~New Director brings financial oversight as Audit Chair; strategy and operational update identify key improvements and marketplace direction~
VANCOUVER , April 25, 2019 /CNW/ - Namaste Technologies Inc. ("Namaste" or the "Company") (TSXV:N.V) (M5BQ.F) (NXTTF) is pleased to provide the following corporate update with respect to an appointment to its Board of Directors, Corporate Strategy, and operational updates and web property improvements. Additionally, the Company is providing an update to its Annual General Shareholder Meeting ("AGM") plans.
Board of Directors Update
The Company is pleased to announce that Kenneth Jones has been appointed to the board of directors and chair of the Audit Committee today. Ken is a highly experienced senior business leader with deep knowledge of private and public sector operations, gained over a 30-year career. Ken's experience includes Partner at PWC as well as progressive roles with a Fortune 500 company. Ken has a proven track record, globally, in successfully implementing sustainable benefits across a variety of sectors including manufacturing, research, public sector institutions and health care. He is a skilled leader of change in complex organizations, implementing high profile initiatives, under tight time frames and on budget. Ken graduated with Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.
In addition to augmenting its board, the Company expects to establish an Advisory Board to help provide additional expertise and strength to the Company and its current Board of Directors. The Company will provide further updates in the coming weeks upon the appointment of its inaugural members.
"We're making the necessary changes to strengthen our business, our Board of Directors and the foundational technology upon which the Company was built," said Meni Morim , Interim CEO of Namaste. "Ken brings a wealth of experience and financial knowledge to enhance Namaste's overall practices and governance as chair of the Audit Committee. We are honored to welcome Ken to our Board of Directors."
"We are focused on making changes internally and delivering results externally. We expect that these changes will have a positive impact in the short, medium, and long-term outlook of the Company. An effect of this change is to provide periodic and useful updates to our shareholders which we believe reflects our commitment to long-term shareholder value and professional approach to public disclosure. I am heartened by the dedication of our staff, who are working day and night and laying the foundation for our success, and we also remain equally appreciative of our shareholders and their support. This Corporate Update provides some insight into what we're developing, the path we're charting and the shareholder value we're focused on building."
Annual General Meeting
The Company wishes to announce the new date of its Annual General Meeting will be June 25, 2019 with a record date of April 26 , 2019. The Company has retained Kingsdale Advisors who is acting as strategic shareholder and communications advisor and proxy solicitation agent for the AGM.
Corporate Strategy Update
In relation to its strategy, the Company continues to invest in technology and infrastructure spending to position it to cater to domestic and international licensed producers, cultivators, micro-growers and ancillary device producers who may wish to distribute products through the Company's proposed marketplace which is currently under development. The Company believes that as its end-to-end business proposition develops, it will be in a position to migrate the benefits of the user interface, user experience flows and integration between CannMart and the Company's other properties to the new marketplace business model. This is expected to position the Company to provide sellers on the marketplace with a unique customer acquisition, conversion and distribution model that utilizes technology, business and artificial intelligence across the entire platform.
Operational Update for Namaste MD, CannMart, and CannMart Labz:
The Company is continuing to focus on improving the customer experience for customers who visit the Company's properties to purchase cannabis products and acquire medical prescriptions for Cannabis. In particular, the Company has made advancements to Namaste MD, improved its focus on operational execution at CannMart and made further advancements at CannMart Labz as discussed below:
Advancements to Namaste MD:
The Company believes that it has implemented several improvements to its Namaste MD application with a view to improving the customer experience including:
Extended Compatibility for more devices: Utilizing automated mobile testing, NamasteMD is now available on more devices than previous iterations.
Improved Video Experience: The Company believes its video conferencing experience has been greatly improved. Not only will the video work on more types of devices, but the system handles the video streams more efficiently and reliably. Push notifications were added, to better alert the patient when a video call is incoming to reduce missed appointments and improve efficiency.
Improved Appointment Flow, Cancellation and Rescheduling Processes: The appointment flow process has been improved, to give patients more control over their appointment date and time.
