of our inverter technology with the new grid software into a proof of concept for an enhanced powertrain solution by the end of this year.

In the context of a vehicle, the powertrain encompasses the motor, inverter, batteries and onboard charger. We firmly believe that we can eliminate the need for an onboard charger, resulting in cost savings for manufacturers and more efficient, bidirectional charging capabilities for customers. This enhancement requires the installation of grid-related software, a task that is expected to be completed late Q2 or early Q3 this year. The bidirectional nature of this powertrain allows it to not only draw power from the grid for charging but also feed power back into the grid. By eliminating the onboard charger, the convenience and availability of charging options for users are significantly increased, which forms part of our enhanced powertrain solution.

Looking ahead, we are planning for the 2024 release of a multilevel power inverter, which involves utilizing a string of 250 kilowatt, 800 volt inverters. This configuration is specifically designed for grid-related applications with significantly higher power requirements. As we approach the end of 2023, we will actively engage with interested parties who have expressed their readiness to explore how our technology can be applied to their specific applications.

As the CEO of a clean energy technology company, what drives you?

I have never felt this level of excitement in my professional career. The industry we are involved in is growing faster than anyone imagined it would and every day brings new and positive developments. What drives me the most is the industry’s response to our work. Firstly, it’s all about the team. In such a short period, we have assembled an incredible team with world class connections. It’s astonishing what we, as a collective, have achieved in just two years – going from an idea to proof of concept and now having commercial prototypes.

What truly excites me is the demand for our product around the world. The reactions we receive from the industry are overwhelmingly positive, which in turn makes it easy to maintain a positive outlook. Watching the team consistently meet and surpass every milestone we set for ourselves, publicly and internally, is nothing short of thrilling. Every day at work is enjoyable and rewarding.

This story was featured in Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.

Learn more about Hillcrest Energy Technologies at https://hillcrestenergy.tech/

Nextech3D.AI: On trend with multifaceted AI/AR technology for e-commerce

They say that timing is everything, and it’s especially true when launching a new business.

In 2018, Wall Street veteran and serial entrepreneur Evan Gappelberg founded Nextech3D.AI (CSE:NTAR) on the idea that augmented reality (AR) and 3D modelling would become of central importance to e-commerce.

An astute technology trend spotter, Gappelberg’s Nextech3D.AI is the right company, in the right place, at the right time. Its diversified AR and AI technology is enjoying strong demand, particularly for 3D WebAR photorealistic models that online retailers use to market products more effectively.

The company has a major presence in the United States, among other markets, with a long list of high-profile clients ranging from Amazon to Kohl’s and Target.

Nextech3D.AI recently reported first quarter 2023 revenue of $1.3 million, up 40% sequentially, as 3D model revenue climbed 550% year over year. 

Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine caught up with Gappelberg to talk about how Nextech3D.AI is riding breakthrough generative AI technology to become a player in the US$100 billion 3D modelling wave set to sweep through retail over the next decade.

You founded what is now Nextech3D.AI in January 2018 with a vision that AR/3D was going be a megatrend. It seems that everything has panned out exactly the way you saw it. How do you feel?  

I feel vindicated! The pandemic in some ways derailed my vision. In other ways, it accelerated what was happening. It felt like we were first being pushed in another direction completely. But after the pandemic, once the dust had settled, it seemed like 3D and AR had moved into high gear. The demand started picking up and clearly things were moving faster than before the pandemic. 

I feel pretty good coming up with the business idea back in 2018 and spotting the trend early — it is really exploding right now. With my decades of training on Wall Street, I can spot technology trends fairly early. I knew that AR/3D was going be a megatrend in the shift to e-commerce. 

Nextech3D.AI is a top provider of AR Wayfinding technologies and a 3D model supplier for hundreds of brands. How big is the market opportunity?

We’ve been building toward this moment for five years. We are standing in front of a $100 billion dollar 3D modelling market, tucked inside the $5.5 trillion global e-commerce ecosystem, and we plan to take full advantage. Everything that’s being sold online today and everything that’s going to be sold online in the future is going to have a 3D model, or digital twin. That represents a huge multi-decade opportunity. 

In fact, I saw an article which said that by 2040, 95% of all commerce is going to be conducted online. Most importantly, shopping in 3D has been proven to lead to 40% lower product returns, a 93% higher click-through rate, and a 250% boost in conversions. It’s metrics such as these that are driving the rapid adoption of everything 3D.

