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National Brands, Blue Sky Startups Address Investors At Cannabis Capital Conference

Chris Dier-Scalise

More than 40 international companies applied to address the assembled investors and industry experts at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, from major industry players to rapidly growing startups looking to scale in new markets. The following are highlights from presenters at the conference, held April 17-18 in Toronto. 

Copeland Biosciences

Targeting the side-effects and complications of pharmaceutical injury treatment, Copeland Biosciences produces CBD and THC topical formulations developed to provide targeted pain management and injury treatment.

Founder and CEO Dr. Glenn Copeland said he experienced these side effects firsthand in his career as a sports medicine doctor.

"Why do you give a young player anti-inflammatories when the problem is just in their shoulder?" Copeland said in Toronto. 

Copeland Biosciences formulations are designed to work in conjunction with an unobtrusive sonographic device intended to allow the topical formulations to move through the skin to address the area of injury.

"We’re working right now on three new technologies that will be the driver, using sound wave ... lasers that will drive our formulations through the skin," said Copeland. "This both accelerates injury recovery and aids in pain reduction."

Helix TCS

CEO Zachary Venegas said Helix TCS Inc. (OTC: HLIX)'s service is summed up as: let retailers do retail and let growers grow.

Helix TCS — technology, compliance and security — works with compliantly produced or operated cannabis businesses to ensure the entirety of the business' supply chain remains within the rule of law in all of the markets they serve. The aim is to ensure that, as legalization progresses and evolves, companies can be assured they have always been compliant.

"If we don’t have full transparency through the entirety of our clients' operating systems, we can't work with them," Venegas said. 

Dixie Brands

Chuck Smith, co-founder and CEO of Dixie Brands Inc. (OTC: DXBRF), describes the company in terms of three figures: nine years in business; three diversified companies; and a goal of being No. 1 in the packaged cannabis product market across the areas of extraction, product development, manufacturing, branding and distribution.

"We have a long heritage of building products and building up in the industry. That doesn't happen by accident, it happens by being in the industry for as long as us," he said. 

Dixie Brands is selling edibles and other THC- and CBD-derived products in more than 700 stores across five states, with the aim of reaching 1,000 by the fourth quarter. 

"At the end of the day we’re a commercial food manufacturer," Smith said. "We just happen to use a weird ingredient in the form of THC."

TILT Holdings

"Our job is to help businesses through the industry run more efficiently," said Joel Milton, senior vice president of business development at TILT Holdings Inc. (OTC: SVVTF).

The result of mergers between Baker Technologies, Jupiter Research and a host of other companies along the cannabis production, manufacturing and transport line, TILT Holdings works with manufacturers and stores to provide wholesale logistics, SAAS marketing services and even last-mile delivery to wholesale and retail customers.

The company's mission is to provide its clients with everything they need to build and run a brand and scale it across state lines.

The benefit of this services model is that, unlike others in the industry, TILT Holdings is generating revenue with its clients across the supply chain as opposed to a single segment, Milton said. 

"It starts with the plant and ends with the consumer. We’re monetizing the ecosystem every step of the way." 

Medicine Man Technologies

Medicine Man Technologies (OTC: MDCL) Chief Operating Officer Joe Puglise said that what sets the company apart from other LPs in the cannabis industry is that it's run by cannabis people — not capital markets people. 

Case in point: in lieu of attending the Cannabis Capital Conference, Medicine Man CEO Andy Williams was testifying in front of the Colorado General Assembly regarding House Bill 1090, which would allow public cannabis companies to also hold a cannabis license.

This fits into Medicine Man's overall vision to "roll-up" the Colorado cannabis market. It's a model the company is already pursuing with the acquisition of retail shops, now known as Medicine Man Denver, and the cannabis research facility MedPharm Holdings.

While the company is still growing compared to larger entities, it's also priced at multiples far below those of larger competitors, with “a lot of blue sky” between Medicine Man and industry giants at more than 10x its valuation, Puglise said. 

"While other companies were out rasing money and burning cash to learn the cannabis industry, these guys were planning and growing the company with their knowledge of the plant to be the best in the industry," the COO said. 

Organigram Holdings

With a focus on producing high-quality cannabis products at scale through automation and disruptive technologies, Organigram Holdings Inc. (OTC: OGRMF) CEO Greg Engel highlighted the company's approach to make the most efficient use of its single-campus operation.

"In terms of our facilities, we’re different from other producers in that we’re entirely indoors [and] producing 36,000 kilos a year," Engel said. 

Organigram is in the process of scaling its annual production to 113,000 kilos of cannabis by the end of 2019.

The company is not solely focused on quantity, but also quality and innovation in developing new products and new markets, the CEO said.

Engel pointed to the company's recent investment in biotech firm Hyasynth Biologics Inc. to produce higher-quality active ingredients for Organigram's products. The company is also involved in cultivating the developing Latin American market.

"We’re growing an indoor product that’s high-quality that will compete in that market at a much lower cost." 

Related Links:

6 Cannabis Execs On The Strengths Of Their Businesses 

Garage Startups, Name Brands Address Investors At Cannabis Capital Conference 

"At the end of the day, we’re a commercial food manufacturer," says Dixie Brands co-founder and CEO Chuck Smith, speaking April 18 at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Toronto. "We just happen to use a weird ingredient in the form of THC." Photo by Juil Yoon. 

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