When Pranav Sood introduced his seed-to-sale tracking software Trellis to the cannabis industry in 2014, it was designed to perform within Canada’s regulatory framework alongside a licensed producer. The Toronto-based company was all about helping cannabis operators manage batches of cannabis plants, track various lots of the same cannabis strains, meet Health Canada’s packaging and labelling requirements and report back required data to the government on a regular basis. The whole system was geared towards compliance.
But when Sood was offered a coveted position in a startup accelerator program in California in 2016, he jumped at the opportunity to test Trellis out in a market where it was still grey – cannabis was legalized in January 2018 – but also had a much higher volume of transactions than Canada.
“Canadian standards are the foundation of Trellis,” Sood says. “And then we layered on top a lot more details when we started working with operators in California, to the point where now when we show it to folks in Canada, they’re saying, ‘Wow, that’s functionality I didn’t know I would need, but we would love to use.’ We got that type of detail out here in California.”
After working with big Cali cannabis players like Harborside and Jungle Boys, Trellis caught the attention of California investors – Snoop Dogg’s venture capital firm Casa Verde invested $2.5 million in September of 2017.
Here are Sood’s best tips for Canada’s cannabis startups:
Find the technology that fits your company
Every business is different, with its own priorities, operations, culture and ambitions. That’s why it’s important to find technology that fits you – not the other way around.
“Look at all the different options out there and figure out what technology fits the best with your operations,” says Sood. “That’s why our software is so customizable – it’s very important to find a system that works with your operations rather than a system that forces you to change your operations in order to accommodate for that system.”
Take the time to set yourself up for success
Once you’ve chosen software, it’s important to take the time to understand its features and get yourself set up properly.
“For our onboarding process, we start with a blank platform that has no settings in it, and then we usually come on-site for the setup process,” Sood says. “We walk through each area of the software, and what we’ve found is that it forces our customers to think through their operations and then figure out how they want to customize the platform rather than settling for what’s defaulted in the system.”
For example, Trellis’s location management functionality allows users to customize how each room in a production facility, such as a grow room, is set up. Some customers require freedom on a granular level when it comes to setting up each specific cannabis plant, or tables, that a group of plants will stand on. Others require a higher level of management – a general sense of how many plants per room or greenhouse.
You get what you give
Once your software is set up for success, Sood says it’s crucial to put it to use – collecting and analyzing data will be the keys to future decision-making.
“When clients first start using the system, a lot of the time they’ll start with a new batch of plants and they plant a fresh new crop,” Sood says. “Slowly, as those plants grow, they can start seeing the data around how a strain has a higher mortality rate than another; they can even see, based on the vendor that they got the seeds or clones from, which plants are doing better than others. So that really helps inform both buying decisions for their next crop as well as what strains they want to grow.”
Find out more about Trellis here.
This post was sponsored by Trellis.
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