Last year, Nextech3D.AI won a $6.7 million 3D model order from Amazon Prime Marketplace. How is that going, and what are some of your other contract wins?

Our relationship with Amazon continues to get better and better. We started working with them in the third quarter of 2022. We were in a trial stage, really a testing phase, and we passed with flying colours, and we signed a three-     year contract with Amazon. We just reached a major milestone by delivering more than 20,000 3D models as the company’s preferred 3D model supplier. Amazon is the biggest fish in the e-commerce ocean. They are the whale of whales.

We also do business with American retail giants Kohl’s and Target. All told, we are a supplier to over 100 brands and companies. We supply 3D models to Procter & Gamble, Dyson and many other top companies, though no single one really compares to Amazon.

Talk about your journey as a public company now that Nextech3D.AI has been around for a few years. 

Since we have no institutional ownership in our stock and company, we get a distortion in value. It’s essentially retail investors deciding what price our stock is trading at in a volatile market. You look at a $100 billion opportunity, a tech company that has breakthrough generative AI and has landed the largest e-commerce customer in the form of Amazon, and yet we still only have a market cap of $51 million.

Tell us about the launch of your new generative AI technology that can create 3D models from text prompts.

We have technology that we are developing in-house that’s generative AI, and we’re really approaching this from multiple angles where you can use a text prompt and just type in “leather” or “couch”, indicate whether it’s shiny leather or matte leather and the AI will create that swatch that can then be draped over a 3D model. These technological advancements allow us to scale the production of 3D models, which is exactly what’s required when you are dealing with giant customers like Amazon. 

With generative AI, we are creating an increasingly wide and exponentially growing moat: the more models we make, the larger the moat. I believe that we are at the point where the value of Nextech3D.AI goes up with each new 3D model we make, creating a virtuous cycle of growth and value.

ARway was spun off from Nextech3D.AI in October 2022. The company says its goal is to exit 2023 with a $10 million sales pipeline. Are you seeing strong demand for ARway’s wayfinding technology?

We are in late-stage negotiations with blue chip companies and governments. Verizon is one of them and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers is another. The Canadian Armed Forces, believe it or not, is another entity that is testing out the technology. These are all enterprise contracts, and they’re all very impressed by the technology. It’s only a matter of time before the dominoes start falling and customers start signing bigger contracts.

Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters has posters with phrases like “Done is Better than Perfect” and “Move Fast and Break Things.” Do you have motivational mottos at Nextech3D.AI?

Take extreme risks to enjoy outsized rewards. That’s kind of our motto. It’s the way I live my life. You only live once, right? Taking a risk means you actually make a decision, commit, be strong and create something beautiful with your dream.

Why is Nextech3D.AI a company to watch?

Nextech3D.AI gives investors an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with a CEO who has public market experience, a track record of success and is the single largest shareholder in the company. In other words, he puts his money where his mouth is.

You’re also investing in a company that has proven itself on the big stage by doing business with heavy hitters like Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Kohl’s and Target.

This story was featured in Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.

Learn more about Nextech3D.AI at http://www.nextechar.com/

Critical Infrastructure Technologies: A Communications Solution for Disasters, Defence, Mining and More Prepares To Break Into the Big Time

One can hardly turn on the news these days without learning of some event around the world that has displaced large numbers of people and knocked out essential services.

While some debate the cause, one thing’s for certain: climate change is occurring. Armed conflicts play havoc with communications and power networks as well, of course. Getting communications back up and running in these environments can literally be a matter of life and death.

Critical Infrastructure Technologies (CSE:CTTT) is ready to help with a platform that lifts itself off a flatbed truck and sets up in extreme conditions, launching a communications network from atop a 16 metre mast so that residents, emergency workers and others can easily connect with one another again. Nexus 16, as the platform is called, has everyday commercial applications as well.

Chief Executive Officer Brenton Scott recently joined Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine from the company’s head office in Fremantle, Australia to discuss the many uses of Nexus 16 and the outlook for adoption by the industrial and government sectors.

It is not uncommon these days for unforeseen events to cut off power and electronic communications. What products do you offer to help companies and countries manage these situations?

You raised emergency services, in essence, and then there is also mining, and the third sector we are targeting is defence.

With emergency services, any natural disaster is likely to knock power out, and when power goes down, your fixed infrastructure goes down with it. Fixed communications towers generally have a four-to-eight-hour backup power supply, but after that you are going to lose those towers.

