180 Life Sciences Corp.
KBL Merger Corp. IV (NASDAQ: KBLM), a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC), announced that, in connection with its previously detailed merger agreement with 180 Life Sciences, it consummated a bridge financing on June 29, 2020, and submitted its latest S4 filing with the SEC on August 28, 2020. It expects to close the business combination in Q4 2020. Following the merger, the company will be listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under ticker symbol ‘ATNF’.
180 Life Sciences Corp. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel drugs that fulfill unmet needs in inflammatory diseases, fibrosis and pain by leveraging the combined expertise of luminaries in therapeutics from Oxford University, the Hebrew University and Stanford University.
KBLM has valued 180 Life Sciences at $175 million, with the acquisition being carried out via a share swap through which each share of 180 Life Sciences will be exchanged for one share of KBLM.
Drug Development Programs
180 Life Sciences is leading the research into solving one of the world’s biggest drivers of disease – inflammation. The company is driving groundbreaking study into clinical programs, which are seeking to develop novel drugs addressing separate areas of inflammation for which there are no effective therapies.
The company’s primary platform is a novel program to treat fibrosis and inflammation using anti-TNF, with its lead program in phase 2b/3 clinical trials with first results expected in 2021. Further clinical trials are scheduled to begin by the end of 2020. The company has two additional programs that are in the preclinical stage and are showing promising results.
- Fibrosis & Anti-TNF (Phase 2b/3 Trials): Based at the Kennedy Institute within Oxford University, the fibrosis and anti-TNF program is being led by Professor Jagdeep Nanchahal, a surgeon-scientist who has been running the phase 2 trials, and Professor Sir Marc Feldmann, a renowned immunologist and one of the pioneers of anti-TNF therapy. The program is designed to address four critical areas of inflammation:
- The phase 2b/3 trial evaluating the treatment of early stage Dupuytren’s disease (DD) is a fully grant-funded and enrolled study, with top line data expected to be available by Q4 2021.
- The phase 2b trial studying the treatment of frozen shoulder is likewise grant-funded and is scheduled to be initiated by Q3 2021.
- The phase 2 trial in post-operative cognitive deficit (POCD) is anticipated to commence in Q4 2021.
- Preclinical studies in liver fibrosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are set to begin in late 2020.
- Inflammatory Pain (Preclinical): Directed by Professor Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University in Israel, this program is focused on discovering novel compounds to treat chronic inflammatory pain.
- A7nAChR (Preclinical): Led by Professor Lawrence Steinman and Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, 180 Life Sciences is seeking to develop a treatment for ulcerative colitis in ex-smokers by targeting the a7nAChR, a nicotine receptor in the body and a central factor in the body’s method of controlling inflammation.
Market Size for Anti-Inflammatory Medication
According to a study carried out by Allied Market Research, the anti-inflammatory therapeutics market is expected to grow to an approximate $106.1 billion annual market size in 2020, registering a CAGR of 5.9% during the period from 2015 to 2020.
Ranging from asthma treatments to targeting the causes of diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease, anti-inflammatory therapeutics have seen a sharp increase in usage, particularly given that they allow for medical responses that are more targeted and effective while possessing lesser side effects relative to conventional drugs.
Professor Sir Marc Feldmann, Co-Chairman, is known to be a pioneer of anti-TNF therapy, which seeks to suppress the immune system by blocking the activity of TNF, a substance in the body that can cause inflammation and lead to immune-system diseases. As of today, anti-TNF therapy drugs have become the world’s largest drug class, with sales estimated at over $40 billion per annum. Feldmann has received seven international awards for biomedical innovation over the years, including the Crawford and Lasker awards, and he is a member of the Royal Society.
Professor Lawrence Steinman, Co-Chairman, is a scientific luminary, having discovered the role of integrins, which led to the creation of Natalizumab, a highlight effective treatment for multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Steinman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received four international awards for biomedical innovation, including the Charcot Prize. Prior to joining 180 Life Sciences, Steinman founded Centocor, a pharmaceutical company that was sold to Johnson & Johnson for $4.9 billion.
Dr. James N. Woody, CEO, was instrumental in the discovery of Remicade as Chief Scientific Officer at Centocor. Previously, Woody founded Avidia and Proteolix, both of which were subsequently sold to Amgen, and he was a General Partner at Latterell Venture Partners. Boasting over 25 years of pharmaceutical research and management experience, Woody was also previously the general manager of Roche Biosciences, the former Syntex Pharmaceutical Company.
Blue Hat Interactive Entertainment Technology (NASDAQ: BHAT)
Blue Hat Interactive Entertainment Technology (NASDAQ: BHAT) is a cutting-edge creator, developer and operator of popular augmented reality (“AR”) interactive smart toys and educational games in China. Blue Hat’s mobile-connected entertainment platform connects physical items to mobile devices through wireless technologies, creating a unique interactive user experience in various mobile games, interactive educational materials and toys with mobile game features.
Blue Hat designs original toys and games that utilize augmented reality technology, motion capture technology, image recognition technology, voice control, light sense technology, infrared, levitation induction, and other trending scientific technologies to transverse the virtual with reality. Blue Hat creates a rich visual and interactive environment for users through the integration of real objects and virtual scenery. This combination provides users with a more natural form of human computer interaction, enhances a user’s perception of reality, and delivers a more immersive entertainment experience.
Founded in 2010, Blue Hat’s proprietary technology, product research and development, marketing channels and brand operation are the cornerstones of the business. Blue Hat focuses on the combination of “online” and “offline” activity and the interaction between “entertainment” and “product” to create a high-tech entertainment platform combining mobile games and AR. With the help of computer graphics, motion capture technology, image recognition technology and visualization technologies, Blue Hat accurately “places” virtual objects into the physical world, creating a new and stimulating visual environment for users.
Blue Hat recently displayed a variety of its sci-tech products at the Guangzhou International Toy Exhibition in China including AR Racer, Elastic Bubbles, AR Space Track, AR Alloy Toy Car, AR Need a Spanking, 5D Animated Magic Aquarium, Bug Travelers, AR Picture Book and other interactive games and smart toys.
The company has multiple products in development including new generations of four primary product lines and two new product lines.
Patents and Copyrights
Blue Hat’s advanced AR technology in interactive entertainment is protected by 178 authorized patents with 44 patents in various stages of the application process.
Another 14 applications for Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT, have been filed for international patents. As of March 31, 2019, the company owns 645 copyrights for artwork, 71 registered trademarks and 27 software copyrights.
Sales and Marketing
There has been rapid growth in the toys and games industry in China over the last several years. Total retail sales of toys and games in China soared from RMB 111.8 billion in 2012 to RMB 276.5 billion in 2017 with an average annual growth rate of 19.9% in 2017. Blue Hat believes the company is well positioned with little competition as the toy industry rapidly shifts toward intelligent and interactive toys and games. Retail sales of electronic toys grew at 24% annually in 2017 while that of traditional toys grew at 7%.
In addition to a powerful ecommerce presence, Blue Hat has long-term relationships with partnered distributors that place the company’s AR interactive entertainment products into well-known international retail chains and retail outlets. Blue Hat’s integrated online and offline sales channels include e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba, retail chain stores and the company’s physical experience store located in Xiamen, China. Blue Hat plans to open or franchise approximately 100 additional stores in China by 2021.
Blue Hat’s community-based platform offers users a highly engaged and interactive community with online communication forums and offline social activities. The company advocates a new model of “teaching through lively activities” and combines AR technology with education, integrating its products into situational teaching, roleplaying and man-machine interaction. This novel educational experience helps realize optimal transformation of information, creating a knowledge and enhancing cognition.
Director and CEO Xiaodong (Sean) Chen has over 20 years of experience creating, developing and producing toys and games related products. Chen earned his EMBA from Renmin University of China and has been chairman of the board of directors and general manager of Fujian Blue Hat Interactive Entertainment Technology Ltd. since August 2015.
CFO and Director Caifan, who has over 20 years of financial accounting and taxation experience, earned a degree in finance from Hunan University of Finance and Economics. He has served as director, deputy general manager and financial controller of Fujian Blue Hat Interactive Entertainment Technology Ltd. since August 2015.
Jianyong Cai, chief technology officer and director, has over 35 years of experience in data communication principles, communication network foundation, software engineering, communication network theory and technology and computer network architecture. He holds degrees in data communication principles, communication network foundation and software engineering from University of Science and Technology of China. He has been director, deputy general manager and chief engineer of Fujian Blue Hat Interactive Entertainment Technology Ltd. since January 2010.
Bullfrog Gold Corp. (CSE: BFG) (OTCQB: BFGC) (FSE: 11B)
Bullfrog Gold Corp. (the “Company”) (CSE: BFG) (OTCQB: BFGC) (FSE: 11B) is a Delaware corporation engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of gold and silver properties in the United States. The Company controls strategic lands with established 43-101 compliant resources in one of the most exciting gold exploration areas in the United States. The Bullfrog Gold Project (“Project”) includes a lease/option on much of the lands where Barrick Bullfrog Inc., a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corp., produced more than 2.3 million ounces of gold and 2.49 million ounces of silver from 1989 to 1999. The Project is located within the prolific Walker Trend about 125 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.
- The Company initially acquired 79 unpatented claims and two patents in mid-2011 and has since staked, leased, optioned, or purchased lands that now total 5,250 acres. Via a 2015 lease/option with Barrick, the Project includes the northern one-third of the Bullfrog deposit where most of the current resources in the Bullfrog mine area occur, along with their interest in the Montgomery-Shoshone deposit which gave the Company 100% control.
- In mid-2017, a NI 43-101-compliant report by independent mining consultancy Tetra Tech Inc. estimated measured and indicated (“M&I”) resources of 624,000 ounces of gold and 1.73 million ounces of silver at average grades of 0.70 g/t and 1.93 g/t, respectively. The expansion plans of these two pits were based on a $1200 gold price, use of heap leach processing, and also included 110,000 ounces of inferred gold resources averaging 1.20 g/t. Barrick used conventional milling to process an average gold grade of 3 g/t.
- The established resources and exploration potential of the Project are strongly supported by a large data base obtained from Barrick, including detailed information on 155 miles of drilling in 1,262 holes in the Bullfrog mine area.
Gold Rush in the Bullfrog Territory
The area around Beatty, Nevada has now attracted AngloGold Ashanti, Kinross Gold, Corvus Gold, Coeur Mining as well as the Company and Waterton. In this regard, Northern Empire Resources Corp’s property located a few miles east of the Project was acquired by Coeur Mining in October 2018 for C$117 million, implying a valuation of C$134/oz of inferred resources. As of today, the Company is trading at a significant discount to the valuation at which Northern Empire was purchased (http://nnw.fm/9NaaN), thereby highlighting the Company’s value proposition for investors.
Bullfrog Gold Corp. is focused on enhancing shareholder returns by concurrently advancing Project development and performing exploration drilling programs on several targets identified by the Company.
Secured Financing for 2020 Operations
Bullfrog Gold Corp. raised C$2 million in January 2020 through a private placement of shares priced at C$0.13/share plus a one-half warrant exercisable within two years at C$0.20 on a full warrant basis. The raise was carried out primarily to fund a drill program that started on May 1 (http://nnw.fm/6nZ0m), and was completed on June 6, 2020. Results from drilling 12,520 feet in 25 holes will be released in the coming weeks. The Company subsequently intends to conduct a preliminary financial analysis and complete further drill programs to advance the Project and add value. The financing was subscribed by several influential shareholders, including a former director of Northern Empire, who handled the sale of the company to Coeur Mining, and Eros Resources, the management of which has been involved with several high-profile mining projects and sales in the past.
Gold Prices estimated to average $1,800/oz in 2021
Gold prices have been on a remarkable run in 2020, rising by $245/oz to $1,760 prior to peaking in early May. Global central banks carried out 144 interest rate cuts thus far in 2020, reducing their rates by a cumulative 5,035 basis points (http://nnw.fm/jzZt0). Meanwhile, the IMF has estimated that global governments have introduced fiscal support measures amounting to over $9 trillion since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (http://nnw.fm/Or9rI). The resulting weakness in the U.S. dollar and eventual inflationary pressures stemming from these measures prompted Credit Suisse to recently hike their gold price forecasts for the full year to $1,701/oz (from $1,570 previously), while the outlook for 2021 has been raised to $1,800/oz (versus $1,600 previously) (http://nnw.fm/Iqg0X).
David Beling, CEO, President and Director
David Beling is a Registered Professional Mining Engineer with 55 years of diverse experience in areas such as engineering, development, permitting, construction, financing and management of mines and plants and the building and growth of several corporations. His initial employment included 14 years with Phelps Dodge, Union Oil, Fluor, United Technologies, and Westinghouse, followed by 41 years of senior management and consulting with 25+ U.S. and Canadian mining companies. In 2006-2007, he spearheaded an IPO, successfully drove equity raises totaling C$112 million and grew that Company’s market capitalization to $460 million. Beling has served on 14 boards since 1981, including three mining companies distinguished by the TSX Venture Exchange as top-10 performers.
Alan Lindsay, Chairman of the Board
Alan Lindsay is an entrepreneur and businessman who has founded seven companies within the mining and pharmaceutical industries, including Anatolia Minerals Development Ltd., Uranium Energy Corp., Oroperu Mineral, Strategic American Oil and AZCO Mining. Lindsay also developed the strategic vision for the 2011 acquisition and placement of the Project from NPX Metals into Bullfrog Gold Corp.
Kjeld Thygesen, Director
Kjeld is a graduate of the University of Natal in South Africa and has 48 years of experience as a resource analyst and fund manager. In 1972, he joined James Capel and Co. in London as part of its highly rated gold and mining research team before subsequently becoming manager of N. M. Rothschild & Sons’ commodities and Natural Resources Department in 1979. In 1987, he became an executive director of N. M. Rothschild International Asset Management Ltd., before co-founding Lion Resource Management Ltd., a specialist investment manager in the mining and natural resources sector, in 1989. Thygesen has been a director of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. since 2001 and served as investment director for Resources Investment Trust PLC from 2002 to 2006.
Tyler Minnick, CFO and Director of Administration & Finance
A registered member of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants with over 24 years of experience within the fields of accounting, auditing, and administrative services. Minnick has been engaged with the Company since mid-2011 and previously worked in the finance department of MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes, one of the largest residential construction companies in the United States.
Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (NUGS)
Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (NUGS), headquartered in Los Angeles, California, is focused on supporting entrepreneurial growth within the fast-growing legal cannabis sector. Through a selective portfolio of subsidiaries, Cannabis Strategic Ventures offers outsourced personnel solutions tailor-made to match the growth dynamics of cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries and other cannabis marketplace participants. The company also pursues investment opportunities in the areas of real estate, cultivation, extraction, distribution, packaging, dispensary operations, and branded products within the cannabis space.
The legalization of adult-use sales in California is expected to create nearly 99,000 cannabis industry jobs in the state by 2021, representing about a third of all cannabis jobs nationwide, and 146,000 jobs overall when indirect and induced efforts are considered, according to Arcview Market Research. By 2021, direct cannabis industry employment will top 291,500 FTE jobs, with a total employment effect of nearly 414,000 FTEs across all legal cannabis states, according to the report.
Cannabis Strategic Ventures believes its staffing capabilities will be in a similar state of demand. The company in April 2018 completed a definitive agreement to acquire Worldwide Staffing Group, Inc., which booked approximately $1.5 million in revenues in 2017.
Worldwide will operate within Cannabis Strategic Ventures as an independent and separate wholly owned subsidiary providing strictly non-cannabis related employment and staffing services. As Worldwide continues to expand its operations in general clerical and administrative, marketing, accounting, and other verticals, Cannabis Strategic Ventures will leverage the subsidiary's expertise to expand its business operations further into the cannabis staffing arena, with an emphasis on the California markets.
Cannabis Strategic Ventures' BudHire™ subsidiary is an outsourced employment service specifically designed to meet the needs of growing cannabis-related business operations, utilizes a proven recruiting formula to match the most qualified candidates to a broad spectrum of cannabis-related jobs. Under the BudHire™ brand, Cannabis Strategic Ventures offers temporary, seasonal, permanent staffing solutions, as well as professional employment organization services and human resources consulting to the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Strategic Ventures portfolio also includes Pure Applied Sciences Inc. and its brand "PureOrganix™," a line of high quality concentrate, organic and pure cannabis oils that conform with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and meet FDA guidelines for Active Pharmaceuticals Products (API). The acquisition includes all intellectual properties, including formulations and technologies, and related accessories of Pure Applied Sciences.
Cannabis Strategic Ventures Pure Applied Sciences subsidiary, has a cannabis concentrate extraction services agreement with CP Logistics LLC ("CPL"), a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Sunniva Inc. (CSE:SNN) (OTCQX:SNNVF). Under this agreement, CPL will perform white label services producing high quality, ultra-purified cannabis extracts out of its Sun-Oil Facility in Cathedral City, California, for Pure Applied Sciences under the Pure Organix brand name.
The management team at Cannabis Strategic Ventures believes there is incredible opportunity to carve-out and control specific industry niches, to create unique cannabis consumer branded products, and to expand into other sub-sectors of the cannabis marketplace.
Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF)
Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) is the venture capital investment platform of Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED, NYSE: CGC).
Canopy Rivers is a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue investment opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector. Canopy Rivers collaborates with Canopy Growth to identify strategic counterparties seeking financial and/or operating support. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Canopy Rivers has developed an ecosystem of complementary cannabis operating companies operating throughout the cannabis value chain.
Canopy Rivers, in collaboration with Canopy Growth, has established a diverse portfolio of cannabis industry investments that includes domestic and international companies, licensed producers, late-stage licensed producer applicants, pharmaceutical formulators, brand developers and distributors, retail networks, and technology and media platforms. Investments are customized for each counterparty and include a balanced mix of equity, debt, royalty and profit-sharing agreements.
Canopy Rivers’ expanding portfolio includes:
- Agripharm Corp. (private) is an ACMPR licensed producer, acquired by Canopy Growth in January 2017. In November 2017 Agripharm completed a joint venture with globally recognized partners Green House Seeds and Organa Brands. Canopy Growth has sublicensed proprietary technology, trademarks, genetics, know-how and other intellectual property from Agripharm to distribute the suite of Green House and Organa Brands products across the country, when permissible.
- CanapaR Corp. (private) owns 80% of CanapaR Italy, a Sicily-based company focused on developing and commercializing Italy’s local hemp cultivation industry through its partnership with the renowned Department of Agriculture at the University of Catania and its rapidly building extraction capabilities for the production of organic CBD oil. CanapaR Italy’s outsource farming model with local Sicilian farmers and its university partnership will provide it with a low-cost source of organic CBD oil, which is increasingly used as an input into new commercial products in the growing health and wellness industries.
- Civilized Worldwide Inc. (private), is a media and lifestyle brand with offices in New Brunswick and California that embraces and highlights modern cannabis culture. Civilized aims to engage the millions of productive, motivated people who choose to enjoy cannabis responsibly as part of their lifestyle. Reaching 2+ million unique visitors per month, North America-wide, Civilized produces engaging content for and about people who enjoy cannabis responsibly.
- James E. Wagner Cultivation Ltd. (TSXV:JWCA) was founded in 2007 by third generation agricultural and cannabis cultivators. JWC is the first entirely aeroponic producer of cannabis in Canada, and its patent-pending aeroponic production technology, called GrowthStormTM, allows for perpetual harvesting and improved yields. The company was issued a license to cultivate from Health Canada in January 2017 and a subsequent sales license in March 2018.
- LiveWell Foods Canada Inc. (TSXV:LVWL) was established in 1993 as a nutritional lifestyle company, and operates in the production of fresh produce and food technology. The company’s O-Hemp division distributes bulk and retail hemp products through its existing channel partners. LiveWell entered into a strategic agreement with Canopy Rivers and Canopy Growth in April 2018.
- PharmHouse (private) is a joint venture between Canopy Rivers and the principals and operators of leading North American greenhouse produce companies. PharmHouse has arranged to acquire a newly built 1.3-million-square-foot greenhouse located in Leamington, Ontario.
- Radicle Cannabis Inc. (private) is an ACMPR-licensed cannabis company based in Hamilton, Ontario backed by a management team that brings extensive experience in regulated industries, retail distribution, tobacco and pharmaceutical development, as well as Award-winning cannabis horticulturist breeders and medical professionals.
- Solo Growth (TSXV:ALZ) is a new cannabis retail concept that will operate locations under the name “YSS by Solo,” relying on the expertise of a management team comprised of founding shareholders, senior officers and board members of Solo Liquor Stores Ltd., a leading Canadian liquor retailer. Solo Growth was established through a recapitalization of Aldershot Resources Ltd.’s corporate structure that will allow the company to execute a new retail-focused cannabis business strategy.
- Spot Therapeutics Inc. (private) is an applicant that was acquired by Canopy Growth in August 2017 to solidify its Maritimes expansion strategy and less than four weeks later Canopy Growth signed a supply MOU with the New Brunswick government. Canopy Rivers purchased the property and entered into a long-term lease and committed funding agreement with Canopy Growth.
- TerrAscend Corp. (CSE:TER) cultivates high-quality cannabis in an indoor hydroponic facility, backed by a strategic investor boasting a strong background in the pharmaceutical space and an extensive portfolio of specialty pharma assets.
- Vert Mirabel (private) is a joint venture that was established in December 2017 between Canopy Rivers, Canopy Growth, and Les Serres Stephane Bertrand. Bertrand is a large-scale greenhouse operator located in Mirabel, Quebec, and the largest grower of pink tomatoes in the country. With guidance and assistance from Canopy Growth, the greenhouse has been upgraded and retrofitted for cannabis production and was licensed by Health Canada in May 2018.
As the company’s portfolio continues to develop, each constituent benefits from opportunities to collaborate with Canopy Growth and among themselves. Canopy Rivers believes this formula results in an ideal environment for innovation, synergy and value creation for Canopy Rivers, Canopy Growth and across the entire Rivers ecosystem.
Canopy Rivers is led by an experienced team of qualified financial and technical professionals with deep industry experience and relationship networks. The company’s acting CEO and chairman is Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth and founder of Tweed Marijuana.
Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF) (FWB: 496)
Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF) (FWB: 496) is a research-driven company specializing in the formulation and distribution of a suite of artisanal mushroom health supplements. Dedicated to revolutionizing conventional organic teas, coffees and other consumables with the infusion of a proprietary blend of artisanal mushrooms, Champignon’s expanding portfolio is crafted with the health-conscious consumer in mind.
Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Champignon’s team aims to promote the health and wellness benefits of functional mushrooms, which are used in a wide variety of health care and pharmaceutical products.
Champignon’s mushroom-derived consumer packaged goods (CPGs) portfolio includes its flagship brand, Vitality Superteas. Each carefully curated Vitality Supertea formulation was developed with the intent of helping individuals enhance and enrich their wellbeing one cup of mushroom-infused tea at a time.
Also in the portfolio are Nourish Force Supertea, a blend of Reishi Ryobus Tea Mix; Mighty Recharge Supertea, created with Lions Mane Tropical Green Ginseng Tea Mix; and Brain Enhance Supertea, a blend of Cordycep Hibiscus and Berries Tea Mix – all of which are formulated with organic ingredients and chosen for their ability to provide unique health and performance benefits.