Improved operational efficiency: The company is in the process of reorganizing the nurse practitioner and patient coordinator teams, and appointed a new team lead to help improve processes, professional development and overall customer satisfaction. Our goal is to provide our patients with the best possible service and customer experience, and we are re-organizing the teams with that focus in mind.
In addition, the Company is reviewing its entire patient care model and aiming to introduce a more robust operating and control environment for its nurse practitioners with a greater focus on follow-up visits and data aggregation. In addition, the Company is aiming to better understand the benefits of government subsidized prescription delivery models and is expecting to expand its relationship with clinical specialists and doctors for that purpose. The Company is continuing to review its delivery model and use of technology to improve the customer patient experience, data security and patient conversions to enable and encourage the purchase of cannabis products on the CannMart platform and for it to become the preferred delivery model for new patients entering our ecosystem. The Company is continuing to explore opportunities to update and improve its other applications, including Uppy to better integrate with the Namaste MD and better leverage customer data and to evolve our customer's experience.
Improvements at CannMart:
The Company believes that it has introduced several important changes to its CannMart website which presently acts as the primary distribution channel for the Company's cannabis products. The Company experienced some technical challenges in its initial website roll-out, however, we have conducted a thorough retrospective, analyzed and understood the root causes of these challenges. The Company has gained critical knowledge about its implementation and change-management framework and has used it to further refine its processes. The Company believes that this learning experience will create a strong foundation for future success. Ultimately, the Company retains a strong desire to improve the user experience of its customers through a more intuitive and data focused customer interaction on its websites. We appreciate our customers' patience with the site improvements and expect weekly improvements in the site until we and our customers are completely satisfied with its performance.
In addition, the company is proud to announce the creation of its technical blog, where engineers from Namaste will post articles sharing key technology developments happening behind the scenes. The purpose of the tech blog is to increase transparency and establish Namaste Technologies as a thought leader while helping us to continue and attract top tier talent to join our mission of revolutionizing the cannabis technology domain.
CannMart has completed the last steps necessary for the amendment to its license to permit it to offer for sale cannabis oil concentrates on its platform, and awaits Health Canada's approval. Furthermore, CannMart is aiming to improve its sales funnel by engaging more directly with patients and accelerating their transition through its ecosystem to become dedicated customers.
Update on CannMart Labz:
The Company has completed and submitted its application for oil extracting and processing through its CannMart Labz subsidiary, in which it has a majority interest. The Company will update the public on its licensing application as soon as practicable after receiving a response from Health Canada.
Staff and Executive Compensation Updates
Kory Zelickson , Namaste's Vice President of Investor Relations and Business Development has indicated to the Company that he intends to assume a new role as CEO of a start-up Licensed Producer, effective as of June 2019 . The Company expects to continue working with Mr. Zelickson to expand opportunities for Namaste in his new role.
"Kory has always been a core member of the management team and leaves Namaste with a sound set of principles and ideas from which to evolve its business model," said Meni Morim . "We look forward to working with Kory to expand opportunities for Namaste in his new leadership role with a licensed producer."
"Namaste has evolved to become a leader for cannabis e-commerce and technology," said Kory Zelickson . "The Company has enhanced its corporate governance and leadership team and I will remain a strong supporter and loyal shareholder. As the Company has matured, and as an entrepreneur, it became evident that it's time for me to take on new entrepreneurial challenges, and therefore decided to take on a new role as CEO of a startup. I support the Company's current management team and will be available as a resource for Namaste on an ongoing basis."
Namaste has entered into new or modified agreements with its present officers, namely Interim Chief Executive Officer, Meni Morim ; its Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Ngo ; its Chief Strategy Officer Darren Gill and its Chief Operating Officer, David Giardino in recognition of their contributions and to ensure retention during this ongoing transition period for the benefit of the Company. Mr. Morim is presently acting for the Company under a continuing consulting arrangement pursuant to which he will now receive a capped rate of $250 per hour and is expected to transition to an employment agreement upon moving permanently to Canada . Agreements with Mr. Ngo and Mr. Gill now provide for an annual base salary of $225,000 and $200,000 , respectively with bonus entitlements of up to one times salary. Each officer has also been granted retention and other typical entitlements including upon termination of their respective agreements in various circumstances. In connection with his appointment as a Director. Mr. Kenneth Jones will be granted aggregate director fees of $100,000 plus 250,000 stock options subject to approval by the Board of Directors. The Company also granted one-time payments of approximately USD$100,000 to each of its independent directors, Branden Spikes and Laurens Feenstra including in connection with recent enhanced responsibilities.