Telcos over-cater with their cellular networks such that operating radiuses overlap. If one goes down, another one can pick it up. But with a widespread power outage, it can all go down.

We provide a solution that is a fully autonomous, self-deploying mobile communications platform.  You can deploy it within 30 minutes and restore a whole communications network, using satellite if need be, or we can tap into a fixed communications tower that is operational about 50 kilometres away and bring the signal back. And if you put multiple platforms around, it will form a mesh network that creates a much broader telecommunications system.

Our platform basically gets moved around on a flatbed truck and will lift itself off the truck. The driver does not have to get out of the vehicle to deploy it in bad conditions. External systems can monitor and control everything.

The emergency application is clear. What about in mining?

As miners move more and more toward autonomous haulage, which is driverless vehicles, they need a stable communications network on site. Effectively, they need a 4G or 5G network to operate their vehicles.

If they have a communications blackout, and this happens in pits occasionally as the pit expands and deepens, they will experience black spots. If an autonomous vehicle goes through a black spot, communication is cut and every single vehicle in the train of vehicles stops. Big miners value stoppage in production in the millions of dollars per minute, so they can’t have this happen.

A lot of them put as many fixed towers around sites as possible. But as pits expand, they can’t put a fixed solution on the edge because the shape is constantly changing.

Our system is easily moveable, so if the platform is near a blasting area, for example, you just move it out of the way.

How about on defence?

Let’s use Ukraine as the defence example. The Russian Federation is targeting fixed infrastructure, so they are taking out power sources. That creates a communications problem both on the battlefield and from a humanitarian perspective.

We have had multiple meetings with the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia has been to our office and seen a demonstration of the product. And last September, I went to Poland and met with members of the Ukrainian defence ministry attaché and showed them the product. We are in frequent contact to see how Nexus 16 could help and how we might get platforms to Ukraine.

The beauty of the product is that we supply a platform that goes up 16 metres, and it is fully mobile with a retractable mast. We are marketing it as a communications platform, so we put our radars and everything on top to provide a telecommunications network.

We were asked what else could go on top of the mast. The answer is anything that weighs less than 250 kilograms. It could be used as a surveillance system with cameras on it. You could put it up 16 metres to have a look around, and you could pull it back down and move the platform, just like a periscope in a submarine. You could put a drone detection system on top. You could have a mobile airport control tower.

Where do you see immediate demand coming from, and will there be ongoing demand from one sector and then event-driven demand layered on top of that?

We are moving from R&D into commercialization and are building our first two platforms. We have shown the product to a number of large mining companies in Western Australia and are in discussions with one of them to purchase one of the first platforms for a specific need they have.

The first unit sold to a big mining company would be a significant event, and we think we are close to achieving that. Once that happens it should give us traction in the mining field. And then we’ll build based on demand. We see mining being a big market for us.

On emergency services, we have met with the Western Australian Minister for Emergency Services and also with representatives from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. They are fully aware of the problems in the event of a natural disaster. When the fires spread around Western Australia, townships were concerned there was no communications network to be able to warn first responders and residents of fires that were coming. The government should be buying platforms to cover the whole region.

The recent budget from the West Australian Premier revealed that during the last year, the state government received AU$11.1 billion in mining royalties, which works out to $30.4 million per day. If a cyclone hit the northwest of Western Australia and took out infrastructure at mine sites or at the port, every day they can’t load a ship it costs the state $30.4 million. They can buy 10 of our platforms and it is an insurance policy against $30.4 million per day.

With defence, we are working with Ukraine. We are talking with Australia’s federal government as well, which is looking to increase its defence capabilities. The government just brought out a strategic review and part of that is ensuring that the northwest of Western Australia has adequate infrastructure in place.

Because of the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the US and the UK, the three countries are working to provide much better protection in the Indo-Pacific region. We think there is potential to sell product into the AUKUS partnership as they take up occupancy in remote islands, for example, to make sure they have a presence and eyes and ears in the region.

Talk to us about the design challenges you overcame to ensure Nexus 16 was ready to work in tough environments.

The team came together about two years ago with lots of experience in communications. Our design challenges were around making it the size of a 20 foot sea container, and having four robotic legs that lift it off the truck and settle it back down and stabilize it to hold a 16 metre mast. Some people liken it to a Transformer – it comes out of this 20 foot shape and the whole thing comes to life with the push of a button.