Champignon’s flagship e-commerce store, VitalitySuperTeas.com, takes advantage of the burgeoning craft mushroom vertical space with a selection of mushroom-infused teas and accessories.
Functional Mushroom Market
Demand for consumer products infused with the nutritional and bioactive benefits of mushrooms is fueling a global market projected to reach $34.3 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.04% from 2019-2024 (ResearchandMarkets), with Europe seen as the fastest growth leader.
According to the market study, in highest demand are products infused with Reishi – a traditional Chinese medicine also known as the “Elixer of Life” and “Mushroom of Immortality – Lions Mane and Cordyceps, followed by other types of medicinal mushrooms.
Advances in Legalization
Legalization of psychedelics for use in medicine is gaining momentum across the United States. Denver, Colorado, and Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, have decriminalized the use of psilocybin, the psychedelic molecule found in various mushrooms, while movements for legalization are gaining ground in Oregon and Iowa, among others. Decriminalize California recently teamed up with the Beckley Foundation to replicate Oakland’s success of decriminalization throughout the state of California.
An increasing number of researchers are turning their attention toward the study of psilocybin as a means to treat otherwise untreatable illnesses. The molecule’s ability to provide landmark treatment options for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), migraines and addiction is gaining widespread acceptance among medical professionals, unicorn investors and accredited institutions.
Historical data and new scientific studies suggest therapeutic benefits of psychedelics in many areas, including drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, migraines, smoking cessation and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The market potential in these areas are significant. To reference just one of the above conditions, the mental health arena has been frequently neglected over the last 30 years, though new research is beginning to further reinforce that psychedelic compounds have the potential to produce more effective treatments than what is currently available.
According to the World Health Organization, 25% of the world’s populous will be afflicted by mental health and/or neurological disorders. Presently, approximately 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health, productive loss and disability worldwide.
Additionally, PTSD affects approximately 2.2% of the U.S. population; 7.7 million people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Recent published studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of certain psychedelics when administered in a medically supervised and monitored approach.
A renaissance in alternative medicines is emerging, and Champignon has set in motion its strategy to become a key player.
2020 Stealth IP Strategy
Champignon plans to biosynthesize psilocybin within the first three months of conducting laboratory experiments, with the objective of achieving optimized and scaled production of pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin for deployment in clinical settings. This strategy includes:
- Alternative medicine (psilocybin) IP aggregation
- Development of cGMP formulations of bioactive compounds extracted from plants and Fungi
- Drafting of benchmark SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
- Patient aggregation, focusing on veterans
Defining a New Asset Class: Psychedelic-Inspired Medicines
In the third quarter of 2020, Champignon – through clinical trials, a compelling IP portfolio and clinical pipeline and drug development platform – plans to advance its pursuit of treatments underpinned by psychedelic substances. This strategy is broken down into two ties:
- Non-Hallucinogenic Medicines
- Microdosing Psilocybin/LSD
- MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy
- Hallucinogenic Medicines
- Psilocybin high dose
- LSD high dose
Companies worldwide are beginning to incorporate functional mushrooms into their product offerings, taking advantage of growing consumer awareness of known health benefits of the ingredients found in mushrooms.
Champignon in November 2019 entered into a distribution partnership with Eurolife Brands Inc. (CSE: EURO), a leading global markets cannabis brand empowering the medical, recreational and CPG cannabis industry worldwide through a data-driven CBD marketplace supported by exclusive and unbiased physician-backed cannabis education and detailed consumer analytics. Under the agreement, Champignon’s branded products are integrated into Eurolife’s e-commerce platform, along with potential distribution opportunities in select brick-and-mortar retail locations in Europe.
Champignon also has an R&D/production formulation agreement with Drip Coffee Social Ltd., located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which calls for the infusion of Champignon’s proprietary mushroom extract blend into a suite of cold brew coffee products and signature in-house formulations.
Gareth Birdsall, CEO, Corporate Secretary and Director
Gareth Birdsall has more than seven years of experience working in diverse agricultural roles such as the cultivation of various fungi, in particular Cordycepes, Reishi, Lions Mane and Chaga. He is an attendee of the British Columbia Institute of Technology, studying marketing management and finance.
Steven Brohman, CPA, CFO
Steven Brohman has more than 10 years of experience working in a variety of roles with public and private companies. He has had extensive training in the audit of publicly traded companies on the TXS, TSX Venture Exchange and OTC markets, and serves as CFO and director of various public and private companies. Brohman has a bachelor’s degree of business administration and obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant designation.
Jerry Habuda, Director
Jerry Habuda brings to Champignon over 35 years of expertise in law enforcement and specialized units. From 1977 to 2012, he served as a police officer with the Toronto Police Department. During his tenure, he was assigned to the Major Crimes Unit, investigating robberies and home invasions. He was assigned to patrol the Toronto Community Housing projects at Jane/Finch to control drug trafficking and gun violence. Habuda was with the Warrant Unit where he tracked down and arrested wanted criminals. From 1993-1997, he was assigned to the Northwest Drug Squad on undercover and surveillance work, executing narcotic search warrants. Between 2002 and 2004, Habuda headed the Street Violence Task Force, a special unit designed to curb gun and drug violence that was terrorizing the city at the time.
ChineseInvestors.com (CIIX) has become a leading financial information website for Chinese-speaking investors in the United States and China. Recognizing unprecedented opportunities in the U.S. cannabis industry, CIIX is also laying the groundwork to capitalize on growing demand for cannabidiol (CBD)-based nutrition and health products.
Through its primary website, www.ChineseInvestors.com, CIIX offers a variety of investor education products and services, including real-time market commentary, analysis and educational related services in Chinese language character sets; consultative services to smaller private companies considering becoming a public company; and advertising and public relations related support services.
At the center of this initiative is the ChineseInvestors Method, a unique integration of a disciplined investing process, web-based tools, personalized instructions and support. Using this strategy, CIIX provides reliable market information to help investors make informed investment decisions and meet their individualized financial goals.
CIIX is also leveraging its financial expertise to enter into the burgeoning CBD industry, which within a few years has grown from a relatively invisible sector to a billowing market expected to reach $2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020.
The increasing demand for CBD-based products is a catalyst for innovative business endeavors. To this accord, CIIX has established a three-year development plan to capitalize on the convergence of CBD and the nutrition and health products market in mainland China, where the benefits of CBD oil have not been widely recognized.
Under a wholesale agreement with a reputable CBD health brand, CIIX is launching the world's first online CBD health products store published in the Chinese language. The site, www.ChineseCBDoil.com, caters to a growing number of Chinese people awakening to the numerous health benefits of CBD oil for treatment of a variety of conditions such as anxiety, stress, poor sleep, Alzheimer's disease, and more. CIIX expects to launch this website at the end of January 2017, and plans to sell CBD-infused products via online and in-store.
In conjunction, CIIX's cannabis-focused "Yelp"-style mobile app is in development as a platform for Chinese people to review and discuss various cannabis products. The app will be the first marijuana social media mobile app designed for Chinese-speaking customers worldwide.
CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP)
CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) is a clinical stage biotechnology company specializing in the development of novel treatments for primary and metastatic cancers of the brain and central nervous system.
The company was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Organ Targeted Therapeutics
The company’s lead drug candidate, Berubicin, is proposed for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (“GBM”), an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer. Berubicin also has potential to treat other central nervous system malignancies. Based on limited clinical data, Berubicin appears to be the first anthracycline to cross the blood brain barrier in the adult brain, and it was the subject of a successful Phase 1 study which found the MDT and produced efficacy data as well.
CNS holds a worldwide exclusive license to the Berubicin chemical compound. The company has acquired all requisite data and know-how from Reata Pharmaceuticals Inc. related to a completed Phase I clinical trial of Berubicin in malignant brain tumors. In this trial, 44% of patients experienced a statistically significant improvement in clinical benefit. In 2017, CNS entered into a collaboration and asset purchase agreement with Reata.
CNS intends to explore the potential of Berubicin to treat other diseases, including pancreatic and ovarian cancers and lymphoma. The company is also examining plans to develop combination therapies that include Berubicin.
CNS estimates that more than $25 million in private capital and grants were invested in Berubicin prior to the company’s $9.8 million IPO in November 2019.
CNS intends to submit an IND for Berubicin during the fourth quarter of 2020 and expects to commence a Phase II clinical trial of Berubicin for the treatment of GBM in the U.S. in Q1 2021. A sub-licensee partner was awarded a $6 million EU/Polish National Center for Research and Development grant to undertake a Phase II trial of Berubicin in adults and a first-ever Phase I trial in pediatric GBM patients in Poland in 2021.
The company’s second drug candidate, WP1244, is a novel DNA binding agent licensed from the MD Anderson Cancer Center. In preclinical studies, WP1244 proved to be 500-times more potent than the chemotherapeutic agent, daunorubicin, in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation. The company has entered into a sponsored research agreement with the MD Anderson Cancer Center to further the development of WP1244.
CNS Pharmaceuticals recently engaged U.S.-based Pharmaceutics International Inc. and Italian BSP Pharmaceuticals SpA for the production of the Berubicin drug product. The company has implemented a dual-track manufacturing strategy to mitigate COVID-19-related risks, diversify its supply chain and provide for localized availability of Berubicin. CNS has already completed synthesis of Berubicin’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and has shipped the API to both manufacturers in order to prepare an injectable form of Berubicin for clinical use.
Global Brain Tumor Therapeutics Market
The high recurrence rate of malignant brain tumors is due to reappearance of focal masses, indicating that a sub-population of tumor cells in these cancers may be insensitive to current therapies and may be responsible for reinitiating tumor growth. This necessitates the development of newer drugs in the market that demonstrate greater efficacy in treating such aggressive cancers.
A global increase in neurological disorders has placed increased attention on cancers of the brain over the past decade. Neurological disorders are becoming one of the most prevalent types of disorders, due to longer life expectancy, greater exposure to infection and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Because few treatments for primary and metastatic cancers of the brain exist, costs are high and have acted as a restraint for the brain tumor therapeutics market.
Despite progress in surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapeutic strategies, effective treatments for brain cancer are limited by a lack of specific therapies for the brain and the difficulty in transporting therapeutic compounds across the blood brain barrier. Therefore, there is a significant need for novel and effective therapeutic drugs and strategies that prolong survival and improve quality of life for brain tumor patients.
Several companies are making significant investments into R&D, which is expected to bring more treatment options to the market in the near future. Industry reports consistently project continued growth in the market.
One report estimates that the global brain tumor therapeutics market will reach a valuation of $2.74 billion in 2023, with the market expected to register a CAGR of 11% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2023. Another report projects that the global brain tumor therapeutics market will reach $3.4 billion by 2025, up from $2.25 billion in 2019 (http://nnw.fm/eDUjp).
John M. Climaco is the CEO of CNS Pharmaceuticals. For 15 years, Climaco has served in leadership roles for a variety of health care companies. Recently, Climaco served as the Executive Vice President of Perma-Fix Medical S.A, where he managed the development of a novel method to produce Technitium-99. Climaco also served as President and CEO of Axial Biotech Inc., a DNA diagnostics company. In the process of taking Axial from inception to product development to commercialization, Climaco forged strategic partnerships with Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson and Smith & Nephew.
Christopher Downs, CPA, is the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Downs previously served as Interim Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of InfuSystem Holdings Inc. (NYSE: INFU), a supplier of infusion services to oncologists in the United States. Downs holds a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Dr. Donald Picker is the Chief Scientific Officer of CNS. Picker has over 35 years of drug development experience. Prior to joining CNS, Picker worked at Johnson Matthey, where he was responsible for the development of Carboplatin, one of the world’s leading cancer drugs, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb with annual sales of over $500 million. In addition, he oversaw the development of Satraplatin and Picoplatin, third-generation platinum drugs currently in late-stage clinical development.
Sandra L. Silberman, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chief Medical Officer of CNS Pharmaceuticals. Silberman is a hematologist/oncologist who earned her B.A., Sc.M. and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Arts and Sciences, School of Public Health and School of Medicine, respectively, and her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. She then completed both a clinical fellowship in hematology/oncology and a research fellowship in tumor immunology at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Silberman has played key roles in the development of many drugs, including Gleevec(TM), for which she led the global clinical development at Novartis. Silberman advanced several original, proprietary compounds into Phases I through III during her work with leading biopharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Imclone and Roche.
Creatd Inc. (NASDAQ: CRTD)
Creatd Inc. (NASDAQ: CRTD) develops technology-based solutions to solve digital problems. Through the combination of design, thought and data analysis, the company builds products that influence a worldwide audience.
Creatd’s flagship product is Vocal, a proprietary long-form digital publishing platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
Designed to develop and cost-effectively engage content creators, the Vocal platform enables its over 500,000 registered content creators to reach an engaged audience and monetize their content. In addition to providing relevant content, Vocal’s technology is centered on efficiency and scalability through its niche digital communities, as well as output through its data-driven distribution strategy.
Vocal partners with content creators and brands that recognize difficulties inherent in the digital advertising space and that can benefit from branded content marketing opportunities available on publishing platforms like Vocal.
All content available on Vocal is created within the platform’s custom editor and published on one of Vocal’s embedded genre-specific communities, spanning topics that range from food to wellness, beauty, technology and more.
In May 2019, Creatd launched Vocal+, its premium subscription membership program. Vocal+ members pay a membership fee for premium value-added features, including receiving increased earnings for their content, reduced platform processing fees for tips received, a Vocal+ badge on their creator page, access to new features on the Vocal Platform, and other rewards. Creators can sign up for free or upgrade to Vocal+, available for purchase on either an annual or monthly subscription basis.
Vocal for Brands
Vocal for Brands is an in-house creative studio that generates actionable data from bespoke native advertising campaigns. Vocal for Brands partners with direct-to-consumer (DTC) to create beautiful, campaign-optimized stories on Vocal that build brand affinity, trust and drive results.
Additionally, Creatd provides a Managed Services offering to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) product and service brands which encompasses a full range of digital marketing and e-commerce solutions. Managed Services includes the setup and ongoing maintenance of clients’ websites, Amazon and Shopify storefronts and listings, social media pages, search engine marketing, and other various tools and sales channels utilized by e-commerce sellers for sales and growth optimization. In addition to partnering with Managed Services clients, the company offers a range of la carte services.
On September 11, 2020, Creatd Inc. officially changed its name from Jerrick Media Holdings Inc. and uplisted its stock to the Nasdaq Capital Market. The company also announced the pricing of its underwritten public offering of 1,725,000 units of securities at an offering price of $4.50 per unit.
This rebranding initiated Creatd’s go-forward growth strategy and its plans to expand its offerings and provide technology products and resources for creators to help transform their ideas into reality. The strategic plan is designed to greatly increase Creatd’s potential market value via a plethora of new revenue streams.
Creatd focuses on a community of creators that includes more than 2.5 billion users, for which it will offer democratized, transparent platforms for distribution, sentiment, resources and monetization. The company’s agile development process will rely on a combination of bleeding-edge technology that eliminates barriers and creates efficiencies. Superior design thinking and data analysis will allow Creatd to expand its digital footprint to a global community.
Creatd intends to partner with a community of technology collaborators and sophisticated investors who collaborate to provide technology solutions for creators, brands and their respective audiences. The company’s solutions, business processes, technology platforms and design theories will lend themselves to application opportunities on a global scale.
History & Management
Creatd was founded in 2012. Initially a private media company providing online content through a portfolio of brands, Creatd’s needs quickly outpaced its initial technology and product offering. In 2015, Creatd partnered with Thinkmill, a premiere, Australia-based product design and development group to create a content management system (CMS) for its brands; that system evolved into the company’s flagship product, Vocal.
Today, Creatd’s management team is an impressive group of abstract thinkers united by their passion to solve problems. Leading the team are founder and CEO Jeremy Frommer, and Justin Maury, Creatd’s president and head of product.
Frommer’s career includes two decades in the financial technology industry, working as a hedge fund and portfolio manager, as well as on the sell-side of the financial industry. Frommer started NextGen Trading, a software development company building proprietary equity trading platforms. NextGen was acquired by Carlin Financial Group of which Frommer became CEO. RBC Capital Markets Corporation eventually bought Carlin. At RBC, Frommer was managing director, head of the Global Prime Services group and a member of the RBC Global Equities Operating Committee.
Maury joined Creatd in 2013, bringing with him 10 years of experience in the creative industry. Since partnering with Frommer to establish Creatd, Maury led the company’s product development for more than four years. His passion for the creative arts and technology ultimately yielded the vision for Vocal. During Creatd’s early formative years, Maury was a driving force in creating the vision, design and architecture for the Vocal platform and managing the oversight of technology development.
Cybin Corp. is a Canada-based life sciences company focused on the pharmaceutical development of psychedelic products, as well as the functional mushroom market.
The early-stage company boasts an experienced management team featuring industry veterans from pharmaceutical and consumer product backgrounds who have run multiple clinical trials and collectively helped facilitate billions of dollars in product revenues. The team is dedicated to the development of products and protocols within the psychedelic, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
In particular, Cybin aims to further build upon and expand its intellectual property (IP) portfolio, which is structured around unique psilocybin delivery mechanisms that target a number of different therapeutic indications. In addition, the company has dedicated itself toward furthering its research and IP within the fields of synthetic compounds, extraction methods, the isolation of chemical compounds, new drug formulations and protocol regimes.
Serenity Life Sciences & Natures Journey Inc.
The company’s business model is centered around its two core subsidiaries, Serenity Life Sciences and Natures Journey Inc., which comprise Cybin’s two-pronged approach toward delivering fungi-derived psychedelic and medicinal products.
Serenity Life Sciences is focused on furthering research and development of psilocybin-based medications. Psilocybin is found in certain species of mushrooms and is a non-habit forming, naturally occurring psychedelic compound. Research into psilocybin has shown positive results for the treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, ADHD and other indications.
Natures Journey Inc. operates the Journey brand, which specializes in developing proprietary medicinal mushroom products that target and promote mental wellness, immune boosting detoxification and overall general health and wellbeing.
Partnership with the Toronto Centre for Psychedelic Science (TCPS)
Staying true to its axiom of being a research-first medicinal mushroom life sciences company, Cybin recently announced its entry into a strategic partnership with the Toronto Centre for Psychedelic Science (TCPS), with the goal of furthering its ongoing psilocybin research efforts and expanding Cybin’s psilocybin IP portfolio (http://nnw.fm/9EUkI).
“While there is evidence to support psilocybin as a treatment for certain indications, the Toronto Centre for Psychedelic Science is taking a clinical approach to prove or disprove the safety and efficacy of psilocybin-based microdosing through an open science approach,” Paul Glavine, CEO of Cybin, stated in a news release.
“We are excited to join forces with Cybin and to offer our expertise. A number of firms had approached TCPS, but Cybin demonstrated a superior commitment to high-quality research and integrity in product development. Our high standards for scientific rigor and transparency will find a fitting home within the culture Cybin is cultivating in Canada and abroad,” Thomas Anderson, co-founder of the Toronto Centre for Psychedelic Science, added.
Journey’s Product Monetization & Market Potential for Nutraceutical Supplements
Although Cybin is at the forefront of companies seeking to conduct clinical trials aimed at gaining regulatory approval for psilocybin and other psychedelic products, the company has also placed a great deal of emphasis on generating meaningful revenue from its very outset.
Cybin’s Journey brand has is launching a range of supplements comprised of popular fungi-derived ingredients such as Reishi, Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps. Purported to aid focus and concentration while promoting neurogenesis, Journey’s range of nutraceutical products provides Cybin with a crucial foothold within the non-psychedelic legal supplement market, which is valued at over $25 billion globally and growing at a 9% year-over-year rate.
In addition to the company’s range of non-psychedelic supplements, Cybin has plans to carry out a clinical trial with a new delivery system for its psilocybin-based medications later this year. Ultimately, the company aims to enter into technology transfer agreements with global pharmaceutical companies after phase 1 & phase 2 clinical trials are complete in order to accelerate regulatory approvals in major indications in global markets with entire lifecycle product management.
With products such as psilocybin truffles already legal in nations such as the Netherlands, Jamaica and Bulgaria, Cybin has positioned itself to capitalize on an eventual legalization of psychedelic mushroom-derived products in the future. Working within a regulatory environment with strong similarities to that which dealt with cannabis prior to the industry’s eventual legalization by the Canadian government in 2018, Cybin is laying the groundwork for the moment pharmaceutical psychedelics gain acceptance in North America and abroad.
Amalgamation Agreement and Financing
Cybin recently announced its entry into an amalgamation agreement dated June 26, 2020, with Clarmin Explorations Inc. (TSX.V: CX) and 2762898 Ontario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Clarmin (http://nnw.fm/w04LH). Completion of the transactions contemplated in the amalgamation agreement will result in the reverse takeover of Clarmin by Cybin.
In connection with the proposed transaction, Cybin plans to complete a “best-efforts” brokered private placement of subscription receipts of Cybin, with a syndicate of agents co-led by Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc. (Stifel GMP) and Eight Capital, to raise a minimum of C$14 million ($10 million) and a maximum of C$21 million ($15 million), with a 15% agents’ option.
To date, Cybin has raised approximately C$10,400,000 through an initial financing round and its series A financing round.
DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO)
New York and Israel-based DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO) leads global digital therapeutics (DTx) with its popular, smartphone-centered personalized chronic illness management software-as-a-service (SaaS). The company’s strategic advantages include:
- AI-powered digital solutions that drive durable behavior change in chronic disease patients, and
- Personalized user experience at scale to make behavior change the path of least resistance.
Approximately $3 trillion in annual U.S. costs associated with chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and obesity are largely preventable with behavioral therapies. Formerly limited to periodic office visits, these therapies can now scale to millions with tech-enabled, continual and remote health monitoring, as well as AI-driven digital and live coaching. This is all possible while still maintaining the personalization required for success in reducing illness and its related effects and costs.
Roughly 51,000 active, paying users manage their health with Dario’s platform that combines smartphone-connected vitals measurement, remote patient monitoring (RPM), lifestyle management tools, and AI-driven and human coaching to deliver improved clinical outcomes.
Among the most downloaded medical apps, the Dario platform is rated at 4.9 stars on the Apple App Store and features 11,000 reviews, along with a Net Promoter Score (a measurement of consumers’ willingness to recommend the product to others) that’s the highest in its field.
Clinical studies demonstrate Dario’s direct improvement on users’ health measures like H1AC scores (diabetes) and blood pressure (hypertension).
Patient engagement in therapies leads to health success. Dario’s platform centers on continual maximization of patient engagement through personalization, including ‘nudges’ and live, AI-generated responses to health measures provided by Dario’s smartphone-connected medical devices.
Proprietary data analysis provides valuable insights that not only improve health care providers’ medical capabilities but, through artificial intelligence, encourage patients to take evidence-based and highly personalized preventative measures that reduce risk, emergency room visits and preventable hospitalization.
Dario is now deploying its successful B2C platform in B2B2C, targeting employers and health plans with competitive advantages in cost, software and hardware.
The company estimates an annual addressable U.S. market of $72 billion, only 1% of which has been penetrated with digital therapeutics.