Update on International Operations:
The Company has expanded its relationship with a major Canadian merchant account provider, which has arranged domestic and international payment solutions for the Company. This expansion is contingent on final sign off from certain banking partners, which the Company expects to receive. In connection with this new arrangement, the Company will remove or reclassify certain product offerings to remain compliant with international standards. The Company expects that normalizing its payment model and operations in this manner will allow it to realize long-term reputational benefits from focusing its sales and distribution through approved channels and related sites. Furthermore, the Company has assessed certain domains and their profitability and have ceased operations on Denmark , Sweden , Austria , New Zealand , Israel and Mexico domains. The Company anticipates that these changes will not have a material impact on revenue.
About Namaste Technologies Inc.
Namaste Technologies powers the ultimate online customer experience for medicinal cannabis and related products. Beginning with NamasteMD.com, the Company's integrated telemedicine application, Namaste connects medical clients with health care practitioners to more readily issue and renew cannabis prescriptions online. Featuring the first Canadian Medical Sales-Only Licence, the Company's own Cannmart.com is your 'everything cannabis store' offering clients a large variety of strains to fill their prescription needs. Namaste's unique artificial intelligence (AI) engine incorporated in its platforms and related Uppy App, completes our ecosystem by identifying the right product and pairing to address specific medical cannabis requirements. Namaste also provides vaporizers and accessories across several platforms operating in more than 20 countries. Namaste's global technology addresses local needs in a burgeoning cannabis industry requiring smart solutions. For more information about Namaste, please visit www.Namastetechnologies.com
Further information on the Company and its products can be accessed through the links below:
FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION - This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. All statements contained herein that are not historical in nature contain forward-looking information. Forward-looking information can be identified by words or phrases such as "may", "expect", "likely", "should", "would", "plan", "anticipate", "intend", "potential", "proposed", "estimate", "believe" or the negative of these terms, or other similar words, expressions and grammatical variations thereof, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" happen. The forward-looking information contained in this press release, includes, but is not limited to, statements related to: the expected establishment of an advisory board and related benefits, the introduction of a marketplace model as anticipated including whether it will position the Company to provide its stakeholders with the intended user experience or that it can grow the strategy as intended which is subject to various uncertainties, including delays in software development and implementation, the improvements that the Company has implemented to improve Namaste MD and that they will work as intended or that the features described in this press release will meet the Company's expectations as the technology is adopted and used by customers, that the improvements made to its primary distribution channel CannMart will operate as intended, the issuance of a Health Canada license to the Company for the sale and production of cannabis concentrates which remains subject to approval and in respect of which the Company can provide no assurance that such licenses will be obtained or that other features introduced to CannMart in order to facilitate purchases of cannabis products including through other LPs will be effective, the Company's relationship with a new payment provider including whether it will evolve as intended or whether the desire to normalize its business structure and operations will allow the Company to realize long-term reputational or other benefits as anticipated. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this press release and is based on assumptions management believed to be reasonable at the time such statements were made, including management's perceptions of future growth, results of operations, operational matters, historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other considerations that are believed to be appropriate in the circumstances. While we consider these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to management, there is no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. By their nature, forward-looking information is subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that may be general or specific and which give rise to the possibility that expectations, forecasts, predictions, projections or conclusions will not prove to be accurate, that assumptions may not be correct and that objectives, strategic goals and priorities will not be achieved. A variety of factors, including known and unknown risks, many of which are beyond our control, could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information in this press release. Such factors include, without limitation: risks relating to the Company's ability to execute its business strategy and the benefits realizable therefrom, risks specifically related to the Company's international operations, and risks relating to the market price of the Common Shares. Additional risk factors can also be found in the Company's current MD&A and annual information form, both of which have been filed under the Company's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release or has in any way approved or disapproved of the contents of this press release.
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SOURCE Namaste Technologies Inc.
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