We created a walk-in control room to house batteries and any other computer equipment required. There are dual generators with diesel tanks in case the batteries go down. We have a solar array on the roof.  

The tower can withstand near-cyclonic winds up to 140 kilometres per hour. And if the wind gets over a certain level, the mast will automatically retract to protect itself. We have more redundancies built into this product than you can imagine.

How does this all come together as a story that people should follow?

We think the product speaks for itself. Is the product going to sell? Absolutely the product is going to sell. It is a true global product targeting three very good sectors: mining, emergency services and defence.

It’s a product that is also recession-proof, in our view. Mining doesn’t stop. Miners continue to look at creating efficiencies within their networks to get their commodity out at the lowest possible price in the shortest possible time frame. When commodity prices weaken, they don’t stop. They keep producing but they look to improve their margins, and we are a product that can help them with that.

Emergency services will always be there. Natural disasters seem to be happening more and more often. We are in the right place to be able to provide a local solution for communications outages.

On defence, every single Western military is improving defence capabilities and looking at having redundancies in place. And we fit well within the defence sector.

Any investor is going to look at what the company does, what are their opportunities, what is their product, is it any good, is it scalable, do they think they can sell the product.  I think we tick a lot of boxes. We have good forecast margins, and we hope to sign our first contract soon. And our upcoming secondary listing on the OTC will give US investors easy access to our shares.

Now is the time that investors would be looking at us and doing their due diligence. We are pre-revenue but have de-risked the business and things are moving quicker than we thought. As we do generate sales and contracts and all of that, I would hope to see that reflected in our valuation.

This story was featured in Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.

Learn more about Critical Infrastructure Technologies at https://citech.com.au/

BIGG Digital Assets: Diversified Company Portfolio Positions This Cryptocurrency Innovator to Succeed in All Environments

The future of cryptocurrencies lies in a compliant and regulated ecosystem, according to BIGG Digital Assets (CSE:BIGG), a diversified, “compliance-first” crypto company.

The Vancouver-based group adopted this ethos in 2019 and has since made it its motto of operations, Chief Executive Officer Mark Binns told Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine in a recent interview.

Given catastrophes of late in the crypto space that include the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and the failure of crypto lender Voyager Digital, governments are pushing for regulation to better protect consumers, says Binns.

“The market is moving toward us. The need for products of our nature, a compliant nature, is rising, and the existence of non-regulated entities in the space is decreasing,” Binns notes.

“To operate in Canada, we follow very strict regulations for the storage and security of our customers’ data and their crypto assets, so that makes us safer than other, non-regulated exchanges.”

BIGG Digital works across three different areas within the cryptocurrency space: trading, forensics and Web3/Metaverse.

“We invest in and run businesses that we believe can profit from a compliant and regulated future of cryptocurrency,” Binns explains.

Additionally, BIGG Digital’s operations are agnostic to crypto prices. Regardless of a digital asset’s value, the company generates revenue from crypto transactions and its forensics and Metaverse deals, sheltering it from the sector’s price volatility.

“You can have access to multiple different plays inside the crypto universe by investing in BIGG Digital Assets, with the security of diversity as well,” says Binns.

“If one sector is hotter, like crypto trading, we have a trading platform, or if trading is a bit quieter and the US government is pushing for crypto regulations, our crypto forensics business would be stronger.”

The company also has minority investments in crypto tax software company ZenLedger and lightning network developer LQwD Fintech, in addition to having about 200 bitcoins on its balance sheet.

BIGG Digital wholly owns and operates one of the few regulated cryptocurrency trading platforms in Canada, Netcoins.

In fact, the company’s leadership actually helped Canada pioneer its cryptocurrency regulations, working with regulators as far back as 2018 toward robust crypto trading regulations to ensure customers’ investments are safe and secure within exchanges.

The holder of restricted dealer licences approved by the British Columbia Securities Commission and Canadian Securities Administrators, and a money services business designation from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, Netcoins offers investors easy access to cryptocurrencies through compliant and regulated brokerage services.

Following its success in Canada, Netcoins launched in the United States in California, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Virginia in December 2022, followed by Utah, Kentucky, Colorado and Kansas in the first quarter of 2023.

“We’re going to continue pushing into the US market, which is moving toward a regulated and compliant model,” Binns says.

BIGG Digital also plans to continue adding products to its Netcoins offering. “We expect to add staking for our customer base and more assets, more coins,” Binns says.