The strategic transition to B2B2C (from exclusively B2B) is intended to accelerate revenue growth by reducing Dario’s cost per acquisition per user and expanding margins.
Dario’s commitment to aggressive growth is also shown by its appointment of a new president, chief medical officer and head of sales for North America, all from a highflyer behavioral health company.
Key growth drivers planned include expansion of the company’s paying B2C subscriber base; lateral expansion into other chronic conditions that overlap with its core diabetes populations, such as hypertension, obesity and depression; and increased B2B2C penetration.
The company plans to leverage a massive opportunity for growth, with a global addressable market for digital therapeutics of roughly $108 billion. In the U.S. alone, that number is estimated at $72 billion, and only about 1% of that market has been penetrated.
Dario’s strategic transition to an SaaS membership business model increased gross profit by 87% in Q1 2020, as compared to the prior year. Membership revenue increased from 27.1% to 46.7% in the same period. The company is seeing improved operating efficiencies as it shifts focus to the B2B2C business model, and it expects average revenue per user per month (ARPU), which was $6 and $25 in 2019 and 2020, respectively, to reach $70.
Value to Consumers and Businesses
Dario continually evaluates and optimizes the value and return its platform delivers to consumers and businesses.
Consumers seeking to understand how their everyday behavior impacts their personal health and chronic conditions benefit from actionable feedback on how to improve health and better collaborate with health care providers.
Businesses looking to increase employee satisfaction, loyalty and productivity with fewer health-related absences take advantage of Dario’s services for employers.
Health care providers improve patient compliance using the platform’s interactive services that allow for greater monitoring, which improve engagement with patients at the right times and with the right treatments.
Health plans can leverage DarioHealth’s solutions to improve patient outcomes and lower costs.
The company recently presented the results of two new studies at the American Diabetes Association’s 80th Scientific Sessions, which showed sustained improvements in blood glucose levels and blood pressure among users of its digital therapeutic platform for chronic diseases. The results of these two studies demonstrate that the use of Dario’s therapeutic platform promotes behavioral modification, enhanced individual engagement and improved clinical outcomes.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Agreements
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently approved RPM codes for Medicare patients, which enables physicians to bill for between-visit patient care.
This simplifies implementation of the company’s open and scalable AI-driven platform and further supports transition to the company’s high-margin, recurring SaaS model targeting B2B2C revenue channels.
Emergency COVID-19 FDA Guidelines Allow Self-Test Blood Glucose Meters
In an effort to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduce contact between health care providers and patients in hospital settings due to COVID-19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized that home-use blood glucose meters, including Dario’s smartphone-connected metering device, may be used by patients with diabetes who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 to check their own blood glucose levels and provide the readings to the health care personnel caring for them.
As a result, hospitals can now allow patients to self-test using their Dario blood glucose testing strips and smartphone-connected devices, or hospitals can issue patients Dario devices upon admission for COVID-19-related conditions.
Irregularities in blood glucose levels are suspected as a factor in the increased severity of potentially deadly COVID-19 complications. As such, a high priority is being placed on stabilization of patients’ blood glucose levels.
Awards and Recognition
DarioHealth’s Blood Glucose Monitoring System was voted as the ‘Best Glucometer for Data Management’ by Top Ten Reviews. Jeph Preece, senior editor at Top Ten Reviews, said, “The Dario app is the best data management system that I’ve seen. Compared to apps by popular brands, Dario’s system looks and feels like it’s years ahead of the curve.”
‘The Global Digital Health 100’, an annual award sponsored by the reputable Journal of Health, recognized DarioHealth as a leader among health technology companies demonstrating the greatest potential to change the way that health care is delivered.
Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd.
Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd. is a leading financial hub for global investors, financiers and entrepreneurs. The private and corporate bank offers its clients a unique suite of bespoke financial solutions, institutional expertise and highly attentive service with an aim toward creating a network of opportunities to enhance client wealth. Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd. is the flagship company of the Deltec International Group, a diversified independent financial services group providing a range of financial services including fund administration, corporate advisory, merchant banking, global insurance and digital asset solutions.
Founded in 1959, Deltec draws upon the collective experience of more than 150 professionals. These specialists come from a wide array of backgrounds, including private bankers and investment advisors, trust officers, lawyers and certified public accountants, many of whom have previously worked at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious financial institutions. Deltec specializes in providing its clients with private banking and fiduciary expertise, fund administration, investment management solutions, digital asset financial services, insurance, and corporate and merchant banking capabilities.
Following the purchase of Société Generale’s private banking business in The Bahamas in 2016, Deltec has seen its group-wide assets under management, administration and custody rise to over $12 billion, as of late 2019 (http://nnw.fm/n0YQx).
Deltec Bank has received a number of accolades throughout its lengthy history, most recently being named the ‘Best Private Bank in the Caribbean 2020’ by Global Banking and Finance Review (http://nnw.fm/jx4rS), an award which it also won in 2015. The company was recognized for its outstanding performance and achievements, scoring particularly highly in the following categories:
- Strong client relations with personal and client-focused services;
- Highly personalized and innovative products and services; and
- Continued commitment to providing clients with the best possible financial solutions.
Opportunity within Fintech
Remarkably for a private bank, Deltec Bank & Trust has historically been at the forefront of the digital banking and fintech revolution within the financial services industry. Deltec has also gained renown for its annual conference, with the latest iteration focusing on disruption with financial services (http://nnw.fm/3m0kX). Hosting over 300 delegates, including the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance of The Bahamas, the conference featured ‘The Innovator’s Marketplace’, a forum providing an opportunity for emerging companies in biotech/life sciences, virtual reality, blockchain, fintech, quantum computing and other cutting-edge industries to pitch their ideas to investors and attendees in 45-minute presentations.
Engagement with the Community
Deltec Bank has long held strong ties within the local community in The Bahamas through its Deltec Initiatives Foundation, which was designed to foster an environment that empowers young Bahamians to drive positive social impact through the power of arts, entrepreneurship and education.
Since 2013, the foundation has discovered, launched and mentored many talented, motivated and driven Bahamian artists, artisans and entrepreneurs. The Deltec Initiatives Foundation comprises three pillars: The Initiative for the Arts, The Initiative for Young Entrepreneurs and The Initiative for Scholarship & Education.
Expert Team of Professionals
Jean Chalopin, chairman of Deltec International Group, is a global business leader with a remarkably diverse background encompassing several industries, including banking, wealth management, biotechnologies and entertainment.
Odetta Morton, CEO of Deltec Bank & Trust, is a seasoned banker and CPA with over 20 years of experience in the financial services sector, including financial management, shareholder relations, business leadership and corporate strategy.
Gregory Pepin, Deputy CEO of Deltec Bank & Trust, is an expert financial strategist with vast experience in blockchain technology, investments, wealth management and insurance.
Fabio Gama, Chief Operating Office of Deltec Bank & Trust, has 15 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Fabio has been directly responsible for operations, IT, facilities and procurement. He is an expert in developing teams and has a proven track record for supporting business needs.
Tanya Carey, Chief Financial Officer of Deltec Bank & Trust, is a resourceful finance professional and licensed CPA with over 20 years of experience in financial services and solid industry and regulatory knowledge.
Terry Girling, Chief Administrative Officer of Deltec Bank & Trust, is a senior executive, chartered accountant and banking professional with over 40 years of experience in the finance and banking sectors. Girling is experienced in all facets of banking, including accounting, compliance, operations, technology, fund administration, trust administration and human resources.
Hugo Rogers, Chief Investment Officer of Deltec Bank & Trust, is a multi-asset investment and award-winning global equity and hedge fund manager. He has actively managed investments for over 15 years. He is also a CFA Charterholder with a master’s degree from Oxford University.
Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR)
Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) , based in Lakewood, Colorado, is the country’s largest producer of uranium and the leading conventional producer of vanadium, both designated by the U.S. government as critical minerals.
As the leading U.S. diversified uranium miner, Energy Fuels’ uranium production portfolio stands apart in the world. Energy Fuels has more uranium production facilities, more production capacity, and more in-ground resources than any other company in the United States. In fact, the company’s assets have produced over one-third of all U.S. uranium over the past 15 years and is uniquely positioned to increase production to meet new demand.
Energy Fuels utilizes both conventional and in-situ recovery (“ISR”) technology to produce uranium from three strategic facilities:
- White Mesa Mill in Utah (conventional) has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds of U3O8 per year. The highly strategic White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill in the country and is proximate to some of the largest and highest-grade uranium mines and projects in the U.S., including the Company’s Canyon mine, La Sal Complex, Henry Mountains Complex and Roca Honda Project. White Mesa Mill provides Energy Fuels with significant production scalability as uranium demand increases. The White Mesa Mill also has other diverse businesses, including vanadium, rare earth elements (REE’s), alternate feed materials recycling and land cleanup, all described below.
- Nichols Ranch Plant (ISR) is located in the productive Powder River Basin district of Wyoming and has a total licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year. Nichols Ranch has produced 1.2 million pounds of U3O8 since commissioning in 2014, and it has significant future expansion potential from 34 fully licensed wellfields containing significant in-ground uranium resources.
- Alta Mesa Plant (ISR) is located on over 200,000 acres of private land in Texas. The fully licensed and constructed ISR project has a total operating capacity of 1.5 million pounds of uranium per year and produced nearly 5 million pounds of U3O8 between 2005 and 2013. This low-cost production facility is currently on standby, maintained in a state of readiness to respond to expected increases in demand.
In addition to being the largest uranium miner in the U.S., Energy Fuels’ overall portfolio also includes a pipeline of high-quality, large-scale exploration and development projects that are permitted or are in advanced stages of permitting, as well as an industry-leading U.S. NI 43-101 Mineral Resource portfolio.
FACTOID: Energy Fuels has led industry efforts over the past two-plus years to get the U.S. government to recognize the importance of domestically produced uranium, including the 2018 – 2019 Uranium Section 232, the ongoing Nuclear Fuel Working Group and the recently announced creation of the U.S. strategic uranium reserve. The U.S. is by far the largest consumer of uranium in the world, yet we import almost all of our requirements; Energy Fuels aims to change that.
Nuclear Market Potential
Multiple studies in top scientific journals have shown that nuclear power is cleanest and most economical way to produce reliable electricity as worldwide demand continues to soar. Nuclear power is presently the only available and affordable low-carbon power source that can meet both current and future baseload electricity demands while simultaneously reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change. U.S. nuclear power plants currently generate nearly 20% of the nation’s electricity overall and 55% of its carbon‐free electricity and even a modest increase in electricity demand would require significant new nuclear capacity by 2025. According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), there are currently 441 operable reactors, with another 54 units under construction and 439 in various stages of planning; in addition, the WNA has identified a potentially massive supply/demand gap through 2040 of 1 billion pounds. These factors among others are expected to significantly drive increased demand for uranium.
Reasons Nuclear is Gaining Traction
- Nuclear reactors emit no greenhouse gases during operation. Over their full lifetimes, they result in comparable emissions to renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar.
- Unlike any other form of energy, the waste from nuclear energy is contained and managed securely. Used fuel is currently being safely stored for ultimate disposal or future reprocessing, and 96% of this waste can potentially be recycled.
- Greater demand for clean electricity to power everything from homes to automobiles, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
No. 1 U.S. Producer of Vanadium in 2019
Energy Fuels also produces vanadium as a byproduct of uranium production. Vanadium is designated a critical mineral, essential to the economic and national security of the United States. Energy Fuels was the largest producer of vanadium in the U.S. in 2019, and has significant high-grade, in-ground vanadium resources, as well as a separate high-purity vanadium production circuit at their White Mesa Mill, which is also the only conventional vanadium mill in the country. Crucial for use in the steel, aerospace, and chemical industries, vanadium plays a critical role in the production of high-strength and light-weight metallic alloys and demand is expected to increase across the globe.
Energy Fuels has several fully permitted and developed standby mines containing large quantities of high-grade vanadium, along with uranium, including:
- La Sal Complex (Utah)
- Whirlwind Mine (Colorado/Utah)
- Rim Mine (Colorado)
Vanadium has also gained increased attention as a catalyst in next-generation high-capacity, “community-scale” batteries used for energy storage generated from renewable sources. Demand is only expected to grow as this market expands. With recent upgrades in its vanadium production operations, in 2019 Energy Fuels produced commercial levels of the highest purity (99.7%) vanadium in the mill’s history and can rapidly adjust production to meet volatile market conditions. Energy Fuels is one of the very few known avenues that provides investors access the vanadium market.
Rare Earth Element (REE) Production, Alternate Feed Material Recycling, and Land Cleanup
The White Mesa Mill also provides the company with diverse cashflow generating opportunities. Security of supply for Rare Earth Elements (REEs) supporting U.S. military and defense requirements is a major issue today. Energy Fuels has been approached by a number of entities, including the U.S. government, inquiring about the potential to process certain REEs at the mill. The White Mesa Mill is currently licensed to process certain REEs, including tantalum and niobium. And, early indications are that the mill can be utilized to produce several other REEs. The White Mesa Mill is also the only facility in North America licensed and capable of recycling alternate feed materials (AFMs). AFMs are essentially low-level waste materials that contain recoverable quantities of natural (or unenriched) uranium. The Company typically generates between $5 and $15 million per year from AFM recycling. Finally, Energy Fuels is seeking to become involved in the cleanup of legacy Cold War era uranium mines in the Four Corners region of the U.S., including on the Navajo Nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has access to over $1.5 billion for the cleanup of just a fraction of the sites on the Navajo Nation. The White Mesa Mill is fully licensed to receive much of this material, we are one of the government’s lowest cost options, and we have the ability to recycle the material and produce usable uranium from it.
Mark S. Chalmers, President and CEO
Mark S. Chalmers is the president and chief executive officer of Energy Fuels, a position he has held since Feb. 1, 2018, following his role as chief operating officer of Energy Fuels from July 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2018. From 2011 to 2015, Chalmers served as executive general manager of Production for Paladin Energy Ltd., a uranium producer with assets in Australia and Africa, including the Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera mines where, as head of operations, he oversaw sustained, significant increases in production while reducing operating costs. He also possesses extensive experience in in situ recovery (“ISR”) uranium production, including management of the Beverley Uranium Mine owned by General Atomics (Australia), and the Highland mine owned by Cameco Corporation (USA). Chalmers has also consulted to several of the largest players in the uranium supply sector, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Marubeni, and until recently served as the chair of the Australian Uranium Council, a position he held for 10 years. Chalmers is a registered professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona.
W. Paul Goranson, COO
W. Paul Goranson is the chief operating officer for Energy Fuels. Goranson has 30 years of mining, processing and regulatory experience in the uranium extraction industry that includes both conventional and in-situ recovery (“ISR”) mining, and he is a registered professional engineer. Prior to the acquisition by Energy Fuels of Uranerz Energy Corporation, Goranson served as president, chief operating officer and director for Uranerz, where he was responsible for operations of the Nichols Ranch ISR Uranium Project. In addition to those duties, he also managed uranium marketing, regulatory and government affairs, exploration and land. Prior to joining Uranerz, Goranson served as president of Cameco Resources, where he led the operations at the Smith Ranch-Highland, Crow Butte and North Butte ISR uranium recovery facilities. Goranson also served as vice president of Mesteña Uranium LLC, and he has served in senior positions with Rio Algom Mining, (a subsidiary of BHP Billiton), and Uranium Resource Inc. Goranson has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Gas Engineering from Texas A&I University, and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
David C. Frydenlund, CFO, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary
David C. Frydenlund is chief financial officer, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Energy Fuels. His responsibilities include oversight of all legal matters relating to the company’s activities. His expertise extends to NRC, EPA, state and federal regulatory and environmental laws and regulations. From 1997 to 2012, Frydenlund was vice president of regulatory affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary of Denison Mines Corp., and its predecessor International Uranium Corporation (“IUC”). He also served as a director of IUC from 1997 to 2006 and CFO of IUC from 2000 to 2005. From 1996 to 1997, Frydenlund was vice president of the Lundin Group of international public mining and oil and gas companies, and prior thereto was a partner with the Vancouver law firm of Ladner Downs (now Borden Ladner Gervais) where his practice focused on corporate, securities and international mining transactions law. Frydenlund holds a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Simon Fraser University, a master’s degree in economics and finance from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the University of Toronto.
Curtis H. Moore, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development
Curtis H. Moore is the vice president of Marketing and Corporate Development for Energy Fuels. He oversees product marketing for Energy Fuels, and is closely involved in mergers & acquisitions, investor relations, public relations, and corporate legal. He has been with Energy Fuels for over 12 years, holding various roles of increasing responsibility. Prior to joining Energy Fuels, Moore worked in multi-family real estate development, government relations and public affairs, production homebuilding, and private law practice. Moore is a licensed attorney in the State of Colorado. He holds Juris Doctor and MBA degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Bachelor of Arts dual degree in Economics-Government from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.
Exro Technologies Inc. (CSE: XRO) (OTCQB: EXROF)
Exro Technologies Inc. (CSE: XRO) (OTCQB: EXROF), a Canadian technology company, is an innovative pioneer in the energy sector. Exro has developed and commercialized an electric power module (EPM) that integrates into existing motor systems to make them smarter. Exro’s patented technology optimizes existing motor performance by automatically sensing and adapting operating parameters to an optimized state, creating measurable efficiency gains, reduced mechanical components and increased system availability.
Exro’s technology and efficiency optimization algorithms improve the performance and efficiency of electric motors by manipulating power delivery to individual coils, thereby enabling the ability to expand operating parameters. This novel approach is scalable and can be utilized in most variable torque applications.
The widespread applications of Exro’s technology apply to optimizing the performance of electric vehicles, locomotive traction applications, industrial motors, and other variable torque applications that benefit from smart energy conversion.
Exro’s proprietary, patented software controls electric motor coils through individual coil switching. This introduction of intelligence into energy conversion at the level of individual coils results in expanded speed/torque capability, improved machine efficiency, reliability, safety and maintenance across a wider operating range. Exro’s advanced control algorithms create smart, real-time optimized power management.
Exro currently holds 15 patents, with 8 patents pending and additional patents under development. The company continues to expand its IP portfolio to support its goal of becoming a globally recognized leader in leveraging advanced control algorithms to improve the performance, efficiency and longevity of electric motors and generators.
Electric motors are the single biggest consumer of electricity. They account for about two-thirds of industrial power consumption and about 45% of global power consumption, according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency. Exro’s technology seeks to give industries a new way to look at energy—from electric vehicles, to industrial equipment, to renewable applications like wind farms; we are improving the way energy is consumed.
The 6,500-square-foot Exro Innovation Center (EIC), scheduled to open spring of 2020 in Calgary, will transition the current Victoria lab into one Calgary based center. The company’s new laboratory space will expand its service capabilities to customers, provide larger test capabilities, and showcase how Exro’s technology can be applied to dramatically improve the performance of electrical motors.
The EIC will also host collaborative events to explore advances in energy consumption and electric motor innovations, with participants from across Canada and around the world.
- A strategic agreement with Finland’s Aurora Powertrains Oy, which in 2019 released an all-electric production snowmobile called the “eSled,” will see Exro’s technology added to the Aurora electric powertrain. The snowmobile sector’s economic footprint is estimated at $26 billion in the U.S., $8 billion in Canada, and $5 billion in Europe and Asia.
- An agreement with Potencia in Mexico serving the last mile vehicle segment will integrate Exro’s custom drive and EPM module into small passenger commercial vehicles (taxis) and fleet delivery trucks
- A licensing agreement with Motorino Electric, a leader in the Canadian electric transportation industry, will integrate Exro’s Electric Power Module technology into Motorino’s CTi electric bicycle.
Chief Executive Officer Sue Ozdemir is a proven leader in the innovation and manufacturing of electric motors. She has nine years of accomplishments at General Electric, acting as CCO and the CEO of GE’s Small Industrial Motors Division, overseeing the division’s North American and international markets – ultimately building the division into a $160 million enterprise.
Chief Commercial Officer Josh Sobil is leading the seamless adoption of Exro’s growing product portfolio focused on the mobility segment and opening doors in all segments including agriculture, heavy industry, energy, construction, among others.
Executive Chairman Mark Godsy is a serial technology entrepreneur who has been involved in many top tier ventures, including two of Canada’s most successful biotech companies.
Foresight Autonomous Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: FRSX) (TASE: FRSX)
Foresight Autonomous Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: FRSX (TASE: FRSX), founded in 2015 and headquartered in Israel, is a technological innovator in automotive vision systems and driver assistance technology. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Foresight Automotive Ltd., Foresight is engaged in the design, development and commercialization of stereo/quad-camera vision systems and V2X cellular-based solutions for the automotive industry based on 3D video analysis, advanced algorithms for image processing and sensor fusion. The company's powerful and patented stereoscopic technology is derived from field-proven technology that has been deployed throughout the world for almost two decades.
Foresight's innovative autonomous driving solutions are based on mature, proprietary stereoscopic image technology that uses two synchronized cameras to mimic human depth perception and produce a three-dimensional image. This 3D image can anticipate possible collisions with other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and other obstacles. The technology provides highly accurate real-time alerts about the vehicle's surroundings while in motion. The systems are designed to improve driving safety by enabling highly accurate and reliable threat detection while ensuring the lowest rates of false alerts.
The company's patents provide IP protection for its robust and proven proprietary stereoscopic technology, which was developed using the security technology of Foresight's major shareholder, Magna B.S.P.
Foresight has developed three main products:
- QuadSight™. This breakthrough detection system sets the bar for autonomous vehicle vision. It features nearly 100 percent obstacle detection with almost zero false alerts and operates optimally under all weather and lighting conditions, including darkness, rain, fog, haze and glare. QuadSight™ is the first quad-camera multi-spectral vision solution of its kind, driven by advanced and proven image processing algorithms. The system consists of two sets of stereoscopic infra-red and visible-light cameras that enable highly accurate and reliable obstacle detection for seamless 24/7 vision.
- Eyes-On™. This solution uses advanced algorithms for accurate depth analysis and obstacle detection to provide a unique stereo vision Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). It can detect all potential obstacles regardless of shape, form or material, including other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and animals. It has an accuracy and reliability of almost 100 percent and near zero false alerts.
- Eye-Net™. This is a cellular-based accident prevention solution that is designed to provide real-time pre-collision alerts to vehicles and pedestrians. This proprietary system is deployed on smartphones and cloud-based servers operating on existing cellular networks, and it eliminates the need for additional designated hardware. Eye-Net™ is designed to provide a complementary layer of protection to advanced driver assistance systems and extends this protection to road users who are not in direct line of sight. It is optimally designed for both urban environments and high-speed scenarios to provide protection for the most vulnerable road users. On March 28, 2018, Foresight announced that it had completed a successful feasibility study of its Eye-Net™ accident prevention solution involving 120 users of Android and iOS cell phones located across Israel.
In 2017, Foresight sought more opportunities within the international market. The Company signed pilot agreements with three leading car manufacturers in China and completed pilot projects meeting all pre-defined requirements and criteria. In addition, FRSX completed a pilot project with Uniti Sweden.
Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety continue to emphasize the dramatic reduction in accidents and injury-related crashes reported when vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance systems. A recent study by the Institute states that the rate of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes was 11 percent lower in vehicles with the warning systems. More importantly, the study shows collision avoidance technology cut the rates of injury crashes of the same type by 21 percent.
Foresight Autonomous Holdings, Inc. also holds a 32 percent interest in RailVision, a company that develops advanced systems for railway safety and maintenance. RailVision has successfully completed 13 tests in Israel, Germany, Italy and Switzerland in addition to a real-time system test with a European railway operator. Over the course of 2017, RailVision successfully completed rounds of financing totaling $5.8 million and started the process of licensing the system according to European standards.
Haim Siboni is the founder of Foresight and has served as the company's chief executive officer and director since 2015. Siboni, a passionate entrepreneur, has an extensive background in the marketing and business management sectors in the fields of electronics, video, TV, multimedia, computerized systems, line and wireless telecommunication, design and development of systems and devices, including electro-optic radar systems. He is the founder and CEO of Magna B.S.P., Foresight's major shareholder and a leading innovator in the field of homeland security surveillance solutions.
Genprex Inc. (NASDAQ: GNPX)
Genprex Inc. (NASDAQ: GNPX) is a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing potentially life-changing technologies for cancer patients based upon a unique proprietary technology platform, including Genprex’s initial product candidate, Oncoprex™ immunogene therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Genprex’s platform technologies are designed to administer cancer-fighting genes by encapsulating them into nanoscale hollow spheres called nanovesicles, which are then administered intravenously and taken up by tumor cells where they express proteins that are missing or found in low quantities.
Research and Development
Genprex holds a portfolio of 30 issued and two pending patents covering its technologies and targeted molecular therapies. The company’s research and development program is focused on identifying and developing leading-edge gene therapies that can be used alone or in combination with other therapies for treatment of cancer.
Genprex’s initial product candidate is Oncoprex™, an immunogene therapy for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Oncoprex works by interrupting cell signaling pathways that cause replication and proliferation of cancer cells, re-establishes pathways for apoptosis (or programmed cell death) in cancer cells, and modulates the immune response against cancer cells. Oncoprex has also been shown to block mechanisms that create drug resistance.
Preclinical research is being conducted with the goal of developing Oncoprex to be administered with targeted therapies in other solid tumors, and with immunotherapies in NSCLC and other solid tumors. In addition, Genprex has conducted and plans to continue research into other tumor suppressor genes associated with chromosome 3p21.3, as well as other potential applications of the company’s immunogene therapy platform.
Genprex is currently conducting the second phase of a phase I/II clinical trial at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The company plans to expand its clinical program by adding a new clinical study evaluating Oncoprex™ in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor for treatment of Stage IV or recurrent NSCLC. In research presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., Genprex’s collaborators showed that TUSC2 in combination with PD-1 checkpoint inhibition has a significantly greater anti-tumor effect in lung cancer than either agent alone. The research also shows that TUSC2 in combination with PD-1 blockade has synergistic activity in upregulating natural killer (NK) cells, correlating with prolonged survival in mice.
TUSC2 (Tumor Suppressor Candidate 2) is a tumor suppressor gene that is absent or deficient in cancer cells of many different cancer types.
Genprex technologies seek to bridge a critical gap by combining with targeted therapies and immunotherapies to provide treatments to large patient populations who would otherwise not be candidates for those therapies or who have become resistant to them. Genprex technologies are being developed to overcome genomic limitations which are inherent in targeted therapies and immunotherapies in order to provide new treatment solutions to large cancer populations, such as those with lung cancer.
Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85 percent of all lung cancers, according to the American Cancer Society (“ACS”). Despite radical advances in drug development and novel therapeutic standards, survival for late stage lung cancer has not improved significantly in the past 25 years.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. Rodney Varner, JD, is a co-founder of Genprex and has served in these roles since August 2012. He has more than 35 years of legal experience with large and small law firms and as outside general counsel of a Nasdaq-listed company. Varner has served as counsel in company formation, mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, other business transactions, protection of trade secrets and other intellectual property, real estate, and business litigation. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Court and the U.S. Tax Court.
Julien L. Pham, M.D., MPH, is president and chief operating officer of Genprex. In March 2013, Dr. Pham co-founded RubiconMD, a healthcare IT company that connects primary care providers to specialists for additional guidance and opinions on medical cases and served as its chief medical officer. He has served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and nephrologist.
Ryan M. Confer, MS, has served as Genprex chief financial officer since September 2016. Confer has more than 10 years of executive experience in planning, launching, developing, and growing emerging technology companies and has served in the chief operating and chief financial roles for non-profit and for-profit entities since 2008. Confer has also served as an international business development consultant for the University of Texas at Austin’s IC2 Institute, where he focused on evaluating the commercialization potential of nascent technologies in domestic and international markets applicable to technology incubator programs associated with the University. Confer holds a BS in finance and legal studies from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an MS in technology commercialization from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jan Stevens, RN, is vice president of Clinical Operations. Stevens has nearly 20 years of comprehensive clinical operations experience in the biopharma industry and a specialization in early-to-late stage oncology companies. Stevens joined the company to help support the various clinical development programs for Oncoprex™.
GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: ATUMF)
GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: ATUMF) (formerly Altum Resources Corp.), a Canada-based company engaged in the business of acquiring and exploring mineral resource properties, recently announced its entry into agreements to acquire seven advanced gold projects in the Maricunga Gold Belt of Chile that hosts over 100 million ounces of gold within the last 10 years.
Chilean Gold Properties Being Acquired
On April 17, 2020, GoldHaven Resources entered into an agreement to purchase a 100% interest in two gold projects located in the Maricunga Gold Belt of Northern Chile. The first property, Rio Loa, is located 25 kilometers south of Gold Fields Ltd.’s Salares Norte, where, this year, a five-million-ounce discovery was made. The second property, Coya, is located only 10 kilometers east of the Kinross La Coipa open pit mine, which has produced over 7.5 million ounces of gold to date.
Rio Loa Project
Initial geophysical studies of the Rio Loa site have exposed highly anomalous ardennite and lead values, a key characteristic of gold mineralization within silicified resistive bodies. The studies have also produced initial findings which are similar to those seen at contiguous mines, such as Salares Norte (operated by Gold Fields), which has over five million ounces in estimated gold deposits.
The potential economics for the site look particularly promising when taking the unit costs at the neighboring Salares Norte mine into account. Gold Fields has estimated that its production AISC (all-in sustainable costs) will approximate $552 per ounce and have forecast a 2.3-year payback period for its initial investment, assuming a $1,300 per ounce gold price.
The Coya site is located within close proximity to one of the richest and largest epithermal gold and silver districts in Chile and is in close proximity to active mining sites, specifically the La Coipa mine owned by Kinross. A study carried out in 2017-2018 on the Coya site of 796 rock chip samples found favorable gold and silver values, in some cases ranking as high as 764 grams/tonne of gold and 719 grams/tonne of silver – values which are near certain indicators of potential gold and silver deposits. The La Coipa mine (Kinross) has produced over 6.9 million ounces of gold to date.
On August 11, 2020, GoldHaven Resources acquired five potential gold projects in the Maricunga Gold Belt of Northern Chile. The Maricunga hosts discoveries within the last 10 years of over 100 million ounces of gold and over 450 million ounces of silver. These newly acquired properties are in close proximity to seven other mines, which possess an estimated aggregate of 81 million ounces of gold in total reserves.
GoldHaven’s five new projects cover a total area of approximately 22,600 hectares, or 226 square kilometers, located in the northern portion of the Maricunga Belt in proximity to the 5 million-ounce gold equivalent Salares Norte project owned by Gold Fields. Gold Fields announced in April 2020 its intention to proceed with the development of Salares Norte at a cost of $860 million, with a $138 million expenditure budgeted for 2020.
The Maricunga Belt extends approximately 150 kilometers north-south and 30 kilometers east-west, straddling the border between Chile and Argentina. This region hosts known mineral resources of more than 100 million ounces of gold, 450 million ounces of silver and 1.3 billion pounds of copper.
The Maricunga project’s opportunity came about as a result of a $150 million initiative launched by the Chilean Economic Development Agency (“CORFO”), with the objective of encouraging exploration and mining prosperity in Chile and strengthening Chile’s position as a world leader in the sector.
As part of CORFO’s program, a total of $15.3 million was given to private equity fund IMT Exploration to evaluate 403 projects, beginning in 2011. This led to a generative program carried out from 2016 to 2019, resulting in 126 potential epithermal targets from which 57 field evaluations were made. Due diligence work followed on 19 of these. Work programs were then conducted, including geological mapping, rock and soil sampling and TerraSpec (PIMA) analyses on geochemical grids for alteration mapping, and, as a result, the five high-priority Maricunga projects were identified. No drilling has been carried out on any of the Maricunga projects.
Securing Financing for Upcoming Operations
In conjunction with its announcement regarding its acquisition of five Chilean mining interests, GoldHaven Resources also detailed plans for a non-brokered private placement of 11.5 million units at a price of $0.35 per unit, for gross proceeds of $4,025,000. Each unit will consist of one share of the company and one warrant, the latter of which can be exercised to acquire an additional share of the company for a period of 18 months from the date of issuance at a price of $0.50 per share. Net proceeds from the offering are intended to be used to fund general expenses, as well as exploration and drilling of its mineral properties.
Gold Prices Hit Record High in 2020
Gold prices have been on a remarkable run in 2020, breaking above $2,000 per ounce for the first time on record. Having begun the year at $1,515 per ounce, the precious metal has seen a huge surge on the back of widespread economic uncertainty stemming from governments’ worldwide propensity to expand the money supply, from the reduction of the value of the U.S. dollar as expressed by the decrease in the U.S. dollar index, and from the very real economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global central banks have carried out 144 interest rate cuts thus far in 2020, reducing rates by a cumulative 5,035 basis points (http://nnw.fm/jzZt0). Meanwhile, the IMF has estimated that global governments have introduced fiscal support measures amounting to over $9 trillion since the start of the pandemic (http://nnw.fm/Or9rI). The resulting weakness in the U.S. dollar and eventual inflationary pressures stemming from these measures has prompted a number of investment banks to boost their near-term outlooks for gold prices, with Bank of America raising its 18-month gold price target to $3,000 per ounce (http://nnw.fm/PQJtc).
David Smith, President, CEO and Director, has been immersed in the mining industry for the last eight years, working in corporate development and finance. Prior to GoldHaven Resources, Smith cofounded a multifaceted real estate development and sales company, which has now been in operation for over 35 years. He also cofounded two successful environment-focused companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Both companies were sold independently and returned a significant profit for shareholders.
Darryl Jones, Chief Financial Officer, is a finance executive and CPA with over 30 years of public company and project buildout experience. Most recently, Jones served as the CFO of Lupaka Gold Corp., retiring in June 2018. Prior to that, Jones serves as CFO of Corriente Resources, which was sold to CRCC-Tongguan in May 2010 for C$680 million.
Patrick Burns, VP Exploration and Director, is a Canadian geologist with over 40 years of experience throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America. He played a direct role in the discovery of the Escondida porphyry copper deposit in Chile and has been involved in publicly traded mining companies, predominantly in Chile, for 35 years.
Marla Ritchie, Corporate Secretary, brings over 25 years of experience in public markets to the GoldHaven team. Throughout this time, she has worked as an administrator and corporate secretary specializing in resource-based exploration companies. Currently, Ritchie is the corporate secretary for several companies, including International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. and Trevali Mining Corp.
Gordon Ellis, Director; has over 50 years’ experience in mining and resource development. A professional engineer and entrepreneur, he has held multiple senior management and director roles with public mining companies, as well as a multi-billion-dollar ETF fund. Ellis holds an MBA in international finance and a Chartered Directors designation.
Scott Dunbar, Director is a professor and head of multiple departments at the University of British Columbia, including mineral extraction and mining innovation, as well as mining engineering. He has been involved in projects around the world in regard to mining exploration, geotechnical engineering and mine design. Dunbar received his PhD in geophysics and civil engineering from Stanford University.
Grey Cloak Tech Inc. (GRCK)
Grey Cloak Tech Inc. (GRCK), through its growing portfolio of wholly owned subsidiaries, is engaged in the proprietary research and development of natural plant-based formulations, sales, and distribution of cardiovascular and neuro products. The company’s focus is to advance its market positions in the broader health industry through the unique assets and operations of its science-based BergaMet North America and Ultimate Brain Nutrients (“UBN”) subsidiaries and to offer better lifestyles through superior health technology.
BergaMet North America
BergaMet NA is engaged in the sale and distribution of a full line of proprietary product formulations derived from the rare Citrus Bergamot SuperFruit™ called “bergamot.” Bergamot is native to Southern Italy and is naturally sourced and uniquely loaded with various antioxidant polyphenols. Thanks to this composition, bergamot supports and promotes overall wellness specific to cholesterol, cardiovascular and metabolic health with no known side effects.
BergaMet NA is the only Citrus Bergamot SuperFruit™ heart health supplement backed by 17 clinical studies. The BergaMet brand supplement boasts the highest quality and concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids available anywhere in the world. It is also the only bergamot supplement approved by the prestigious Accademia del Bergamotto of Italy. BergaMet NA is the only company authorized to manufacture, distribute and sell these products in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Consumers are including the Citrus Bergamot SuperFruit™ in their everyday personal health programs. The clinically proven antioxidant provides benefits to tens of thousands of people daily.
The company’s line of products can be found at www.bergametna.com, through Amazon, other online retailers and in doctors’ offices throughout the United States.
The BergaMet Advantage
BergaMet has been studied in 17 published clinical trials which reported results of lower LDL cholesterol, higher HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, lower blood glucose, increased arterial function, improved liver function and is effective as a complement to statin use.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide, claiming nearly 18 million lives each year accounting for 31% of all global deaths. In the U.S., statins are one of the most commonly prescribed medicines for cardiovascular disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 28% of American women and men over the age of 40 take a statin to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood.
Taking aim at this market for cardiovascular care, BergaMet NA continues to advance the awareness of its medical-grade supplements and separate its formulation from competitors.
BergaMet NA products contain 47% BPF (bergamot polyphenolic fraction), while its closest competitors have only 38%. The company’s increased dosages (600-675mg vs 500mg) and 47% BPF are clinically proven to be more effective in improving heart health and metabolic syndrome.
BergaMet Citrus Bergamot SuperFruit™ supplements:
- Support healthy immune systems with powerful antioxidants and proprietary formulations.
- Reduce cholesterol and support healthy glucose and blood pressure levels.
- Are fully organic, vegan-friendly and dairy, gluten, soy and GMO-free.
- Contain five key unique flavonoids that make up the most powerful 47% BPF (bergamot polyphenolic fraction) in the world, providing superior results compared to their competitors.
- Have been clinically shown to increase arterial elasticity while reducing arterial and muscle inflammation.
Ultimate Brain Nutrients
Grey Cloak’s Ultimate Brain Nutrients (“UBN”) subsidiary is a science-based company that develops unique, plant-based superior health technology neuro-products that improve brain health, including memory, cognition, focus and neuro-energy.
UBN’s KETONOMICS® proprietary formulations – targeting brain activity, focus, headache and cognitive behavior — provide multiple intellectual property license opportunities for monetizing the company’s portfolio.
License opportunities include multiple beverage formats, individual products, proprietary mixtures and other food platforms.
UBN has five unique formulation patents – one issued and four pending – targeting brain activity, focus, headache and cognitive behavior.
The UBN Advantage
UBN’s all-natural, sugar-free and caffeine-free proprietary formulations are the result of 20 years of scientific research and are positioned to provide consumer neuro-products that are natural brain solutions. UBN has filed for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make a Qualified Health Claim for its migraine formulation, tapping into consumer demands for healthy beverages that contribute to brain health, overall well-being and performance.
Over 50 million Americans consume unhealthy energy shots and drinks each day, while the neuro/energy market generates over $10 billion per year in revenue. Within this growing market, UBN is advancing its position to meet rising consumer demand for healthy, science-based options. The company’s KETONOMICS® proprietary formulations have been proven to naturally elevate brain energy and function, including memory, cognition and focus.
UBN’s KETONOMICS® supplementation has also been studied in sports physiology, with specific regard to its potential benefits for competitive performance and endurance.
Grey Cloak Executive Team
Kevin “Duke” Pitts, Director, President and Chief Operating Officer
- Started and built from the ground up two multi-million-dollar businesses, one of which grew into a Top 100 retailers in the U.S.
- Unique management skills led to the development of successful teams for 35 years
- Pioneered direct marketing for a Fortune 200 company, creating a 20% increase in targeted incremental sales
- Founded Einstein’s Hemp, which developed and brought to market one of the only odorless and tasteless water-soluble CBD products in the world
- Developed and implemented digital/guerrilla marketing strategies for public and private companies focused on long-term brand position and acquisition efforts
- Specialized in customer relationship management (CRM) tools for creating the best customer experiences
- Worked in publicly traded industries for 10 years, overseeing up to $20 million in annual marketing budgets
William “Bill” Bossung, Director, Chief Financial Officer
- 35 years of diverse experience in corporate finance, insurance and accounting
- 20 years of experience with IPOs focusing on audits, FINRA and SEC regulations
- Specializes in the formation of capital raising over $100 million, recently raising $12 million for Splash Beverage
- Specializes in upgrading penny stocks companies to the NYSE or Nasdaq
- Involved in 30+ companies transitioning from private to public identities
- Founded several companies, including BCF Technology Inc., which sold to Vertafore; managing partner at Bishop Equity Partners LLC; director at Splash Beverage Group; and director of finance at Chadmoore Wireless, where he licensed channels to Nextel for $162 million
Bill Croyle, Director, Private Investor and Accomplished Senior Executive
- More than 40 years of success in the IT, energy, manufacturing, telecommunications, venture capital and finance industries
- Broad expertise includes negotiating mergers and acquisitions, as well as service and delivery contracts
- Formerly was a founder, owner or executive of EnTX Group; Impact Legacy Partners; FB Oilfield Special Tools; and Western Energy Advisors
Dr. Gerald Haase, Chief Medical Officer
- Clinical professor of surgery at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine
- Actively involved in medical research and clinical trials for 35 years
- Received U-10 grant funding from the National Institutes of Health cooperative group clinical trials program, as well as U.S. Congressional funding for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with the Department of Defense and NASA
- Was chairman of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado; consultant surgeon to the Department of the Army; vice-chairman of the Children’s Cancer Group, a cooperative research consortium of the National Cancer Institute; on the National Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society; a senior member of the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons; and a member of the editorial board of The Annals of Surgical Oncology
- Has published 180 scientific papers and is the inventor or co-inventor of 12 issued U.S. patents for micronutrient and phytonutrient therapy, with five pending patents
- Recipient of clinical research grants and contracts funded at a several million-dollar cumulative level
- Is an editorial reviewer for medical journals and a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Association for Cancer Research, International College of Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, New York Academy of Sciences and American College of Physician Executives
Hemptown USA, headquartered in Central Point, Oregon, is a proven grower of full-spectrum feminized hemp grown using premium seed genetics that contain less than 0.3% THC and exceptionally high cannabinoid (CBD) content of up to 20%. The company's "soil to oil" methodology combines seasoned professionals working in hand-picked agricultural microclimates located in Oregon's famed Emerald Triangle, Kentucky and Colorado.
Hemptown has rights to 1 million rare CBG (cannabigerol) seeds genetically programmed to yield from 15% to 20% full-spectrum non-intoxicating cannabinoids. Hemptown is positioned to be a leading CBG producer in the U.S. in 2019 and beyond.
In 2018, Hemptown's harvest from its Oregon hemp farm was 110,000 pounds of full-spectrum biomass with CBD content hovering around 17%. 2018 harvest revenue is expected to range from $8.1 million to $12.6 million. The company is scaling up operations in 2019 to meet market demand and projects it will reap over 1 million pounds. By 2020, Hemptown projects that potential revenues in the $100 million to $200 million range are possible once additional farming operations are at full strength.
By 2020, Hemptown anticipates it will have more than 2,500 acres in several states dedicated to hemp farming. Expansion plans include increasing in-house extraction capabilities to boost profit margins by providing additional CBD and CBG isolates and distillation services. Due to its anticipated scale, Hemptown is positioning itself as a low-cost producer as it establishes business-to-business partners in the packaged goods space. New products and formulations for the direct-to-consumer market, along with several strategic acquisitions, are also key to Hemptown's growth strategy.
Hemptown plans to expand distribution and growing operations globally through strategic partnerships and development of contracts with leading Fortune 500 brands in European markets. The company intends to grow its IP portfolio by developing water-soluble cannabinoid delivery system. Not to be confused with water-compatibility, water-soluble cannabinoids combine seamlessly with other liquids, have a superior shelf life, and deliver dramatically increased efficacy to the consumer.
Hemptown's first in-house branded product line combines the inspiring strength found in the unbridled nature that surrounds the company's original hemp farm in the Siskiyou Klamath region of Oregon. Siskū is set to redefine the cannabinoid packaged goods space with an elegant look, clean feel and potent, reliable efficacy.
Custom product lines can also be created for any product manufacturer as Hemptown brings GMP and ISO accredited processing facilities online in 2019. Together with Oregon CBD Seeds and Hemptown's product sciences team, Hemptown will be able to create custom, proprietary full-spectrum CBD and CBG oils and pure isolates.
Company Chairman Rod Wolterman founded Hemptown's Oregon operations in 2016. He has extensive experience in the cannabis sector having been active within the space since 1998. Wolterman has also acted as a private equity investor in numerous medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation operations in southern California.
CEO John Cummings has over 20 years of experience in finance, marketing, sales and project management. He led the compliance and special projects efforts for Kings Garden, one of the largest vertically integrated operators in California. Cummings also spent a year in Europe launching the continent's first GMP and ISO-accredited cultivation and manufacturing facility.
Dr. Gordon Chiu is chief science officer for Hemptown. He has more than 15 years of combined domestic and international experience in biomedical, chemical, cosmetic, medical and technology industries. A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a master's degree from Seton Hall University, Chiu is leading Hemptown's cannabinoid research team and is responsible for filing IP patents, specifically in the areas of water-solubility, bioavailability and peptide sequencing.
iClick Interactive Asia Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: ICLK)
iClick Interactive Asia Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: ICLK) is an independent online marketing and enterprise data solutions provider connecting worldwide marketers with audiences in China. Built on cutting-edge technologies, iClick’s proprietary platform possesses omni-channel marketing capabilities and fulfills various marketing objectives in a data-driven and automated manner, helping international and domestic marketers reach their target audiences. Headquartered in Hong Kong, iClick operates in 10 locations worldwide, including Asia and Europe.
iClick aims to become a fully integrated Enterprise and Marketing Cloud Platform in China, providing clients a full consumer-cycle solution. This is facilitated by two pillars’ growth strategy through two business segments: Marketing Solutions and Enterprise Solutions.
Using data and AI-driven technology to help brands efficiently identify, target and acquire the right customers
As the leading programmatic marketing platform in China, iClick’s proprietary platform collects a wealth of data from multiple sources to precisely reach the right audience at the right moment, on the right channel and right device. Cross-screen search solutions capture critical micro-moments when users proactively search for what they need. This multi-dimensional approach to marketing allows iClick to effectively understand internet users and exponentially widen target audiences for its brand clients. Multiple monetization models available in the Marketing Solutions segment allow iClick to serve its clients in several ways, such as audience targeting.