Through another of its businesses, Blockchain Intelligence Group (BIG), BIGG Digital provides tools to law enforcement that help to reduce crypto crime.

Among its offerings is Qlue, a technology designed for law enforcement, investigators and compliance that can track blockchain transactions, and BitRank Verified, which provides risk scoring of Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses and transactions for financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitcoin ATM operators, audit firms, retailers and funds.

BIG also offers cryptocurrency training to organizations. Its clients so far include employees at major banks such as Scotiabank, TD Bank, CIBC, BMO, Citibank and HSBC, as well as entities such as the US Secret Service, the US Drug Enforcement Administration and Interpol Singapore.

“Our customers range from police forces in small towns all the way up to the US government,” Binns explains.

Binns believes that as Bitcoin and crypto grow in relevance to the broader financial system, they will also be used more in crime. “That’s just an unfortunate fact,” he notes.

As a result, law enforcement and governments globally will need to have a better handle on what is going on, Binns says, so BIG’s products will become more valuable.

Binns also points out that BIG faces limited competition within the crypto forensics space and that there are high barriers to entry for new companies.

“We have 3 billion attributions on our blockchains, pieces of data that anonymize the blockchain dating back to 2015, and probably $25 million in investment, so it’s very hard for a startup company to come into this space,” he explains.

“The players are set and the pie keeps getting bigger which, in turn, is going to make our market share by dollars bigger. Every time we go into a pitch, there may be only two or three competitors pitching for that business, not 20.”

In the months and years to come, BIG intends to add more blockchains and coins that it can track with its crypto forensic tools, as well as to enhance the tools’ other features.

BIGG Digital also believes the upside on the Metaverse is huge, which is why the company holds a 30% stake in Web3 company TerraZero.

“When Facebook renames itself Meta you know that there’s a reason and a significant amount of investment going in,” says Binns.

Run by Dan Reitzik, the founder of DMG Blockchain Solutions, TerraZero generates revenue from a range of Web3-related services, including land purchase and resale, land leasing and renting, virtual asset design, land brokering, statistics and predictive analysis, and event hosting.

The company has carried out brand activations in the Metaverse for big names such as cosmetics conglomerate Estée Lauder and beer brand Miller Lite.

Binns says that brands are increasingly seeking to interact with their customers in the Metaverse.

“We went from Web1 where they pushed messages to customers, to Web2 where they interacted on social media, and now Web3 is going to be the virtual environment,” he explains. “It won’t be uncommon for every major brand in the world to have a presence in one Metaverse or another in the next few years.”

Binns says he expects big things from TerraZero, with the company set to go public in the next month or two. “I expect to see significant growth from them on the revenue side in the coming months and years.”

While BIGG Digital is agnostic to crypto prices, Binns is confident Bitcoin prices will top six figures in the next crypto bull run.

He believes the next Bitcoin halving, which is projected to occur about a year from now in April 2024, will be a significant catalyst for digital assets like Bitcoin. “Bitcoin is currently sitting around US$30,000, and I believe the future of Bitcoin is in excess of $100,000 in the next bull run and even higher in the future. Today’s bear market will give way to another bull market, but I don’t know if that will be in six months, 12 months or 18 months. But when crypto runs, it usually runs very aggressively.”

“We keep building our business and adding customers, and when the bull market hits, we’ll be able to take advantage of that.”

This story was featured in Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.

Learn more about BIGG Digital Assets at https://biggdigitalassets.com/

BioHarvest Sciences: Revolutionizing the Health Industry With Botanical Synthesis

Imagine a world where we harness the power of plants to improve human wellness without harming the environment. Israeli biotech innovator BioHarvest Sciences (CSE:BHSC) is turning this vision into reality through its Bio-Plant CELLicitation plant cell technology, which is paving the way for a new era of sustainable and highly effective botanical compositions.

BioHarvest’s patented technology sets the company apart from traditional agriculture by producing botanical compositions without the need to grow the entire plant. These compositions are rich in primary and secondary metabolites such as proteins, phenolics, terpenes, steroids and alkaloids, which are of significant value to the nutrition and health industries. The botanical compositions produced through BioHarvest’s platform technology are highly bioavailable, consistent, pure, patentable and environmentally sustainable.

One of the company’s notable successes is its flagship product VINIA, a botanical composition derived from red grape cells that contains high levels of polyphenols, particularly piceid resveratrol.