Data-driven marketing is indispensable to marketers targeting specific audiences in China. More than 825 million internet users in China are anonymously profiled on iClick’s platform, which boasts cross-channel and cross-screen capabilities.
Enabling brands to efficiently manage their consumers through online and offline data integration and analysis, increase the repurchase rate, and enhance consumers’ loyalty
iClick’s Enterprise Solutions segment addresses enterprise needs in China, particularly focusing on “smart retail,” an expanding and innovating market involving the combination of online and offline consumers’ behavioral information. Enterprise Solutions support detailed profiling of customers, which facilitates data-driven business strategies, enhances business processes at various levels, and increases operational and marketing efficiency.
Enterprise Solutions leverages iClick’s proprietary platform that incorporates Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn, build and store knowledge, enabling accurate predictions about consumer behavior that ultimately provide marketing solutions derived from the large amount of available data.
Through a strategic partnership with Tencent, iClick’s Enterprise Solutions presents strong recurring revenue streams with tremendous opportunities to upsell multi-national corporations (MNCs). Tencent’s proprietary API connection enables brands to build 360-degree consumer profiles based on the collection and integration of purchased behavioral information from online and offline touchpoints, including WeChat Mini Programs, WeChat Payment, WeChat Work and more.
As iClick continues to provide integrated marketing and smart retail solutions targeting Chinese consumers, the company believes Enterprise Solutions has strong long-term growth potential and will become a major gross margin contributor in the future.
In 2019, iClick established various agreements and partnerships with a number of leading southeast and northeast Asian companies for regional diversification and in 2020 is focused on continuing to develop additional partnerships and new business models globally. Many of the world’s top companies are leveraging iClick’s proprietary data platform to precisely identify and reach out to core target audience groups in China.
The company’s partnerships include:
- A tri-partnership with BTG WELINK, an online retail services arm of Beijing Tourism Group (“BTG”), and Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s leading provider of internet value added services. As part of this partnership, iClick applies its upgraded solutions to build a private DSP (Demand Side Platform) system for BTG. Using Tencent’s big data advertising platform, iClick can assist BTG to develop precision marketing campaigns.
- An Advertising Agency Authorization Certificate from Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), under which iClick is designated the authorized agency for native advertising of Baidu’s news feed ads. Native advertising is a consumer-friendly, non-disruptive advertising format that has gained rapid popularity among advertisers in recent years. Native advertising and creative marketing content have become a more effective marketing method among the Chinese young consumers. In 2019, the native advertising sector was estimated to have an around 53.5% share of the online advertising revenue, according to Statista.
- A joint-venture partnership with VGI Global Media Plc (VGI.BKK), Thailand’s No. 1 online to offline (O2O) solutions provider across advertising, payment and logistics platforms, which enables brands in Southeast Asia to capture the multi-billion-dollar Chinese consumer market through a range of technology-driven marketing solutions.
Case Study: Armani Hotel Dubai
Dubai has been gearing up to welcome the growing wave of Chinese visitors. Chinese nationals are eligible for a 30-day visa-on-arrival into the UAE, which gives Chinese travelers tremendous convenience. In light of this, Armani Hotel Dubai set the objective to increase its sales in this market.
The challenge: What Aarmani Hotel Dubai lacked in executing this goal was insightful understanding of Chinese travelers in particular the demographics that were likely to be attracted to the hotel. Challenged by the huge differences in the business practice, unique culture and language barrier in running digital campaigns in China, Armani Hotel Dubai turned to iClick’s know-how and expertise to guide its campaign to success and meet its sales goal.
The solution: iClick tailored an optimal solution for the hotel to increase brand awareness and booking rate from China – which is the key market for the hotel – and successfully assisted Armani Hotel Dubai in reaching its target Chinese audiences by using China’s most popular mobile and internet sites, including WeChat and Weibo, to improve reach and booking potential.
The results: Due to iClick’s unrivaled technological and execution strengths, Armani Hotel Dubai’s ads were delivered in an omnichannel manner, raising brand awareness and garnering interest between Chinese consumers. Subsequently, Armani Hotel Dubai saw a surge in conversion rate.
During the campaign, the Armani Hotel Dubai brand was connected with 87% of Chinese mobile users.
iClick, a Deloitte Technology Fast50, has received multiple industry awards from the international marketing community. The company is committed to helping clients access digital China with its omni-channel, data-driven marketing solutions that deliver uniquely sharpened marketing capabilities and outstanding advertising results.
Most recently, iClick subsidiary OptAim (Beijing) Information Technology Co., Ltd was recognized by Tencent Ads as a 2019 Gold Service Provider. Tencent Ads also named OptAim the winner of three major annual awards for the second half of 2019: “Outstanding Contribution of the Year,” “Best Technology & Data Application Award,” and “Best Branding Awards.”
In November 2019, company co-founder and CEO Sammy Hsieh was chosen as the winner of the “EY Entrepreneur of The Year China 2019 Award in Technology Category,” an award recognizing his entrepreneurial acumen, innovative spirit and strong leadership. As one of the world’s most prestigious business accolades, the “EY Entrepreneur of The Year” awards program honors those who accomplish success by combining ability with opportunity, and inspire others with great vision, leadership and outstanding achievement.
iClick won the Annual Influential Platform Award and the Innovation Golden Award in Marketing at the Creative Award 2019, as well as the Best Tourism Marketing Agency. The company was also the recipient of the “Best Brand and Performance Marketing Award” at the Performance Marketing Ecosystem Summit 2018 hosted by the Advertising & Marketing Service, a division of Tencent Holdings Limited.
The company in 2018 was also recognized as “Platinum Service Partner of Tencent Social Ads” at the Tencent Key Accounts Mid-Year Summit held in Beijing. The mobile division of iClick, Optaim, received the same award beginning in 2016. Optaim was also the “Best DSP Partner” and “Key Account Data Partner” of Tencent, making it the only player in China with such unique and deep level of cooperation with Tencent Social Ads.
Sammy Wing Hong Hsieh, chairman of the board and co-founder, was CEO from 2009 to 2019. Prior to co-founding iClick, Hsieh held senior positions in several prominent technology companies. He was general manager for Asia Pacific at Efficient Frontier (now an Adobe company), a leading digital performance marketing company, and was director of Search Marketing at Yahoo Hong Kong from 2000-2008. Hsieh received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jian Tang, director, CEO and co-founder, has 20 years of experience in digital advertising and is well-known in China for his expertise in advertising technologies and big data. In 2012, he founded OptAim, which was acquired by iClick in 2015, and has served key research, engineering and management roles at Yahoo’s global research and development center. Tang received his doctorate in computer engineering from Tsinghua University and was named by Campaign Asia as one of the leaders in its Digital A-List in 2016.
Terence Chi Wai Li, chief financial officer, has 15 years of experience in financial management, investment and business operations. He has served in management roles and advisory capacities at several start-ups, in addition to financial management and fundraising roles. He previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, specializing in M&A due diligence and cross border tax and deal structuring projects. Li received an MBA from Oxford University’s Said Business School. He is a Fellow Member of ACCA, a Member of HKICPA, and a Chartered Financial Analyst.
InsuraGuest Technologies, Inc. (TSX.V: ISGI)
InsuraGuest Technologies, Inc. (TSX.V: ISGI) is a leading global SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) company leveraging its proprietary, flagship insurtech (insurance + technology) software, InsuraGuest, which is integrated with the property management systems of hotels and vacation rentals to deliver custom Hospitality Liability coverages.
InsuraGuest’s Hospitality Liability coverages are purchased by hotels and vacation rental properties, which can address claims from guests and their room occupants. The combination of the integrated software and customized insurance provides the property liability coverages the guests benefit from in the event a loss is incurred during their stay.
The Hospitality Liability policy is offered through integration of InsuraGuest’s API with the clients’ property management systems. InsuraGuest’s platform is currently capable of integrating with approximately 71 different hotel and vacation rental property management systems, giving it access to millions of rooms worldwide.
InsuraGuest continues to pursue expansion opportunities in the United States, and has plans to expand to its distribution platform and Hospitality Liability coverages to the United Kingdom and Europe regions by third quarter 2020, as well as expansion into Asia by the end of 2020.
Protection that Enhances the Guest’s Experience
InsuraGuest’s Hospitality Liability coverages add a layer of protection for the property on a primary basis, should a guest experience an accident or theft while staying at an InsuraGuest member hotel or vacation rental property.
The U.S. hotel industry generated more than $218 billion in annual revenues in 2018, an increase of $10 billion from the previous year, according to STR’s 2019 HOST Almanac. The European market is more than double the size of the U.S. market. According to Oxford Economics, there were 6.4 billion nights stayed in the world, with 2.6 billion hotel nights stayed in Asia, 2.8 billion nights stayed in Europe, and 1.1 billion stayed nights in the United States. Additionally, $100 billion was spent on vacation rentals in the United States, where there approximately 4.5 million second homes are being managed by a third-party rental company.
With distribution in Europe and the United States, InsuraGuest’s combined demographics will total 3.9 billion nights stayed, and will more than double its vacation rental opportunities.
Within this burgeoning, high-demand industry is risk of liability to guest injury. For example, gym injuries are among the top five most common hotel accidents. Without proper hedges in place, the property may be liable in a personal injury claim or lawsuit that are not the properties fault.
Though the potential for accidents, slip and falls and mishaps can be widespread, it can be covered under the InsuraGuest Hospitality Liability policy to provide guests a worry-free and enjoyable stay that potentially increases loyalty for the property.
- Targeting hotels and vacation rentals, a multi-billion-dollar industry
- Providing the first line of defense in case of accident, loss or death
- Expanding distribution reach with footing in European hotel and vacation rental markets
- Expansion into Asia by 2020
Douglas Anderson, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Douglas Anderson has been a businessman in the real estate industry for nearly 30 years. His business expertise includes master planning and development implementation for larger-scale resorts, business parks and commercial developments across the USA and two provinces in Canada. His business endeavors include the founding of the 7th larger private equity fund in America focusing on multifamily and senior care (ROC Fund/Bridge IPG Fund). He serves as chairman/founder of a golf and winter sports ski holding company with operations in four major east coast markets and British Columbia, Canada.
Anderson earned a Bachelor of Science in consumer studies with an emphasis in architecture as an undergraduate at the University of Utah. He subsequently earned his MBA. He also attended a three-year OPM Program a postgraduate business education at Harvard Business School in Boston. Anderson is an avid skier and outdoor enthusiast.
Logan Anderson, CFO & Director
Logan Anderson (bachelor’s degree in communications, accounting and economics) holds the designation of ACA with the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. He began his career as an associate chartered accountant in New Zealand and then Canada. This was followed by his position as controller of a management services company which was responsible for the management of numerous private and publicly traded companies. Since 1993, Anderson has served as president of Amteck Financial Corp. (and its predecessors), a private financial consulting services company servicing both private and public companies. He is a former director of 3D Systems, Inc. (NYSE: DDD), and was formerly a founder, officer, and director of Worldbid.com. Anderson has also been involved in raising funds for numerous private and public companies in all stages of their development and has been an officer and director for numerous public and private companies over the past 40 years.
Charles James Cayias, President & Director
Charles James Cayias is also the president and owner of Charles James Cayias Insurance Inc. He is a third-generation insurance professional whose creativity and artistic vision have enabled him to establish a full-service agency combined with the personal service each client deserves. His outstanding people skills, honesty, integrity and fairness are evident by his loyal and growing clientele, the majority of which are referrals who become long-time customers and friends. Cayias began his insurance career in the early 1970s and has been licensed since 1977. He is licensed in all 50 states and specializes in niche programs. He has extensive expertise in all aspects of the insurance industry including commercial insurance, employee benefits, workers’ compensation, professional liability, risk management and bonding.
Tony Sansone, COO & VP of Finance
Tony Sansone has over 30 years of financial, operations and business development experience which includes serving as CFO in the health care, foodservice distribution, manufacturing and technology sectors, including public company experience. He has held senior finance positions in the banking, telecommunications, medical products, and food & drug retailer industries, closing over $430 million of private debt, equity and line of credit financings and over $350 million of a merger, acquisitions, real estate and state incentive transactions, including due diligence, negotiations, closing, and integration. Sansone coordinated and was the executive sponsor for four ERP implementations and multiple other best-in-class software & technology solutions. He received his MBA from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Utah State University. Sansone also currently serves as president-elect of the Utah Chapter of Financial Executives International and a past president and current member of the board of trustees for Catholic Community Services of Utah. He is the proud father of three children.
Christopher J. Panos, Vice President & Director
Christopher J. Panos is a highly competitive sales professional with over 15 years of territory manager sales experience and an award-winning record of achievements. He is exceptionally well organized with a proven work history that demonstrates self-discipline, superb communication skills, and the initiative to achieve both personal and corporate goals. Panos is successful in building relationships with a large network of industry professionals in order to grow and maintain new and existing business, exceed new sales objectives and provide in-depth product training to authorized dealers and sales personnel.
Alexander Walker III ESQ, Corporate Counsel & Director
Alexander Walker III ESQ has served as director of the company since September of 2018 and as counsel to the company since July of 2018. Walker is an attorney and has been a member of the Utah Bar Association since 1987 and a member of the Nevada State Bar since 2003. His practice has involved general business litigation, in both federal and state courts, and transactional work, including securities offerings and registration, corporate formation and periodic reporting compliance. Walker has provided legal services to emerging businesses throughout his carrier and at times has served as an officer and board member as well as legal counsel public companies. His duties as legal counsel for a public company engaged in the business of ownership and operation of coal-producing properties in the western United States included oversight of corporate-related legal matters including securities reporting, corporate compliance, federal and state mining regulation, and employment law oversight. He also has served as the chair of the Mining Committee of the Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section of the Utah State Bar, a member of the board of directors of the South East Utah Energy Producers Association, the co-chair of the board of the Western Energy Training Center, a board member of the Utah Supreme Court Committee to Review the ABA Recommendations Regarding the Office of Professional Conduct, and a board member of the University of Utah Crimson Club.
Jennifer Epperson, Vice President of Sales
Jennifer Epperson has over 20 years of B2B sales experience with exceptional success history. She has grown and developed sales territories across multiple industries. Her ability to find and develop strategic relationships has given her top-level performance throughout her career. Epperson’s passion and knowledge provide an inherent ability to connect and retain relationships for the growth of the company. Throughout her professional career, she has achieved peak performance sales results and awards year after year. She captures the vision of the company and drives it forward with enthusiasm and expertise. Her commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience has been the key to her success.
Richard Matthews, Interim Financial Controller
Richard Matthews joined the InsuraGuest team in March 2019 as the interim financial controller. Leading the Finance and Audit team, Matthews is responsible for the delivery of financial services such as accounting, treasury, reporting, budgeting and insurance management, in accordance with legislative requirements and organizational policies and strategies. He has over 30 years of experience in providing professional services across a broad range of finance areas including compliance, business process, audit, and financial reporting. He holds a degree in accounting from the University of Utah and is a licensed CPA in the state of Utah.
Roger Bloss, Corporate Consultant & Board Advisor
Roger Bloss joined InsuraGuest in August of 2019 to advise the company and its board on hotel transactions, contributing his knowledge from more than 40 years in the hospitality industry. Bloss previously served in executive positions with several major hotel franchise companies and in 1996 founded Vantage Hospitality Group hotel brands. Under his leadership, Vantage became a Top 10 global hotel company and made the Inc. 500/5000 list of Americas’ fastest-growing private companies for eight straight years. Bloss was named Lodging Magazine’s “Innovator of the Year” in 2006 and 2010, and in 2009 earned a spot on HSMAI’s “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.” Bloss joined Red Lion Hotels Corporation (RLHC) in September 2016 in conjunction with the acquisition of Vantage.
Jim Kilduff, Board Advisor
James “Jim” C. Kilduff has nearly 40 years of experience in the insurance and risk management sectors. He is a dynamic and energetic team leader and builder with extensive experience in the changes affecting the insurance business through Gas, alternative distribution, insurtechs and program business. His skillset includes experience as chief insurance officer with Outdoorsy Insurance Group, CEO with Harbor Hill Solutions Inc., and senior vice president and chief marketing officer with State National Insurance Companies. His career has spanned MGA creation and management, insurance company management, business development and underwriting, primary insurance and reinsurance.
Don Archibald, Board Advisor
Don Archibald brings to InsuraGuest’s advisory board 54 years of experience as an insurance agent. Archibald is the founder and former owner of Archibald Clarke and Defieux (ACD Insurance), as well as the co-founder and former equity partner of Sussex Insurance, and an agent with Sussex since 2014.
ISW Holdings (ISWH)
ISW Holdings (ISWH) is a brand management portfolio company with diverse partnerships that focus on growing businesses in multiple sectors, including crypto mining, renewable energy, home health care for the chronically ill, wellness and restoration, and the adult beverage industry, as well as early-stage operations in supply chain and logistics management. ISW Holdings operates as the nexus between its partnerships and their essential services for end users.
The company’s core mission is to enhance these sectors by implementing innovative services and products ready to meet the demands of a changing world. To that end, ISW Holdings leverages its strategic expertise, resources, and innovative software to establish market-leading companies and partnerships, which ensure their success in their chosen industries. This enables the company to return maximum shareholder value with its focus always on its partnerships’ various sector volatility.
Positioned to create industry leaders, the company’s process entails strategic development and aggressive early growth of its partner brands to establish them as profitable and viable. ISW Holdings’ method is to nurture emerging partner brands through the essential stages of market development (from conceptualization to distribution) in sectors relevant to today’s marketplace. In addition, the company has a holistic approach to business development, with every strategy being delivered person-to-person from developers to end users.
The company’s goal is to turn its target audience into loyal consumers by ensuring transparency and a clear understanding of its products and services, thus creating visibility, credibility, and trust.
ISW Holdings’ Innovative Approach
ISW Holdings has diversified positions in its partnerships across technology, health care, wellness, renewable energy, and the adult beverage sectors. The company seek to provide industry leading modern solutions to its clients and sound business practices to its partners. This is accomplished through an early growth platform that cultivates its partnerships with the necessary resources and expertise to expand exponentially.
ISW Holdings’ Opportunity
The company’s opportunity is considerable. In the ever-changing high demand global marketplace, the need for timely innovation is critical. ISW Holdings’ portfolio brand management and creative thinking has allowed the company to develop and deploy enterprises that meet the needs of 21st century consumers. Through a fully vetted system of scalability, it is able to meet consumer demands with turn-key solutions.
Portfolio of Partnerships and Businesses
ISW Holdings’ diverse portfolio reflects the growing demand for essential services in a dynamic modern operational landscape. With partnerships that incorporate a depth of experience and industry insight, ISW Holdings has established itself as a portfolio company in technology, home health care, and wellness, with a focus on reshaping industry benchmarks.
ISW Holdings operates a joint venture with Bit5ive, a global leader in cryptocurrency mining. As an official distribution partner of Bitmain (the industry’s leading fabless manufacturer of computing chips and distributor of Antminers to more than 30 countries in Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean), Bit5ive is quickly becoming one of the largest U.S.-based companies in the cryptocurrency mining and bitcoin farm sectors of the market.
Valued at $293.66 million in 2019, the bitcoin technology market is expected to reach $477 million by 2025, according to Mordor Intelligence. The joint-venture agreement enables ISW Holdings to collaborate with the experienced team at Bit5ive to innovate the infrastructure needed to run profitable and efficient crypto mining projects.
With a growing awareness of the importance of renewable energy worldwide, ISW Holdings has partnered with Proceso, LLC to create high-density processing and mobile data centers powered by renewable energy. These innovations will allow Proceso to offer lower-cost and diverse services to its clients, including hosting and colocation services to growing sectors such as the gaming industry and cryptocurrency mining – two fields with a typically high energy demand.
Because crypto mining companies mostly operate outside of the United States with higher asset security risks, Proceso will assist these entities in securing their investments by providing a local source of power and infrastructure development. This is aimed at helping to reduce power consumption while creating secure crypto mining data centers in the U.S. For the gaming industry, Proceso is ready to tackle one of its biggest problems, latency, by building next-level infrastructure in key locations.
PHH – Home Health
PHH Paradigm Home Health answers the growing need for homecare services in a world where health care delivery is changing and an increasingly large aging community is looking for efficient and effective ways of accessing health care. PHH aims to be at the forefront of this change by offering quality care services infused with new emerging technologies.
ISW Holdings’ home health division is currently developing a pilot for on-demand health care, which consists of a dedicated, stable platform for different medical services. The platform will offer greater freedom of choice and transparency by allowing users to find outpatient clinics in their vicinities, compare costs, and pick the most suitable choices. PHH is also developing specialized technology and tools to support health care services outside of the bounds of specialized facilities by focusing on homecare facilities. This can not only shift the burden from hospitals and clinics, but also streamline specific parts of the health care process to enhance service and product distribution.
ISW Holdings’ logistics and supply chain management division was designed with the core goal of increasing supply chain efficiency as one of the key aspects of successfully growing any business. The VOLUM project’s focus is on identifying and then implementing advanced supply chain management strategies and methods that will enable ISW Holdings’ partner companies to scale and grow exponentially. To achieve this goal, the company develops and offers reliable systems and solutions that create innovative technologies and unmanned system operations for overall higher cost-effectiveness.
In the wellness sector, ISW Holdings has opted for a two-pronged approach to create effective, technologically advanced products, as well as developing innovative ways to educate customers about these products. To this end, ISW Holdings has partnered with BioPulse to achieve state-of-the-art research and development and production capabilities, as well as a direct route to market. The company plans to design and launch up to five unique brands in the wellness and restoration sector in 2020.
ISW Holdings is committed to developing product and service innovation in the consumer spirits and adult beverage industry, which faces increasingly strict regulations but growing demand. The company has been a key innovator in the industry for 25 years, having grown successful luxury brands such as Besado Tequila and others. By leveraging its expertise, ISW Holdings can help companies in the adult beverage industry increase production, streamline their supply chains, implement better processes, innovate their marketing strategies, expand into new areas, and build sustainable relationships with partners and customers.
Terry Williams, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Terry Williams brings to the company more than 30 years of experience in accounting and information systems, logistics, insurance, and transportation. With a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in accounting and management information systems, Williams amassed considerable corporate experience at United Parcel Service, where he took several logistical roles, including controller, where he managed more than 2,000 employees and a budget of more than $10 billion.
Williams also serves as president of Airwave Transportation and logistics and chief financial officer of AVI Insurance Caribbean, and he has worked in over 37 domestic and international airports. In 2013, he received the National Airport Minority Advisory Council Award for mastering skills in the aviation industry.
Alonzo Pierce, Chairman
Alonzo Pierce is chairman of ISW Holdings and brings a wealth of business development and wealth management experience to the ISW team. He has spent the past 20 years building recognizable brands in multiple industry sectors. He has launched enterprises in life-styled brands which were delivered to high-profile, high-net worth families and individuals. He has worked in the adult beverage industry, establishing a formidable background in marketing and brand creation. Pierce has a B.A. from Baylor University and has received multiple awards in the adult beverage industry, including ‘Outstanding Sales Performance in the Southern Region’ for Sapphire Brands, including selling the world’s only black vodka. He served as regional director for Sapphire Brands, covering the Southwest and Southeast regions. Pierce also served as a national liaison to a Super-Regional Bank’s private wealth division. In addition to his for-profit endeavors, Pierce has served on multiple charitable boards, sourcing funding for JRA, food insecure families and housing insecure families.