VINIA has undergone multiple clinical trials and has proven to be effective for various therapeutic applications, having gained recognition for its ability to increase arterial dilation, improving blood flow throughout the body and supporting heart health, physical energy, mental alertness and cellular protection.

“The current global market for nutraceuticals is approximately US$160 billion and it is growing rapidly,” BioHarvest Sciences Chief Executive Officer Ilan Sobel tells Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine. “VINIA is uniquely positioned in this market because of its clinically proven efficacy and its successful track record with consumers over the last three years.”

Sobel says BioHarvest aims to achieve market share of at least 5% in the US cardiovascular and energy health segments within the next 36 months.

CELLicitation involves growing cells from different parts of the plant in liquid solutions inside large disposable bioreactors, and the platform has already been validated across multiple plant-derived compositions. The process allows BioHarvest to produce cells that contain the plant’s primary and secondary metabolites, known as phytochemicals, in a controlled and efficient manner.

And the company is building undeniable momentum. In 2022, BioHarvest reported revenue of US$5.5 million, a 179% increase from the previous year.

For 2023, BioHarvest anticipates revenue of $17 million to $20 million, which works out to around 300% growth compared to 2022. It also expects to break even at a cash operating level in the fourth quarter.

BioHarvest’s customer base is largely subscription based, and customer satisfaction is high, with a current rating of 4.8 out of 5 from over 2,200 reviews. The company plans to further expand its sales channels, including partnerships with major retailers such as Walmart.com, Amazon, and direct-to-doctor sales through integrative medicine specialists.

“We have announced the addition of 25,000 [direct-to-consumer] new customers in the last 12 months, and our current growth is limited only by our production capacity, which we are increasing significantly,” Sobel adds.

To support the anticipated growth, Sobel says the company’s newly designed production facility has annual production capacity of 20 tons, which is enough to meet its global operations plan for the next two years. The company is currently in the process of scaling up production to reach the maximum capacity.

Plans also call for building a larger facility with a capacity of 100 tons per year. To aid this expansion, BioHarvest recently hired Dr. Ilana Belzer as its first Chief Operating Officer to oversee manufacturing, including the development of new technologies to improve yield and reduce production costs.

Furthermore, the BioHarvest Sciences CEO says the company is diversifying its product channels by developing new formulations that incorporate VINIA into coffee, tea and protein bars. These are set to be available in late 2023 and early 2024.

BioHarvest is also looking to grow through other channels, particularly sports partnerships due to the obvious benefits its products can provide to athletes.

“Our recent partnership with Yo Murphy of the House of Athlete is an example of a unique program, where we just saw four of his ‘Team VINIA’ NFL prospects selected in the 2023 NFL draft,” Sobel says. “The partnership is a significant milestone for BioHarvest and demonstrates the potential of its innovative technology to revolutionize the sports nutrition industry.”

More partnerships and programs are in development, which includes VINIA being added to the NFL pre-season training regimens of over 140 players.

The company holds 15 approved patents covering its unique process and compositions. Additionally, the team’s accumulated know-how from 15 years of research and development further strengthens its position as a leader in the field.

“BioHarvest’s technology is poised to make a big difference in the health and wellness industry by availing patentable botanical compositions for therapeutic purposes that can be in the form of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals,” Sobel explains.

He says BioHarvest aims to lead the botanical synthesis revolution by utilizing the power of plants to improve human wellness while at the same time prioritizing environmental sustainability, which is evident in the company’s plans to leverage its expertise in research and development, manufacturing and commercialization.

BioHarvest is already working on expanding its product line to include additional products, with olive and pomegranate cell banks at the advanced development stage. A robust clinical trial program is underway, as the company tests product impact against specific medical indications. These clinical studies are designed to not only potentially augment the functional claims for different products but also to further the potential for those products to ultimately be included in pharmaceuticals, as either approved drugs or adjuncts to approved drugs.

This story was featured in Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.

Learn more about BioHarvest Sciences at https://bioharvest.com/

Railtown AI Technologies: Software Engineers Get a Co-Pilot to Help Navigate the Inevitable Turbulence of Development

Artificial intelligence is everywhere right now, and in the tech sector, thousands of entrepreneurs are looking for a way to plug AI into their business models.

The problem is that anyone who’s gone back and forth for more than a few minutes with a bot such as ChatGPT knows one thing: its responses are full of errors.

For AI to be truly useful, it needs to be trained effectively and have a defined purpose. Railtown AI Technologies (CSE:RAIL) has not one product but three designed for software developers that meet those criteria.

The company’s proprietary AI has been in stealth development for three years under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Cory Brandolini and Chief Technology Officer Marwan Haddad, a pair of self-described software geeks who became fast friends at a previous company and partnered up.

Their raison d’être is making it easier for developers to create new software and manage ongoing projects.

The first offering is Railtown’s Root Cause Analysis Co-Pilot, which is designed to detect bugs within applications and then quickly pinpoint the root cause of the errors and the impact on the application.

Right now, 40% of a software engineer’s time is, on average, spent identifying bugs and fixing them. It creates an enormous manpower challenge, according to Haddad. He and Brandolini once installed a fire engine light in the bullpen at their previous company that would go off whenever an issue arose. Senior engineers would drop everything to figure out what was wrong, at times taking hours to diagnose the root cause of the error and the impact it had on the application, resulting in delayed deliverables and pushing schedules behind.

Root Cause Analysis eliminates the mad dash to comb through every line of code. The Root Cause Analysis Co-Pilot hooks into the developer’s machine, where it spots errors before they reach production and immediately determines the root cause and ticket where the problem originated.

That’s why Brandolini says the company doesn’t design bots – it builds co-pilots.

“No matter how strong your team is technically, no matter how senior your developers are, when you’re building complex applications they are still fraught with functionality, logic and syntax issues,” he explains. “We’ve got it to the point today where AI can do a ton of the heavy lifting for you.”

The British Columbia-based company has also built an application to streamline the process of documenting product updates and enhancements, which are known in the industry as release notes.

Writing release notes takes an enormous amount of time for a team lead to produce, as they have to sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of completed work items to summarize and then write digestible release notes that can be consumed company wide. This is where Railtown’s Release Notes Co-Pilot comes in, as it is continually analyzing all new software deployments, as well as any changes made to software which will trigger the co-pilot to automatically generate comprehensive and accurate release notes. The net result is saving hours of developer downtime.

The Root Cause Analysis Co-Pilot and the Release Notes Co-Pilot are now available to over 400,000 Microsoft partners on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace and at Railtown’s website.

Then there’s Scrum Master, currently in the alpha stage of development, which could be Railtown’s crown jewel.

Scrum Master is a co-pilot in the truest sense of the word. Utilizing Railtown’s AI engine, the Scrum Master Co-Pilot can provide reason-based answers related to a wide range of topics including work items, deployment issues, build errors, bug fixes, performance issues and much more. Developers can ask the Co-Pilot specific questions or describe the problem that they are facing, and the Co-Pilot will provide relevant and actionable information to help solve the problem.

Brandolini calls Scrum Master a targeted language model, in contrast to large language models such as Open AI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard AI. Integrating Railtown’s proprietary AI into a development team’s builds, code changes and work items creates a more precise learning environment than any large learning mode could dream of.

“ChatGPT and Bard are trained off of what’s readily available and free, so any painting by Picasso or any book written by T.S. Eliot, they can train their machine on it. But they don’t have access to what goes on inside a company’s own specific applications,” Brandolini says.

“Because our AI is integrated with a company’s projects, our machine is now training on that data. Where Open AI’s is trained on the internet, our co-pilot understands exactly what you and your team are building and can answer questions in real time.”

It also keeps a developer’s data from being exposed to the broader internet, which means companies get the benefit of AI without exposing proprietary information to the prying eyes of Big Tech.

Scrum Master could even be used to onboard new engineers by delivering them detailed information on application features and answering any questions they might have.

That simply doesn’t exist in the market today, say Brandolini and Haddad, and it wouldn’t be as close as it is today if the two hadn’t become good friends.

“We were on a family holiday together in Whistler and sat down over a glass of wine. Marwan says, ‘I’ve got this idea,’” Brandolini explains. “I was like, ‘I’m in 100%.’ Life works that way by chance, but when both people have the common drive and our goals are the same, then it’s an instant connection.”

The plan is to release Scrum Master in the next quarter.

“Version one was like a child in elementary school. Now, version six or seven is like a university professor,” Brandolini exclaims. “It went from learning how to understand what a bug is to where it’s now using knowledge and reason to generate answers. Ask any developer if they would like this running for their team and the answer will be 100% yes.”

To help make that a reality, Railtown plans to ramp up spending on market awareness and user acquisition starting in June. The company expects a significant increase in paying customers and revenue growth over the next two to three quarters.