Kristina Mahoney-Brown, Secretary, Treasurer, Director
Kristina Mahoney-Brown is secretary and treasurer as well as director of ISW Holdings. With more than 20 years of experience providing tax and financial consulting to real estate companies, as well as investors, developers and construction companies, Mahoney-Brown has gained solid business expertise and market knowledge and prides herself on staying abreast of the latest industry trends. Her professionalism, impeccable work ethic and advanced marketing strategies have earned her the nickname ‘The Tax Diva’. Mahoney-Brown has a Bachelor’s in accounting, a Master’s in taxation and a Master’s in business administration, specializing in personal financial planning.
Kaival Brands Innovations Group Inc. (OTCQB: KAVL)
Kaival Brands Innovations Group Inc. (OTCQB: KAVL) is focused on growing and incubating innovative and profitable products into mature, dominant brands. It aims to develop internally, acquire or exclusively distribute these products, helping them grow into market-share leaders by providing superior quality that is recognizable in their individual industries.
Formerly known as Quick Start Holdings Inc., the company changed its name to Kaival Brands Innovations Group Inc. (also known as Kaival Brands) in July 2019. Headquartered in Grant, Florida, the company commenced business operations on March 9, 2020.
Bidi™ Stick – Revolutionizing the Vaping Experience
On March 9, 2020, Kaival Brands entered into a partnership with Bidi Vapor LLC. The latter granted Kaival Brands exclusive global distribution rights for the innovative Bidi™ Stick.
Bidi™ Stick is a completely self-contained disposable product that is tamper-proof and recyclable. The innovative product is made from high-quality components and equipped with a long-lasting battery and class A nicotine. Its product engineering also includes a sensitivity control system, along with a proven mechanism designed to help identify and eliminate counterfeit products.
Available in 11 flavors, the Bidi™ Stick offers a premium vaping experience for adult consumers only. From its packaging design to its marketing strategies, Bidi Vapor makes sure that everything is compliant with government regulations.
On March 31, 2020, Kaival Brands partnered with QuikfillRx Digital as a digital service provider to help promote and commercialize the Bidi™ Stick. As a direct result of the partnership, Kaival Brands received back-to-back orders for the vaping device, totaling approximately $135,000, from sizable national convenience chains.
On September 8, 2020, the company announced that Bidi Vapor had submitted its Premarket Tobacco Product application (PMTA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. In total, over 285,000 pages of research, studies and surveys were submitted to support the application of Bidi™ Stick’s 11 variants.
“We are confident that, upon review, the FDA will authorize Bidi Vapor’s Bidi™ Stick for continued marketing in the United States,” Niraj Patel, President and CEO of Kaival Brands, stated in a news release (http://nnw.fm/unAyG).
Bidi Vapor is an industry leader in recycling – a position that was furthered through the creation of the Bidi Cares Initiative. The program encourages users to recycle their used Bidi™ Sticks instead of trashing them. As motivation, Bidi Vapor offers a free Bidi™ Stick for every 10 used devices recycled by a consumer. Kaival Brands is the exclusive recycling provider for the initiative.
Partnership Impact and Market Outlook
Bidi Vapor is a related party to Kaival Brands, as it is owned by Kaival Brands CEO Nirajkumar Patel. Patel is also the majority stockholder of Kaival Brands, placing both entities under common control.
The partnership has already had a positive impact on Kaival Brands, helping the company expedite growth, as evidenced by its Q2 financial results. According to Kaival Brands’ consolidated fiscal results for the quarter that ended on April 30, 2020, its revenues grew to approximately $22.5 million from no revenue in the same quarter of 2019. The company also scored a gross profit of $4.2 million for the three-month period. Net income was reported at $2.8 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of about $4,000 in the second quarter of 2019. The company ended the second quarter of 2020 with a cash balance of $2 million (http://nnw.fm/44sq4).
The positive results are primarily an effect of Bidi™ Stick distribution amid the growing worldwide demand for high-quality vape products, as Patel explained in a news release. “Our focus now is to continue to increase revenues by increasing Bidi Vapor’s market share in the vaping industry,” he added.
Internationally, Kaival Brands has already taken steps to expand distribution of the Bidi™ Stick into Guam, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
To this end, the company has set up a market engagement and sales force to reach a higher volume of retail and wholesale customers. It also created a dedicated customer support team to provide high-quality service and an enhanced customer experience.
Kaival Brands is dedicated to developing innovative and viable options for adults who use tobacco and vape products and want a premium experience. The company wants to set higher standards to transform perceptions and elevate consumer experience in the vape and CBD industries, with a goal of increasing market share in the ever-growing vaping industry. In 2019, the reported global market for the vaping industry alone was $12.4 billion. These forecasts indicate a potential CAGR of 23.8% through 2027.
Cancellation of 300 Million Shares of Common Stock
In August 2020, the company canceled 300 million shares of common stock, marking a 52.1 percent reduction in its issued and outstanding shares of common stock (http://nnw.fm/W7s9T). Currently, the company’s outstanding common shares total 277,282,630. The cancelation was done in exchange for three million shares of Series A Preferred Stock. The Series A Preferred Stock cannot be converted before November 2023, barring any event that may trigger early conversion.
According to Patel, this move will benefit all shareholders and help maintain stability of the market pricing of remaining common stock. The overall goal is to increase value for long-term investors.
Nirajkumar Patel is the CEO, CFO, President, Treasurer and Director of Kaival Brands and owner of Bidi Vapor LLC. In 2004, Patel received a Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences from AISSMS College of Pharmacy in Prune, India. He moved to the United States in 2005, and he continued his education at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 2009 with a master’s degree in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry. He currently holds a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification.
Eric Mosser is the COO, Secretary and Director of Kaival Brands. Mosser attended Arizona State University, where he studied business management. In 2004, he graduated from Rio Salado College with an associate degree in applied science in computer technology.
Kingman Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: KGS)
Kingman Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: KGS), formerly Astorius Resources Ltd., is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of gold and silver properties in North America. The Canada-based company is focused on sourcing and developing high-quality properties in favorable mining locations to advance its diverse portfolio of low-cost, lifelong assets.
The Company maintains the following projects:
The Mohave Project: Located in the Music Mountains in Mohave County, Arizona. Approximately 35 miles from the town of Kingman, the property consists of 20 lode claims, including the historic Rosebud Mine. The Company has entered into an option agreement to earn 100% over four years. According to historic mappings of the mine, probable ore is 15,560 tons. Possible (inferred) ore is comprised of 176,000 tons, and additional possible (inferred) ore totals slightly over 1,100,000 tons. The total contained gold ounces for all categories is estimated at 664,000 ounces, and contained silver is estimated at 2,600,000 ounces. The Company has recently completed two underground reconnaissance and sampling programs and is in the process of verifying previous resource estimates.
The Cadillac East Property: Located approximately 55 kilometers east of Val d’Or, a hub for exploration and mining activities in the Canadian province of Quebec. The Company acquired a 100% interest in the property from an arm’s length vendor. Cadillac East Property consists of 12 claims, and the Company has an option agreement to earn 100% over three years. Having been the subject of numerous geophysical and geological surveys, the Cadillac East Property has been explored and surveyed by numerous companies as well as by the Quebec government. Exploration work done in 2017 by Exploration Facilitation Unlimited Inc. revealed multiple potential targets for future investigation, as results from the soil program identified value in gold, silver, copper, zinc and nickel.
Kingman Minerals is focused on enhancing shareholder value as it continues exploring potential assets and acquiring strategic gold targets. The company recently commissioned mining consulting services company Burgex Mining Consultants Inc. to complete two underground gold exploration programs in the historic Rosebud Mine. Burgex specializes in mineral exploration, mining claim staking, landman services, mining consulting, and the access and documentation of abandoned mine sites throughout the western United States and the world. Burgex’s founders have been active in the industry since 2007 and have identified, secured and consulted on hundreds of thousands of acres of mineral properties spanning a wide range of mineral commodities with billions of dollars’ worth of resources and reserves. The Burgex team has been featured in Forbes Magazine as well as on the Discovery Channel and other outlets. Burgex is at the vanguard of industry advancements in safely accessing difficult vertical abandoned mine workings and continues to pioneer new mineral exploration methods with strategic partners throughout the United States and the world.
Gold’s Predicted Rise
The value of gold is currently on an upward climb due to COVID-19’s upending of the global economy, causing governments to expand their balance sheets. In 2019, as a result of the housing and financial crisis, gold saw its best performance since 2010 — increasing as much as 20% and hitting a top price of $1,549 per ounce in September of that year. Analysts predict its price will continue to climb due to strong buying by central banks, a weakening of the U.S. dollar, and increasing political tensions. A recent Wolfe Research report predicted gold would hit an all-time high, referencing an ounce of gold that commanded a $1,515 asking price. As the value of the U.S. dollar weakens, the demand for gold is inversely rising. Known as a safe-haven asset, gold tends to see increased levels of demand during times of consumer fear or recession.
Sandy MacDougall – Chairman and Director
An economics graduate from the University of British Columbia, Sandy MacDougall brings 30+ years of experience in the investment banking and finance industry to KGS. He was instrumental in the acquisition, development and production of gold at the Alto el Toro mine near Ibaguel, Columbia. As a former investment advisor at Canaccord Capital Corp., MacDougall was a key player in multiple significant financings in Canada as well as abroad, working with a wide range of companies. His experience has afforded him critical exposure to precious and base metal projects throughout North and South America, and he has served as chairman of the board since 2016.
Arthur Brown – President and Director
With 36 years of business experience and service to the boards of eight other companies in sectors ranging from technology to oil, gas and mineral exploration, Arthur Brown adds substantial knowledge in corporate structure and development as well as financings and venture capital to the KGS team.
Cyrus Driver – Independent Director
Cyrus Driver was a founding partner in the firm of Driver Anderson from its inception in 1982 and is a chartered accountant as well as a retired partner in the firm of Davidson and Company LLP. Aside from providing general public accounting services to a diverse range of clients, his specialty is servicing TSX Venture-listed companies and members of the brokerage community. With expert knowledge of the securities industry and its regulations, Driver lends valuable advice to his clients regarding finance, taxation and other accounting-related matters. He currently serves as director and chief financial officer of several TSX-V-listed companies.
Dr. Peter Born – Director and Technical Specialist
A professional geologist registered with the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario and a fellow of the Geological Association of Canada, Dr. Peter Born brings 30+ years of experience in exploration and mining to the company. With prior roles as a senior geologist with Western Mining Corporation, he is currently working with RPS Energy Canada Ltd. on natural gas plays related to high-temperature dolomites and sedimentary zinc deposits (MVT) within the Appalachian Basin in the United States. Dr. Born holds a Ph.D. in earth sciences and has expertise in Precambrian sedimentary geology, basin analysis, sedimentology, stratigraphy and sedimentary ore deposits.
Knightscope, Inc., founded in 2013 and based in Mountain View, California, is a leader in the development of autonomous security capabilities and are on target to disrupt the $500 billion security industry. Knightscope’s technology uniquely combines self-driving technology, robotics and artificial intelligence.
Knightscope designs and builds Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) that provide 24/7/365 security to the places you live, work, visit and study. The company’s client list covers public institutions and commercial business operations, including ten Fortune 1000 companies to date. These ASRs have been proven to enhance safety at hospitals, logistics facilities, manufacturing plants, schools and corporations. ASRs act as highly cost-effective complementary systems to traditional security and law enforcement officials, providing an additional advantage by continuing to offer uninterrupted patrolling capabilities across the country, despite the pandemic (note: robots are immune).
The company’s ASRs have assisted in the arrest of suspects involved in crimes ranging from armed robbery to hit-and-runs. Their machine-embedded thermal scanning capability even aided in preventing the breakout of a major fire.
The company has achieved several milestones since its creation in 2013, including:
- Establishing itself in a 15,000-square-foot facility located in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where Knightscope designs, engineers and builds its technology;
- Operating for more than one million hours in the field and securing contracts across five time zones;
- Navigating through the global pandemic without interruption by continuing to operate on a daily basis across the nation and supporting clients classified as essential services; and
- Continuing its hiring processes despite the current societal and economic disruption.
With more than 10,000 investors and over $40 million raised since inception, Knightscope is poised to be an industry leader in the future of public safety and security.
The company is presently in the process of raising up to $50 million in growth capital as it prepares for a potential public listing. Knightscope has reserved ticker symbol ‘KSCP’ with Nasdaq.
Investors can buy shares exclusively through the company’s managing broker-dealer, StartEngine (http://nnw.fm/l9GLX) until July 20, 2020. Concurrent with this live offering and contingent upon various factors, including raising a sufficient amount of funds and meeting applicable listing standards, the company intends to begin preparation of an S-1 format Form 1-A and Nasdaq Capital Market application in anticipation of a possible public listing of the stock at the conclusion of the Regulation A+ offering.
Company Mission – The Greater Good
Knightscope’s long-term vision has an eye on the greater good. The company’s mission is to make the United States of America the safest nation in the world while supporting millions of law enforcement and security professionals across the country.
Crime has a negative economic impact in excess of $1 trillion annually. As crime is reduced, positive impacts will likely be realized across several aspects of society, including housing, financial markets, insurance, municipal budgets, local business and safety in general.
Knightscope CEO William Santana Li was recently interviewed by Kevin O’Leary, more commonly known as Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful. When asked to explain how the benefits provided by the ASRs outrank a human doing the same job, Li said, “First, just the simple presence of a physical deterrent causes criminal behavior to change. Second, the machines are self-driving cars that patrol all around and recharge themselves. They also generate 90 terabytes of data per year. No human would ever be able to process that. The robots are intended to be eyes and ears for the humans, not a one to one replacement.”
The Knightscope solution to reduce crime combines the physical presence of ASRs, sometimes referred to as proprietary Autonomous Data Machines, with real-time onsite data collection and analysis. The ASRs are fitted with eye-level 360° cameras, thermal scanning, public address announcements and various other features that work in tandem with humans to provide law enforcement officers and security guards unprecedented situational awareness.
Those 90 terabytes of data are then formatted in a useable way, so law enforcement can leverage that information and execute their responsibilities more effectively.
Public Safety Innovation
The company’s recurring revenue business model is set up to mimic the recurring societal problem of crime, and it takes into consideration the fact that innovation in the security and public safety industry has been stagnant for decades. Because the traditional practices of the sector have remained unchanged for years, automation has potential to drive substantial cost savings – and significant improvement in capabilities.
Human security guards are one of both the largest expenses and the largest liabilities for companies. Knightscope’s robots are offered at an effective price of $4 to $11 per hour, compared with approximately $85 and $30 per hour for an armed off duty law enforcement officer and an unarmed security guard, respectively.
This innovation has the potential to drive considerable cost savings. Based on these estimates, manufacturing costs can be recovered as soon as the first year of operation.
The company has four patents and a framework of unique intellectual property. Knightscope currently offers a K1 stationary machine, a K3 indoor machine and a K5 outdoor machine. A K7 multi-terrain four-wheel version is in development.
The ASRs autonomously patrol client sites without the need for remote control, providing a visible, force multiplying, physical security presence to help protect assets, monitor changes in the area and deter crime. The data is accessible through the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC), an intuitive, browser-based interface that enables security professionals to review events generated by the ASRs providing effectively ‘mobile smart eyes and ears’.
The ASRs and all the related technologies were developed ground up by the Company and are Made in the USA.
Chief Executive Officer William Santana Li is a veteran entrepreneur, a former executive at Ford Motor Company and the founder of GreenLeaf, a company that grew to be the world’s second-largest automotive recycler and is now part of LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ: LKQ).
Chief Client Officer Stacy Dean Stephens brings his experience as a former Dallas law enforcement officer, as well as his skills as a seasoned entrepreneur, to assist on the client acquisition side.
Chief Intelligence Officer Mercedes Soria is an award-winning technologist and former Deloitte software engineer.
Chief Design Officer Aaron Lehnhardt brings over two decades of two- and three-dimensional product and industrial design in modeling and VR to the table, on top of his experience as a senior designer at Ford Motor Company.
LexaGene Holdings Inc. (TSXV: LXG) (OTCQB: LXXGF)
LexaGene Holdings Inc. (TSXV: LXG) (OTCQB: LXXGF) is a molecular diagnostics company that develops genetic analyzers for rapid detection of pathogens at the point-of-need.
Based in the greater-Boston, Massachusetts area, the company’s fully automated genetic analyzer for pathogen detection, the MiQLab™, is designed to deliver reference-quality data with ease of use. MiQLab’s technology screens samples for up to 27 different targets at once—looking for pathogens and antimicrobial resistance factors—and returns results in approximately one hour. It is designed to be operated at the site of sample collection to avoid the delay associated with shipping and manually processing samples. This technology is designed for use in multiple markets, including human and veterinary diagnostics, as well as food safety testing ($12.9B, $2.2B, and $23.4B markets, respectively).
Rapid, automated pathogen detection
LexaGene’s MiQLab pathogen detection system offers rapid and sensitive testing to markets in need of better vigilance against pathogens that could endanger health and harm public safety and the bottom line. The company’s disruptive technology is on-demand and offers results in approximately an hour.
End users collect a sample, load it onto the MiQLab genetic analyzer with a sample preparation cartridge, enter a sample ID and press ‘go’.
MiQLab is open-access, which allows users to easily customize their own tests, in addition to running the company’s own validated tests. No comparable technology exists on the market today for automating customized testing. The open-access market is over $20 billion in value and includes industries like pharma and biotech that currently need an automated method of performing PCR testing in a cost-efficient way.
Improved COVID-19 Testing
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a threat to global safety, the need for improved testing procedures has been well established. LexaGene’s technology is automated and designed to be used at the point-of-need, thereby avoiding the 12- to 24-hour shipping time. Plus, it performs sample preparation and the gold standard RT-PCR chemistry for exceptional data quality in about one hour.
Because LexaGene’s open-access instrument can be rapidly configured to detect novel pathogens, it is ideally suited to prevent pandemic spread with its easily deployed testing that facilitates rapid quarantine-related decision making.
This speed is in stark contrast to competitor point-of-care technologies that have reagents pre-embedded into complex and expensive cartridges that are only manufactured at specialized production sites – making it impossible to rapidly meet a swift increase in demand.
According to Dr. Jack Regan, LexaGene’s CEO and founder, the world needs easy-to-use, fully automated pathogen detection instruments operating at points-of-need that can be equipped with tests to detect a novel pathogen within a week of knowing its genetic sequence. For this pandemic, the lack of such technology forced the majority of testing to occur in distant reference laboratories, making rapid decisions on quarantine impossible and making the likelihood of successful containment remote.
Regan explained in a press release (http://nnw.fm/Vz5Ju), “LexaGene expects to be the first company to commercialize an automated open-access microfluidic technology designed for use at the point-of-need that can be configured to detect a novel pathogen in just a week’s time of its emergence – for use on-site to return results in one hour – and improve our chances of successful containment.”
LexaGene’s technology has a wide range of applications across many other markets, including biotech and pharma testing, water quality monitoring, agricultural testing, biodefense, and use at point-of-need at border crossings, military bases, aircraft carriers and cruise ships.
Markets for customized testing solutions are poised for significant growth. Industry analysts forecast considerable expansion of many of LexaGene’s potential target markets in the coming years, including:
- The genotyping sector, forecast to reach a valuation of $31.9 billion by 2023;
- PCR assays, expected to make up a $7 billion market opportunity by 2026;
- The sample prep market, forecast to eclipse $9.3 billion by 2025;
- Water quality monitoring, set to grow to $1.59 billion by 2022; and
- Agricultural testing, anticipated to reach $6.29 billion by 2022.
LexaGene’s patented microfluidic system was invented by company CEO Regan, a leading scientist who developed a bio-warfare surveillance instrument that has been adopted by the Department of Homeland Security. Regan is also known for developing an instrument that detects respiratory pathogens from nasal swab samples. The development of these instruments was supported by $20 million in government funding.
LexaGene’s experienced leadership team drives company growth with a focus on innovation, pursuing unique market opportunities and providing shareholder value.
Dr. Jack Regan, Chief Executive Officer & Director, is the inventor of the company’s flagship automated pathogen detection technology, the MiQLab. Before founding LexaGene, he led a team of scientists at Bio-Rad Laboratories (NYSE: BIO) in developing tests for detecting pathogens, cancer and neurological disorders using droplet digital PCR. Prior to Bio-Rad, Regan helped QuantaLife, a startup company, bring its product from concept to commercialization, where it was subsequently acquired by Bio-Rad. He has also worked at Applied Biosystems/Life Technologies on automated sample preparation and did his post-doctoral training at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His doctoral training at the University of California San Francisco focused on influenza viral replication.
Daryl Rebeck, President, has over 20 years of capital market experience with an established international financial network. Rebeck was a vice president and senior investment advisor with Canada’s largest independent investment bank, Canaccord Genuity, where he was responsible for raising significant risk capital for growth companies, with a particular focus on natural resources and medical technology. He has since worked to provide management expertise and grow shareholder value. He served as senior VP of corporate finance of Auryn Resources (NYSE: AUG), a $250 million market cap mining exploration company.
Jeffrey Mitchell, CFO, boasts over two decades of financial and SEC experience. Before joining LexaGene, he served as controller and director of finance, overseeing areas such as public company financial reporting, audits, and financial planning and analysis for Palomar Medical Technologies Inc. In addition to his many years at Palomar, Mitchell has served in numerous financial and strategic advisory roles for medical device, imaging and diagnostic companies.
Mobius Interactive Ltd.
Mobius Interactive Ltd. is an online gaming operator launching in September 2020 with a variety of unique offerings catering to diverse demographic groups. In partnership with Ultra Play, a leading eSports and iGaming platform, Mobius Interactive is seeking to attract a network of high-net-worth gamers from around the world through the use of loyalty and gamification programs designed to enhance customer engagement by leveraging state-of-the-art customer relationship management systems and joint-ventures with over 600 VIP and Master gaming affiliates.
Array of Brands
Mobius Interactive is seeking to target a variety of customer segments and geographies through its diverse brand offerings, including:
- Aragon Casino: Austria, Finland, the Balkans, Canada, Africa and New Zealand
Catering to consumers aged 21 to 45, Aragon Casino brands itself along the lines of medieval fantasy, mimicking elements from the likes of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
- Club Double: Austria, India, Brazil, Finland, Canada, Africa and New Zealand
Targeting the 30 to 65 age demographic, Club Double is designed to exude a classic yet magical old Hollywood and vintage Miami & Las Vegas air.
- MobiusBet: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Latin America, New Zealand and India
MobiusBet is designed to appeal to the 18- to 38-year-old eSports community, bringing together loyalty programs, targeted gamification and product merchandising in one seamless package.
Key Differentiating Indicators
Mobius Interactive has designed its platform with a number of key differentiation traits relative to its target market. These include:
- The use of affiliates: Mobius Interactive has partnered with over 600 VIP and Master gaming affiliates, who will introduce high-value players to the company’s award-winning iGaming platform. Mobius added over 150 proven affiliates in Europe, Brazil, Finland and New Zealand over a period of just 20 days.