“This is not a bubble; this is just the beginning of the AI generation,” concludes Brandolini. “Artificial intelligence is having, and is going to continue to have, a profound and positive impact across all of our lives and across every business. The question investors should be asking themselves and asking their financial advisors is ‘what is my AI investment strategy’?”

This story was featured in Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.

Learn more about Railtown AI Technologies at https://www.railtown.ai/

Alex Tapscott on Charting New Frontiers in a “Web3” World | The CSE Podcast S3-E11

Welcome back to the Exchange for Entrepreneurs Podcast. On this week’s episode, host James Black welcomes back Alex Tapscott, Co-Founder of the Blockchain Research Institute to talk about all things blockchain, decentralized finance, and Web3. This conversation is a natural extension from James and Alex’s conversation back in 2019 where Alex discussed the origins and practical implications of the ‘Blockchain Revolution’. Alex is now on the path to launching his new book “Web3: Charting the Internet’s Next Economic and Cultural Frontier” and he shares his viewpoints on the fall of FTX, Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse and how these failures relate to the world of decentralized finance and crypto.

Alex’s new book! Web3: Charting the Internet’s Next Economic and Cultural Frontier eBook : Tapscott, Alex: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

Last time Alex was on the show: Alex Tapscott on his Unshakeable Belief in the Blockchain Revolution

About Blockchain Research Institute: The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) is an independent, global think tank, dedicated to exploring and sharing knowledge about the strategic implications of blockchain on business, government, and society. Co-founded by Don and Alex Tapscott, BRI is funded by a consortium of international corporations and government agencies. The BRI’s latest program – Toward Web3: Digital Assets, Digital Transformation – is designed to assist our Members in understanding the potential uses and benefits of Web3 technologies, and to provide guidance on how to successfully integrate blockchain into their operations.

#alwaysinvested

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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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Alejandro Ochoa on the 5G Opportunity in Latin America | #HashtagFinance

CSE’s Anil Mall chats with Tower One Wireless (CSE:TO) CEO and President, Alejandro Ochoa, about their focus on owning and operating wireless telecom infrastructure sites in Latin American markets that are experiencing strong growth.

Here’s an overview of what they cover in this podcast:

1:55 – Tower One – a specialty real estate play first.

4:00 – Why they went public and how they are different than their competition (Build. Own. Operate.)

5:05 – A focus on building new infrastructure with anchor tenants in place.

5:55 – Why Alejandro is focused on Latin America.

6:50 – The challenge of building a qualified team in this industry.

10:15 – The potential of the Latin American telecom market.

12:40 – How COVID-19 is impacting network design.

15:05 – Other business impacts of COVID-19.

17:07 – Meeting demand in Mexico and Colombia, and divesting assets from Argentina.

18:10 – Working through COVID-19 with creativity.

19:49 – Addressing the 5G “controversy”.

21:46 – Working with remote communities.

25:35 – Recent developments including the new master lease agreement in Colombia.

Tower One Wireless’ core business is providing access to its infrastructure to major national and multi-national cellular carriers through long-term leases (10 plus years). With the migration to fourth generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE) and (5G) networks in Colombia and Mexico, the company pursues markets with a large demand for additional telecom infrastructure.

Related links
https://www.toweronewireless.com/
https://thecse.com/en/listings/technology/tower-one-wireless-corp

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CSE Webinar: Understanding the Israeli Tech Sector

The CSE’s James Black and Mark Francis were joined by Ronnie Jaegermann, Venture Partner from Beyond Ventures, Simon Weintraub, Partner from Yigal Arnon & Co., and Tomer Nitzan, Presiding Officer, US-Israel Desk at BDO, for a webinar on June 11th, 2020. In this latest installment of the CSE’s “All Locked Down and Nowhere to Go” conference series, our panel of capital markets professionals talked about the current state of the technology sector from the perspective of capital markets professionals in Israel.

Panelists discussed Israel’s technology ecosystem and the growth of high-tech capital-raising. Their talks included a by-the-numbers breakdown of Israel from an investment standpoint and a look at the factors that make it a unique environment for tech development, as well as how the technology sector evolved in 2019 and responded to COVID-19 in 2020.

The ensuing discussion looked at the character of Israeli investors and what factors make them consider investing in startups. The panel of investment professionals also talked about the merits of institutional investment and venture capitalism, how they hope the Israeli context evolves, and areas to watch in the future.