- eSports Focus: Mobius.Bet, Mobius Interactive’s dedicated eSports hub, will cater to the quickly growing eSports segment, which is expected to rise to a value of $1.7 billion in 2021. With Mobius’ COO being one of the original founders of the eSports.com brand, the company aims to capitalize on this growing segment of the gaming industry.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Mobius has partnered with Solitics, a new and real-time CRM system, enabling the company to personalize customers’ gaming experiences in an interactive and highly intelligent manner.
- Loyalty & Gamification: Mobius Interactive is set to introduce a unique loyalty and gamification program designed to increase customer engagement from signup. Loyalty and gamification programs have been proven to increase daily active wagering volumes by 30% while simultaneously increasing daily player activity by 60%. Furthermore, the introduction of these programs can help lower the company’s customer acquisition costs while adding a differentiating element to its platform.
Partnership with Puurl
Puurl provides a solution that embeds eGaming platforms into any existing online e-commerce store. First, shoppers can install the Puurl add-on to their browsers. Then, when visiting their preferred e-commerce stores, players will be prompted to bet, with the potential to win the products they’re browsing. The Puurl solution enables e-commerce operators and eGaming platforms to earn additional gambling revenues – even when their players are shopping. Through its partnership with Puurl, Mobius Interactive will look to add a unique revenue stream to complement its core business operations.
Lynn Pearce, CEO, is an experienced, data-driven, commercially focused, strategic brand marketer with over 15 years of proven success in the global gaming industry, from land-based casinos in the UK to online gaming companies offering sports betting, poker and casino games. She was head-hunted to join a startup in Prague that launched 26 casinos, becoming profitable within the first three months of operation, before she relocated to Malta to join a leading B2B casino software development company as head of marketing, where she led global marketing, PR, product development, branding and go-to-market campaigns, retaining full control of a six-month budget of €1 million to increase brand awareness and customer engagement. She recently returned to the B2C side of gaming to launch three new brands in Germany, Brazil and India. She writes articles regularly for Infinity Gaming Magazine and has been a judge for the prestigious International Gaming Awards, a significant event for the gaming industry held each year prior to the largest gaming exhibition of the year, ICE London.
Robin Lawson, Vice President & COO, has been involved in iGaming for over 10 years, successfully founding two VIP casino departments across international locations in Latin America, as well as startup company Tabella in Europe. He most recently co-founded and acted as COO for eSports.com, which raised over $5.5 million as a startup ICO and was sold to German media giant ProSieben. Lawson is also a senior iGaming consultant for startup casino groups and an advisor to blockchain-based tech groups. His long-time experience and proven track record in startup organizations demonstrate his operational leadership skills.
Nicholas de Freitas, Vice President, Marketing, is one of the pioneers of digital stills photography for major retail companies in Africa and Australia. He left to start up UrbanActive, an outsourcing agency, working as marketing project manager and implementing major retail projects. He received his certification in digital marketing from the University of Stellenbosch. He has worked over the past few years as the marketing manager for various poker rooms and casinos, liaising and building relationships with software developers, successfully implementing a number of casino and poker products and holding regular weekly report sessions with the heads of all divisions of the company, spanning South Africa, Canada, Malta, Norway and Costa Rica.
Gary Eldridge, Chairman, is an experienced entrepreneur with a history of working in the venture capital and private equity industry. He is skilled in capital markets, M&A and funding startups and is a strong business development professional. For the past 30 years, he has created and managed numerous public and private companies in Canada, the U.S., Amsterdam, London, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Singapore and Panama. In addition to holding the role of chairman of the company, Eldridge is acting as a mentor to the team, assisting with the financials and structure of the company while allowing the team to be fully focused on Mobius’ growth and operations.
Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE)
On June 15, 2020, Net Element announced its entry into a binding letter of intent to merge with privately-held Mullen Technologies Inc., a Southern California-based electric vehicle company, in a stock-for-stock reverse merger in which Mullen’s stockholders will receive the majority of the outstanding stock in the post-merger company. The proposed merger is currently pending the execution of a definitive agreement, shareholder vote and regulatory approval.
Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) is a global financial technology and value-added solutions group that supports electronic payments acceptance in an omni-channel environment spanning across point-of-sale, e-commerce and mobile devices. The company operates a payments-as-a-service transactional model and value-added services platform for small to medium enterprises in the U.S. and selected emerging markets.
Net Element believes the future of global commerce is being revolutionized as consumers quickly migrate toward omni-channel shopping utilizing mobile devices, desktop, and online services. The company’s all-in-one payment solutions support and unify a whole range of applications through a single, robust platform, allowing global onboarding and support for multiple payment methods.
Net Element has also launched a blockchain-focused business unit that will develop and deploy blockchain technology-based solutions. Net Element expects the new division to create a decentralized crypto-based ecosystem that will act as a framework for an unlimited number of value-added services, connecting merchants and consumers in a seamless, economically efficient transaction. This new business unit intends to also identify and invest in unique projects that decentralize and disrupt the payment processing industry by combining blockchain technology and real-world applications with talented development teams, strong fundamentals and addressable markets large in size.
“We believe that we’re at the dawn of a new evolution where additional digital payment methods are being introduced,” Net Element chairman and CEO Oleg Firer, says. “Introduction of our division focused on blockchain as part of the NASDAQ-listed entity will add transparency and compliance assurance to our investors as well as provide access to deploy value-added services to over 20 million electronic commerce clients that are currently part of Net Element’s growing network.”
Net Element clients are treated to customized solutions that provide the flexibility needed to keep up with customers. Among the services offered are mobile payment apps that accept payments anywhere, anytime; cloud-based solutions built to increase productivity and enhance revenue for clients and partners; marketing solutions that turn lookers into buyers; and business analytics that make it easy for clients to monitor business metrics, engage with customers and compare the competition. Its multi-channel platform combines e-commerce, offline, point-of-sale, comprehensive back office tools, mobile point-of-sale, credit scoring and customer interaction in one powerful platform-as-a-service technology.
Net Element owns and operates a global mobile payments and transactional processing provider, TOT Group, Inc., with the following subsidiaries:
- Unified Payments – An award-winning, customized mobile billing and payments solution, recognized by Inc. Magazine as the No. 1 Fastest Growing Company in America in 2012.
- Aptito – A next-generation, all-in-one, cloud-based restaurant management and point-of-sale payments platform using wireless technology.
- Payonline – A fully integrated, processor agnostic electronic commerce platform.
Net Element is ranked on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ list of North America’s 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in both 2017 and 2018, during which the company grew 190 percent and 183 percent, respectively. The company credits its progression to organic growth in its North America Transactions Segment, specifically the success of its Unified Payments brand, which focuses on value-added payment acceptance solutions for small to medium enterprises in the United States.
Net Element was also listed among South Florida Business Journal’s 2016 fastest growing technology companies.
Leveraging its suite of application performing interfaces (APIs) and connectors, Net Element powers commerce for businesses of all sizes through multi-channel platforms, all-in-one digital solutions, and end-to-end encryption of cardholder data utilizing tamper resistant hardware that ensures integrity and simplifies security.
Leading this innovation is chairman and CEO Oleg Firer, who is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of the company’s mission of powering global commerce. He is joined by CFO Jeffrey Ginsburg, CPA, and Steven Wolberg, the company’s chief legal officer and secretary. Each corporate officer brings a unique blend of leadership, vision, experience and creative energy to the company.
From mobile payments and value-added transactional innovations like Aptito to e-commerce and retail payment transaction processing brands like Payonline and Unified Payments, Net Element is transforming the online and mobile experience.
Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR)
Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) is a Canadian cannabis company dedicated to producing premium-quality strains and products by leveraging a genetics-focused approach.
The company began operations in 2012, with activities primarily directed toward exploration and development of mineral properties in Canada. Today, it is focused on cannabis and hemp cultivation, leveraging high-end genetics and specialized cultivars to produce top quality products. Pac Roots has announced multiple promising initiatives in recent months, including its formation of an outdoor premium hemp joint venture with partner Rock Creek Farms in British Columbia, Canada, and its agreement to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of a firm holding 250 acres of land in the famed Fraser Valley Region of British Columbia.
Pac Roots is also in the process of completing its 20,000 square foot cultivation facility in Lake Country, British Columbia. The facility is expected to feature approximately 7,600 square feet of cultivation space that will enable the company to cycle through an elite line of 350+ unique, high-grade cultivars. Pac Roots expects to receive a cultivation license for the facility in the fourth quarter of 2020.
High-End Selectively Bred Genetics
Pac Roots focuses on high-end genetics in order to maximize the quality of its products while maintaining high yields and profit margins.
Through the process of artificial selection, farmers and cultivators have been adapting their plants to develop particular phenotypic traits for generations. Historically, this practice was restricted to underground cannabis producers developing their own strains.
The legalization of the cannabis industry has given producers access to thousands of cultivars located throughout the world while accelerating research into cannabis genetics. By carefully selecting strains, growers can control the size, color, smell, density and texture of cannabis buds, thereby creating distinctive, premium cannabis products.
Plants are bred to thrive in specific growing environments. This maximizes the yield of high-quality, resilient cannabis. Medical cannabis strains can also be tailored for specific medicinal purposes.
A strategic partnership with Phenome One, a plant breeding management and analytics firm, gives Pac Roots access to some of the world’s best cannabis genetics from the largest genetic library in Canada. The company is using these genetics to develop unique strains featuring a variety of beneficial characteristics.
The company’s 350+ licensed live cultivars and over 1,800 seed varieties are the result of a meticulous gene selection process, through which as many as 600 individual plants may be grown to produce a single strain. Selecting optimized genetics in this way provides benefits beyond simply producing a high-end product. In addition to potency and bud quality, cannabis plants are bred for yield and resilience. By selecting genetics that result in larger and more numerous buds on each plant, Pac Roots is able to grow more cannabis per grow light.
Breeding plants to be more resilient also reduces the cost and labor required. These factors, combined with the premium price point associated with top-quality cannabis, have the potential to improve Pac Roots’ overall profit margin.
Partnership with Phenome One
Pac Roots has secured its cultivars through a strategic licensing agreement with Phenome One. Under the agreement, Pac Roots has unlimited access to Phenome One’s live genetic library, including any of Phenome One’s cultivars and its growing, breeding and cloning IP.
Phenome One is an agricultural technology company focused on providing software solutions to seed companies. Phenome One’s platform gives its partners access to a massive database of detailed information on over 350 unique cannabis cultivars to support each stage of the breeding process. Each cultivar has been laboratory analyzed and rigorously field-tested, with data going back more than 30 years.
Using Phenome One’s data, Pac Roots plans to grow a variety of cannabis plants optimized for certain traits. One such trait will be plants with an abundance of cannaflavin, a rare terpene with high anti-inflammatory properties. Phenome One’s library could enable Pac Roots to produce plants that are bred to thrive in a range of different growing climates, including plants suited to grow in cold weather and plants that are resilient to region-specific fungi.
Joint Venture with Rock Creek Farms of British Columbia
Pac Roots recently entered a definitive investment agreement with Rock Creek Farms, a reputable agricultural enterprise, for a 100-acre commercial hemp operation in Rock Creek, British Columbia. The growing space is located in the highly lucrative farming area known as the ‘Golden Mile’ in the South Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. (http://nnw.fm/Gbf9I).
Under the agreement, the two companies have formed an outdoor premium hemp joint venture company to which Pac Roots is providing an aggregate of $450,000 in capital and Rock Creek Farms is contributing two commercial leases for 100+ acres of growing space, along with cultivation licenses, agricultural infrastructure and equipment, consulting services, intellectual property relating to hemp operations and proprietary biomass storage methods. Pac Roots holds a 60 percent interest in the project.
About 127,500 premium hemp CBD seedlings were planted across 100 acres as of early July 2020. The joint venture is planting a premium grade CBD hemp variety utilizing the rich native soil and both traditional and custom farming techniques.
“Our operational partners at Rock Creek Farms bring decades of generational farming expertise in one of Canada’s pre-eminent growing regions,” Pac Roots President and CEO Patrick Elliott said in a news release detailing the venture. “It will be an exciting outdoor growing season for the joint venture as we anticipate a successful harvest in the fall.”
Infinite Development Possibilities at Fraser Valley Property in British Columbia
In mid-July 2020, the company initiated a share purchase agreement with 1088070 BC. LTD. (“1088”) and its shareholders for the acquisition of all issued and outstanding shares of 1088 (http://nnw.fm/xlpw7). Notably, 1088 owns and controls 250 acres of land spread over nine parcels in the Fraser Valley Regional District.
The Fraser Valley Regional District is one of the most productive and intensively farmed areas of Canada, offering access to high-quality soil, favorable climate, water and a local market of 2.5 million people. Agriculture in this region yields an annual economic value of more than $3 billion.
The closing date for the transaction is slated for September 4, 2020, after a 51-day due diligence period. According to Elliott, the addition of such a significant package of land is a major step for Pac Roots.
“This land has no zoning restrictions and is not situated within the agricultural land reserve, which provides for infinite development possibilities,” Elliott added in a July 2020 news release.
Board of Directors member Chad Clelland also welcomed the acquisition, adding that between Fraser Valley and Rock Creek – both of them among the most productive agricultural regions in Canada – Pac Roots is very well positioned for production and the future development of its hemp and cannabis infrastructure.
The RAD Americas Genetic Program – Research and Development in Americas Genetic Program
Pac Roots intends to deploy a global R&D program focused on rigorously testing elite strains in various rich agricultural regions throughout the Americas, with a goal of mass selection to achieve the utmost environmental resilience while achieving notable quality and yields. From seed to software, collection data, proprietary techniques and custom nutrient formulas, Pac Roots and Phenome will provide the specific knowledge to cultivators in different climates in order to achieve optimal yields for THC, CBD, CBG and other unique cannabinoids. R&D from global testing programs situated throughout the Americas will allow the partnership to deploy and stress test a range of suitable cultivars in the world’s lowest cost outdoor growing regions.
The company expects an industry shift in 2020 from the COVID-19 global pandemic. The ‘new normal’ will bring more focus on efficiencies and optimal yields to deliver a cost effective, high quality product to the end user. There has been much to be learnt from the inefficiencies in the cannabis industry in recent years, which have been detrimental to the credibility of the sector. Pac Roots is well positioned to enter the scene and take advantage of the deficiencies, reinforcing the notion that genetics and flawless growing techniques are paramount to success. Genetics and systems innovation may be the most overlooked components when comparing cannabis to other established agricultural crops. Pac Roots plans to invest into cannabis R&D to ensure a solid foundation is built that will be used by cannabis farmers worldwide.
Through its RAD Americas Development and Innovation, Pac Roots is focused on:
- Deploying one of the largest live genetic libraries in Canada, diversified for high yield output and unique climates
- Continued stress testing for indoor, high yield, THC and medicinal genetics
- Continued stress testing for outdoor, high yield, THC and medicinal genetics
- Exotic, genetic cloning for the luxury, high margin, cannabis flower market
- Psychoactive/medicinal ratio testing for effect and
- Unique Cannabinoid and terpene elevation and isolation.
Through its RAD Americas Field Testing System, the company is focused on:
- Global testing in different microclimates to assess genetic and complete systems for optimal yields
- Data collection, testing and optimization to prove process for commercial implementation and
- High quality yield testing for THC, CBD, CBG and other unique medicinal cannabinoids.
Lake Country Cultivation Facility near Kelowna, British Columbia
Pac Roots is in the process of completing its 20,000 square foot cultivation facility in Lake Country, British Columbia. The facility is expected to feature approximately 7,600 square feet of cultivation space that will enable the company to cycle through its line of high-grade cultivars. Pac Roots plans to submit a video evidence package of the facility build under Health Canada’s Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System, and the company expects to acquire its cultivation license in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Lake Country is a municipality located just outside of Kelowna in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. For decades, the region’s favorable growing climate has made it a hub for cannabis cultivation. As the Canadian legal cannabis industry ramps up, the Okanagan region is attracting attention from dozens of cannabis companies, including some of the industry’s biggest names. The region’s strong agricultural history has left it rich with experienced agricultural workers and an abundance of Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) property.
Patrick Elliott, MSC, MBA, President and CEO of Pac Roots Cannabis, is also the President & CEO of Lexore Capital Corp., a private resource and cannabis investment company, as well as Phenome One Corp., a full-service cannabis farming company focused on elite strain selective breeding. Elliott brings over 15 years of corporate finance, mineral exploration and financial markets experience to the Pac Roots team. He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario in geology and holds an MSc. in mineral economics and an MBA from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia. Elliott specializes in economic resource evaluation, financial modeling, CAPEX estimation, corporate development and finance. Combined with his technical knowledge, Elliott has a wealth of contacts in the financial sector.
Marc Geen, Founder and Strategic Operations Advisor, is a fourth-generation British Columbia farmer who has been active in the legal medical marijuana industry for more than 10 years – consulting on, complying with, and participating in the MMAR, MMPR and ACMPR programs. Prior to co-founding Speakeasy Cannabis Club Ltd., Geen spent 14 years as Head of Operations for Kettle Mountain Ginseng Ltd., one of North America’s largest ginseng producers. With the experience gleaned from a long career in large scale commercial farming, Geen has been able to apply many cost-effective farming practices to the outdoor, indoor and greenhouse cultivation of cannabis. Geen is also the co-creator of a full line of cannabis extract products designed under ACMPR regulations.
Matt McGill, Director, has a strong background in both commercial and residential real estate and has played a major role in many development projects. McGill, through McGill Realty, has established a tremendous commercial and residential outfit servicing British Columbia’s Fraser Valley and the lower mainland. McGill is skilled at crafting strategic financing options for corporations and has a substantial network of retail and institutional clients.
Chad Clelland, Director, has experience in the sector dating back to 2009, when he purchased Medicalmarijuana.ca, which became an information portal for thousands of patients, doctors and growers. Through this company, he and his team have helped thousands of Canadians find legal, safe medication. His team also consulted, designed and submitted dozens of applications to the government under the MMPR, ACMPR and Cannabis Act. In 2011, Clelland co-founded Greenleaf Medical Clinic, which is now recognized as a training facility by the University of British Columbia and offers preceptorships to physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. He also co-founded Folium Life Science in 2013, an approved Canadian Licensed Producer. His roles in these organizations have included Chief Operating Officer, head of security, alternate master grower and alternate responsible person in charge.
Josh Bromley, Senior Cultivation Strategist, is a second-generation farmer with over two decades of experience farming, breeding, cultivating and selecting unique cultivars for the medical community. He is an expert in plant science and possesses a comprehensive knowledge of cultivars and a mastery of medicinal implementation. Bromley has developed proprietary farming systems, as well as low cost/high output nutrient systems. Through thoughtful design and engineering, he has been able to consistently show improvements in crop yields, pathogen resiliency and quality.
Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF)
Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) is a branded cannabis-infused products manufacturer of edibles created to support a healthy and active lifestyle. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, PLUS™ concentrates on producing edibles using extracts to ensure compliant, dosable and delicious products that provide a consistent cannabis experience.
First introduced to the market in 2015 to rave reviews, PLUS™ is now one of the top best-selling edible brands in California. PLUS™ operates through a wholly owned subsidiary, Carberry, and has four cannabis-infused gummy candy SKUs (in addition to limited edition SKUs), that are currently sold in over 200 licensed dispensaries and delivery services. All products under the PLUS™ brand are produced in the company’s 12,000-square-foot food-safe cannabis manufacturing facility in Adelanto, California.
PLUS Products shares are currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. PLUS™ raised CAD$20 million through the offering, for which the lead underwriters were PI Financial and Canaccord Genuity. The company intends to use a portion of the IPO proceeds to fund rapid product capacity expansion, factory automation, working capital and new product development.
Operating in the largest adult-use recreational market in the U.S., PLUS Products holds a temporary manufacturing license in California and was one of the first brands to bring fully compliant products to the legal market. California legalized adult use recreational sales on Jan. 1, 2018, and industry analysts expect edible sales there will continue to amass enviable revenues. According to BDS Analytics, edibles made up 18 percent of marijuana retail sales in February 2018 across licensed retailers in California, with PLUS™ products ranking in the Top 10 of edible brands by retail dollar sales.
During the first half of 2018, PLUS Products generated US$2.45 million in sales, a marked improvement over 2017’s US$1.07 million in sales. The company’s established cannabis products are not only compliant with state laws, they are proving to be extremely popular with consumers. Among the PLUS™ product brands are:
- Blackberry & Lemon RESTORE, an infusion of carefully dosed cannabis with a 9:1 THC to CBD per gummy.
- Sour Watermelon UPLIFT, a low-calorie gummy crafted from carefully dosed cannabis with an infusion of 5mg THC per gummy.
- Pineapple & Coconut CBD RELIEF, a tropical flavor gummy made from pure cannabis-derived CBD that is low-calorie, gluten-free and made with kosher ingredients.
- Sour Blueberry CREATE, a low-calorie gummy infused with hybrid flower containing 5 mg THC.
- Limited Edition Rose & Vanilla, available at select locations during Winter 2018, these gummies are crafted with 60 mg THC/30 mg CBD per tin.
- Limited Edition RAINBOW SORBET gummies was created to celebrate Pride during Spring 2018 with a portion of each purchase donated to The Trevor Project, a confidential suicide hotline for LGBT youth.
“We are extremely proud of the products PLUS has brought to market,” remarked Jake Heimark, CEO and cofounder in a statement. “We’ve quickly grown into one of the leading edible brands in California. With the proceeds of this round, we will continue to further our mission: to make cannabis safe and approachable for all types of consumers.”
The PLUS™ team believes that everyone deserves access to consistent, dosable and delicious cannabis products and strives to make that happen. Producing the best infused products at scale requires thoughtful collaboration among experts in many fields. At PLUS™, our team is comprised of Chefs, Chemists, Food Manufacturing Experts, Engineers, Machinists, Visionaries, Creatives, Strategists and others.
PowerBand Solutions Inc. (TSXV: PBX) (OTCQB: PWWBF) (Frankfurt: 1ZVA)
PowerBand Solutions Inc. (TSXV: PBX) (OTCQB: PWWBF) (Frankfurt: 1ZVA) is revolutionizing the world’s automotive industry with a cloud-based platform that makes buying, selling, leasing and trading cars and trucks as easy as purchasing a product on Amazon or ordering an Uber from a smart phone. PowerBand offers auction and finance portal software tools that increases sales, efficiencies and profitability to its customers and dealers. It provides a transparent, simple, buy-sell online-auction and inventory-management system.
A Better Way to Connect and Acquire Vehicles
PowerBand’s mission is to create an online, consumer-directed marketplace that streamlines the interactions among all participants in the automotive industry. It transforms today’s antiquated business model with speed, transparency, access to information and ease of use for consumers and dealers.
Consumers can easily connect with new sources to buy vehicles, network with motivated buyers and sellers, maximize their trade-in values, improve their customer experience. PowerBand’s standardized system and transaction process also increase efficiencies and benefits with hands-on, process-driven, in-store training and support.
Through internal development, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships, PowerBand is developing solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers, commercial customers and lenders that are poised to transform the trillion-dollar U.S. automotive industry.
The PowerBand Auto Platform
PowerBand’s transaction platform was developed by a team of experienced automotive, technology and finance experts, and has been refined through years of operational experience. Built on the core belief that the consumer prefers to primarily conduct automotive transactions online and avoid interactions with unnecessary middlemen, PowerBand’s product solutions include:
- Leasing: PowerBand is currently licensed in 33 U.S. states via a majority interest in MUSA Auto Finance LLC, an advanced online leasing technology platform that has transformed the new and used vehicle leasing industry. MUSA is the only approved, non-captive lease partner for Tesla in the U.S., and the platform can approve leases in a matter of seconds.
- Inventory and Financing: A partnership with RouteOne LLC, a leading financial platform founded in 2002 by Ally Financial, Ford Motor Credit Co., TD Auto Finance and Toyota Financial Services, allows access to a network of more than 18,000 dealerships and 1,400 financing sources.
- Auction Platform: PowerBand and its joint-venture partner, D2D Auto Auctions, are developing a direct consumer-to-dealer and a consumer-to-consumer automotive portal, which will provide an innovative alternative to physical dealership and auction locations.
- LiveNet Auction: An online platform portal that allows dealers to create instant live vehicle auctions to a vast network of the industry’s top used vehicle buyers.
- MarketPlace Auction: An online listing auction site for buying and selling automotive inventory – ideal for dealers, fleet, OEM and rental companies.
- Used Vehicle Inspections: An LOI agreement with TÜV NORD Mobility Inc., a German-based global leader in vehicle inspections operating in more than 70 countries, will provide the most comprehensive, certified vehicle inspection reports available in North America. Appointments booked within the platform can be performed nearly anywhere.
- Product Development: PowerBand’s comprehensive consumer solution, Driveaway, will be a fully transactional consumer marketplace where dealers and consumers can buy, sell, trade-in and finance vehicles, often in seconds, from the comfort of their home.
Automotive’s Growing Markets
The automotive dealership and commercial fleet vehicle auction industry is a $100-billion sector with more than 40 million used vehicles transacted in the U.S. each year. Of those, ten million are sold through auctions. From 2013 to 2017, the growth of online-only auctions far outpaced physical auctions, growing at a 33% compound annual growth rate compared to 2% CAGR at physical auctions.
Automotive leasing is another large, growing and fragmented market, generating approximately $120-billion in annual revenue. As a percentage of vehicle sales, leasing reached 30% in 2018, up from 21% in 2012, and is seen as a substantial opportunity for PowerBand and MUSA Auto Finance. Using proprietary technology and by focusing on high-quality, credit-worthy customers, MUSA grew its automotive lease originations to $182 million.
Disrupting Auto Leasing with MUSA
Legacy solutions are complicated, expensive and slow at processing leases. MUSA’s first-of-its-kind technology platform eliminates third-party decisions and the human capital required in the underwriting process. MUSA’s platform navigates the entire customer experience – underwriting, funding and the delivery process – within minutes. Leases can be approved in seconds.
PowerBand’s acquisition of MUSA brings together two leading-edge companies with the vision to become a one-stop platform for the entire vehicle purchase lifecycle.
PowerBand is led by a collection of automotive veterans with a passion to collectively and positively impact the industry.
- Kelly Jennings, president and CEO, is the founder of PowerBand Solutions and a franchise dealer owner/operator with more than 27 years of automotive experience. Jennings received General Motor’s Triple Crown Award, Ford Motor Company President’s Award and Honda Canada’s Excellence Award.
- Darrin Swenson, COO of PowerBand and D2D Auto Auctions/Hunt Automotive Group, has more than 25 years of automotive/auction experience.
- Jeff Morgan, CEO MUSA, holds over 25 years of experience in the auto finance sector.
Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI)
Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI) is a knowledge-driven precision medicine company focused on applying data and artificial intelligence (AI) to personalized medicine and drug discovery. The company applies its smart tumor profiling and AI platform to extensive genomic and biomarker patient data sets to build predictive models of tumor drug response to improve clinical outcomes for the cancer patients of today and tomorrow. The company has several tools that support its mission of bringing precision medicine to the treatment of cancer.
Through its subsidiaries, Predictive Oncology’s portfolio of assets includes the following:
- A database of clinically validated historical and outcome data from patient tumors
- An in-house Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified lab
- A “smart” patient-derived tumor profiling platform
- An in-house bioinformatics artificial intelligence (AI) platform
- A new computerized approach growing tumors in the lab to rapidly develop patient specific treatment options
- An FDA-approved fluid collection and disposal system
Using these resources, and in collaboration with key players in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and biotech industries Predictive Oncology is working to determine the best pathways for more individualized and effective cancer treatment.
Predictive Oncology leverages the synergies of its three wholly owned subsidiaries to bring precision medicine to the diagnosis of cancer.
Helomics applies artificial intelligence to its rich data gathered from the company’s trove of more than 150,000 tumors to personalize cancer therapies for patients as well as drive the development of new targeted therapies in collaborations with pharmaceutical companies. This database, the largest of its kind in the world, is comprised of ovarian, head and neck, colon and pancreas tumors. Helomic’s CLIA-certified lab provides clinical testing that assists oncologists in individualizing patient treatment decisions, by providing an evidence-based roadmap for therapy.
In addition to its proprietary precision oncology platform, Helomics offers boutique CRO services that leverage its TruTumor™ patient-derived tumor models coupled to a wide range of multi-omics assays (genomics, proteomics and biochemical), and an AI-powered proprietary platform (D-CHIP) to provide a tailored solution to its clients’ specific needs.
TumorGenesis is developing a new, rapid approach to growing tumors in the laboratory without the use of rats or mice, allowing for the identification of biomarkers indicative of cancer. This methodology “fools” the tumor into thinking it is still in the body. As a result, the tumor reacts as it naturally would, thereby increasing the accuracy of the biomarker. Once the biomarkers are identified, they can be used in TumorGenesis’ Oncology Capture Technology Platforms which isolate and helps categorize an individual patient’s heterogeneous tumor samples to enable development of patient-specific treatment options.
Skyline Medical’s patented, FDA-cleared STREAMWAY® System is the first true, direct-to-drain fluid disposal system designed specifically for medical applications such as radiology, endoscopy, urology and cystoscopy procedures. The STREAMWAY system is changing the way healthcare facilities collect and dispose of potentially infectious waste fluid by connecting directly to a facility’s plumbing system to automate the collection, measurement and disposal of waste fluids.
The STREAMWAY minimizes human intervention for better safety and improves compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other regulatory agency safety guidelines. The STREAMWAY eliminates canisters, carts and evacuated bottles, which reduces overhead costs and minimizes environmental impact by helping to eliminate the approximately 50 million potentially disease-infected canisters that go into landfills annually in the United Sates.
Skyline has achieved sales in five of the seven continents through both direct sales and distributor partners.
Precision medicine has become the holy grail of cancer therapeutics. Data driven predictive models of tumors and their responses are critical in both new drug development and individualized patient treatment. The race has begun to model various tumors, which takes 5 to 7 years of clinical evaluation to establish historical and outcome data.
Predictive Oncology enjoys significant competitive advantage. The company already has a vast historical collection of tumors and related data, plus the ability to obtain existing associated outcome data. While others wait for outcome data, Predictive Oncology is in a unique and powerful position, working to deliver the promise of precision medicine to reality. Predictive Oncology already has the clinical data, including how a tumor responded to certain drugs, an in-house bioinformatics AI platform, and only needs to do the tumor sequencing. The significance is underscored by the collaboration with UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, designed to reveal which mutations responded to which drug then develop powerful predictive models for future testing and treatment.
Dr. Carl Schwartz was appointed to Skyline Medical’s board of directors in March 2015 and became interim president and CEO in May 2016. Dr. Schwartz became CEO of Plastics Research Corporation in 1988, leading the company to become the largest manufacturer of structural foam molding products in the U.S. with more than $60 million in revenues and 300 employees by the time he retired in 2001. He holds a bachelor’s degree and DDS degree from the University of Detroit.
CFO Bob Myers has over 30 years of experience in multiple industries focusing on medical device service and manufacturing. He has spent much of his career as a CFO and controller. Myers holds an MBA in Finance from Adelphi University and a BBA in public accounting from Hofstra University.
Gerald Vardzel, President of Helomics, has over 25 years of healthcare executive management experience developing and implementing commercialization strategies and models for technology launches. His Go-To-Market expertise includes equity financing, strategic planning, market intelligence, M&A, and new market development in both start-up and established settings including fortune 500 market leaders. He has developed innovative solutions for both CLIA and FDA regulatory paths defining the delivery chains from discovery to clinical acceptance. Mr. Vardzel also has significant experience designing and implementing sales and marketing programs tailored not only to expand market share, but to empirically assess client satisfaction, strengthen business processes, and maximize profitability. Mr. Vardzel was previously Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategic Initiatives at Global Specimen Solutions. Furthermore, as an executive affiliate to the healthcare industry, he routinely consults for several small-to-mid sized private equity firms advising on, in part, the feasibility of acquisition targets. Mr. Vardzel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Mark Collins, Chief Information Officer of Helomics, has held multiple executive roles in a variety of discovery, informatics and bioinformatics functions within global pharma, and founded three startup software companies in the machine learning and drug discovery space. In 2001, Dr. Collins worked for Cellomics (now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific), where he played a pivotal role in establishing the High-Content Cell Analysis market, building and commercializing several key informatics and bioinformatics products. After leaving Thermo Fisher, Dr. Collins developed and commercialized informatics solutions for clinical and translational research, specifically in the specimen tracking, omics data management and NGS analysis space, through key roles at BioFortis, Global Specimens Solutions and Genedata. Dr. Collins received his undergraduate degree in Applied Science from the University of Wolverhampton, UK and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Surrey, UK.
Processa Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PCSA)
Processa Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PCSA) aims to develop products where existing clinical evidence of efficacy already exists in unmet medical need conditions. In support of this goal, the company has assembled an unparalleled management team, board of directors and product development team featuring experts in developing drug products, from IND-enabling studies to NDA submission. In total, the team’s combined scientific, development and regulatory experience has resulted in more than 30 drug approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and more than 100 meetings with the FDA while working on more than 50 drug development programs, including drug products targeted to orphan disease and unmet medical need conditions.
Headquartered in Hanover, Maryland, Processa has built a pipeline of drugs which already have some proof-of-concept clinical data supporting clinical use in their selected indications.
The Processa process focuses on the advancement of drugs that are ready for clinical development or have minimal pre-IND enabling studies to complete. More specifically, Processa:
- Acquires drugs that already have some clinical data to support the targeted treatment – whether it be the drug itself, an analog of the drug or a drug with similar pharmacological targets;
- Navigates through the FDA, collaborating with the reviewers to define a complete development program; and
- Develops each drug over the course of 2-5 years, out-licensing the drug either just prior to pivotal study after Phase 2b or after the completion of the pivotal study.
Processa’s current development pipeline features multiple drug candidates, including PCS499 and PCS100. The company has also announced three additional licensing agreements since June 2020, further bolstering its clinical efforts. Each drug is briefly described below.
On August 27, 2020, Processa announced its entry into a contingent precedent exclusive licensing agreement with Elion Oncology Inc. to develop, manufacture and commercialize eniluracil (PCS6422) globally. PCS6422 is an oral drug to be administered with fluoropyrimidine cancer drugs (e.g., capecitabine, 5-FU) to decrease the breakdown of the cancer drug to inactive metabolites or metabolites that are known to cause unwanted side effects and to increase the anti-cancer related metabolites.
An IND for a Phase 1B study was cleared by the FDA in May 2020. The study will evaluate the safety and tolerability of several dose combinations of PCS6422 and capecitabine in advanced GI tumor patients. Processa intends to enroll the first patient in 1H2021, obtain interim results, and have a final report completed in 2H2022.
“Having worked on 5-FU and other cancer agents in the past, adding PCS6422 to our pipeline and expanding our involvement in oncology was an easy decision given the significant impact that PCS6422 may have on improving the efficacy and safety of capecitabine or other fluoropyrimidines,” CEO Dr. David Young said of the agreement.
PCS499 as a potential treatment for necrobiosis lipoidica (“NL”) was first presented to the FDA in a pre-IND meeting in 2018. In 2019, it was the subject of an IND submission and a promising Phase 2 safety study. On March 30, 2020, Processa announced a successful meeting with the FDA regarding the design and execution of the next clinical study to evaluate the ability of PCS499 to completely close ulcers in patients with NL.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the FDA meeting and the feedback we received from the FDA. We believe that the results from our completed Phase 2 trial in NL patients, especially those with more severe ulcerated forms of NL, are encouraging and we appreciate the guidance provided by the FDA regarding our next clinical trial and the requirements to support our NDA submission,” Dr. David Young, CEO of Processa, stated in the news release.
NL is a chronic, disfiguring condition affecting the skin and tissue under the skin, typically on the lower extremities, with no currently FDA-approved treatments. More severe complications can occur, such as deep tissue infections and osteonecrosis, threatening the life of the limb. Approximately 22,500 – 55,500 people in the United States and more than 150,000 – 400,000 people worldwide are affected by the ulcerated form of NL.
On August 20, 2020, Processa announced its entry into an agreement with Yuhan Corporation, a South Korean firm, to license YH12852, a small molecule drug in development for the treatment of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Under the terms of the agreement, Processa will acquire the rights to a portfolio of patents with an exclusive license to develop, manufacture and commercialize YH12852 globally, excluding South Korea.
YH12852 is a novel, potent and highly selective 5-hydroxytryptamine 4 (5-HT4) receptor agonist. Other 5-HT receptor agonists with less 5-HT4 selectivity have been shown to successfully treat GI mobility disorders such as chronic constipation, constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia and gastroparesis. The less selective 5-HT4 agonists, such as cisapride, have been removed from the market because of the cardiovascular side effects associated with the drugs binding to other receptors, especially 5-HT receptors other than 5-HT4.
CEO Dr. David Young called the agreement “further evidence of Processa’s commitment to seek out novel treatments for unmet medical conditions.” Processa intends to meet with the FDA in early 2021 to further define the clinical development program. In 2021, Processa expects to initiate a Phase 2 trial in a functional GI motility-related disorder that that needs better therapeutic options, such as postoperative ileus and opioid-induced constipation.
On June 1, 2020, Processa announced its entry into a licensing agreement with Aposense Ltd. for the patent rights and know-how to develop and commercialize ATT-11T, a next generation irinotecan cancer drug. In the release, CEO Dr. David Young noted that the licensing deal fit with Processa’s strategy to “continue to bring innovative products to patients with an unmet medical need condition.”
ATT-11T is a novel lipophilic anti-cancer pro-drug that is being developed for the treatment of the same solid tumors as prescribed for irinotecan. This pro-drug is a conjugate of a specific proprietary Aposense molecule connected to SN-38, the active metabolite of irinotecan. The proprietary Aposense molecule on ATT-11T allows ATT-11T to bind to cell membranes to form an inactive pro-drug depot on the cell, with SN-38 preferentially accumulating in the membrane of tumors cells and the tumor core. This unique characteristic is expected to make the therapeutic window of ATT-11T wider than irinotecan, such that the anti-tumor effect of ATT-11T will occur at a much lower dose than irinotecan with a milder adverse effect profile than irinotecan. The wider therapeutic window will likely lead to more patients responding with less side effects when on ATT-11T compared to irinotecan.
The ATT-11T licensing agreement is conditioned upon Processa’s closing of a satisfactory financing round and the listing of the company’s shares on the Nasdaq or NYSE, among other conditions.
On September 3, 2020, Processa announced its entry into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Akashi Therapeutics to develop and commercialization Akashi’s lead drug, HT-100. Rebranded PCS100, the candidate is an anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory drug demonstrated to have some clinical anti-fibrotic effect in children. Processa intends to develop PCS100 first in rare adult fibrotic related diseases such as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) or Scleroderma, where there are still few therapeutic options.
David Young, Pharm.D., Ph.D. is the CEO and founder of Processa. He has over 30 years of pharmaceutical research, drug development and corporate experience. Young has served in leadership roles with a number of pharmaceutical firms throughout his career, including serving as founder and CEO of Promet Therapeutics LLC since 2015 and as Chief Scientific Officer of Questcor Pharmaceuticals from 2009 to 2014. At Questcor, he was responsible for working with the FDA on modernizing the Acthar Gel label and for obtaining FDA approval in infantile spasms. In total, Young has met with the FDA more than 100 times on more than 50 drug products and has been a key team member on more than 30 NDA/supplemental NDA approvals.
Sian Bigora, Pharm.D., is Processa’s Chief Development Officer and founder. She has over 20 years of pharmaceutical research, regulatory strategy and drug development experience, working closely with Young. Prior to joining Processa, Bigora served as Co-Founder, Director and Chief Development Officer at Promet Therapeutics LLC and as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Questcor Pharmaceuticals from 2009 to 2015, where she led efforts to modernize the Acthar Gel label and obtain FDA approval in infantile spasms – events which were of material importance to Questcor’s subsequent success.
Patrick Lin is Chief Business & Strategy Officer and founder of Processa. He has over 20 years of financing and investing experience in the biopharma sector. Prior to joining Processa, Lin served as Co-Founder and Chairman of Promet Therapeutics LLC. He is also founder and managing partner of Primarius Capital, a family office that manages public and private investments focused on small capitalization companies.
James Stanker has served as CFO of Processa since 2018. He has over 30 years of financial and executive leadership experience in the areas of accounting principles and audit standards, regulatory reporting, and fiscal management and strategy. He served in a financial leadership role as an audit partner at Grant Thornton from February 2000 until his retirement in August 2016, where he was responsible for managing audit quality in the Atlantic Coast market territory.
Wendy Guy is the Chief Administrative Officer and founder of Processa. She has more than two decades of experience in business operations, having worked closely with Young over the last 18 years in corporate management and operations, HR and finance. Prior to joining Processa, she was Co-Founder, Director and Chief Administrative Officer of Promet Therapeutics LLC and Senior Manager, Business Operation over the Maryland office for Questcor Pharmaceuticals.
Pressure BioSciences Inc. (PBIO)
Pressure BioSciences Inc. (PBIO) develops, markets and sells proprietary laboratory instrumentation and associated consumables to the life sciences sample preparation market. Sample preparation refers to the wide range of activities that precede most forms of scientific analysis. It is often complex and time-consuming, yet a critical part of scientific research. The market for sample preparation products is currently estimated at $6 billion worldwide.
The Company's product line can be used to exquisitely control the sample preparation process. It is based on a patented, enabling technology platform called pressure cycling technology ("PCT"). PCT uses alternating cycles of hydrostatic pressure between ambient (14.5 psi) and ultra-high levels (up to 100,000 psi) to safely and reproducibly control critical biological processes, such as the lysis (breakage) of cells, the digestion of proteins, and the inactivation of pathogens.
Pressure BioSciences' product line is led by its newly released, next-generation Barocycler 2320EXTREME instrument. Named a finalist in the prestigious 2017 R&D Awards (also known as the "Oscars of Innovation"), the Barocycler 2320EXT is already being touted by some key opinion leaders as an essential element of the $1.8 billion U.S. "Cancer Moonshot" program. For example, Professor Phil Robinson, Co-head of the cancer research center of the Children's Medical Research Institute (Sydney, Australia), said in a recent interview: "We are collecting the whole proteome on 70,000 tumor samples from all classes where complete clinical outcome is known. Due to its unique capabilities, the Barocycler 2320EXT has become a critical part of our program. It is the primary enabler of the high-throughput component of the project. Without this step, our project simply could not be done. In fact, the Barocycler 2320EXT works so well we have just purchased two more."
Momentum is building when it comes to the potential for using the Company's unique PCT technology platform. Leading scientists are intrigued by Pressure BioSciences' approach, which among other attributes, revolutionizes the process of rupturing cells (lysis) for further study, yielding superior biomolecules for investigation. The Company's technology transcends current methods of breaking open cells, which use chemicals, blades, metal beads, or other damaging and altering methods that can ultimately adversely affect the result for researchers. Pressure BioSciences' PCT technology utilizes customized, controlled hydrostatic (water) pressure to rupture cells in a chamber, enabling exquisitely customized levels of pressure to optimally break open different types of cells at prescribed pressure levels—something never before accomplished in a commercial setting. Using this pioneering method, the result is a truer, more legitimate sample, which boosts the efficacy of research and the quality of results. The potential impact of this technology on scientific advancement is enormous, enabling research scientists to begin their studies with biological samples of unprecedented integrity, with the potential to improve research outcomes at the earliest, most critical step. PCT can additionally inactivate pathogens (e.g., viruses, bacteria) using hydrostatic pressure, making the samples safer to study—another innovation with astronomical potential for application in a variety of markets.
The Company's high-pressure instruments for research purposes are marketed throughout the United States, Europe, China and Japan. To date, Pressure BioSciences has installed nearly 300 PCT Systems in over 165 leading academic, government, biotech and pharma laboratories around the world. Its primary applications are in biomarker discovery, forensics, agriculture and pathology. Over 100 scientific papers have been published on the advantages of the PCT platform, which is also being used in the specialized fields of drug discovery and design, bio-therapeutics characterization, soil and plant biology, vaccine development and histology.
Impressive as their biotech business is, there is more to the PBI story. Pressure BioSciences recently received two patents in China for its novel Ultra Shear Technology (UST), a process that has potential in a wide range of industrial applications, including extending the shelf life of some food products and making two insoluble liquids (like oil in water) soluble. Patents have also been filed in many other countries worldwide. UST is a novel technique based on the use of intense shear forces generated from ultra-high-pressure valve discharge.
This important technology has the potential to play a significant role in a number of commercially important areas through its ability to create high-quality, stable nanoemulsions. Scientific studies indicate that improved absorption, higher bioavailability, greater stability, lower surfactant levels and other advantages can be achieved with nanoemulsions – all hugely important factors in the fields of nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and in various medical products. There is an enormous opportunity in the cannabis market, since the technology can potentially reduce oil droplets containing cannabidiol (CBD) to nanoparticles, after which they can be safely suspended in a stable water solution—something many companies have endeavored to achieve without success. Researchers looking for a way to increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids in the body will find this technology a game changer.
The Company's UST technology also has possibilities in the production of clean label foods, which are currently processed using several innovative methods, including high-pressure treatments (such as Starbucks' Evolution line of juices). In 2015, the worldwide market for high-pressure processed (HPP) food was estimated at U.S. $10 billion. UST uses ultra-high pressures and certain valves to generate intense shear forces under controlled temperature conditions to produce nanoemulsions, and which also significantly reduces food-borne pathogens. Pressure BioSciences' initial focus with this technology will be to evaluate UST for the production of high-quality dairy products and beverages.
Pure Extracts Corp.
Pure Extracts Corp., headquartered in Pemberton, British Columbia, is a private, plant-based extraction company with a new vertical in functional mushrooms. The firm is positioned to be the dominant extraction company and a leader in the rapid development and commercialization of functional and medicinal psychedelic products.
The Company’s business model consists of three verticals: in-house brands; toll processing, offering contract cannabis and hemp processing to Canadian Licensed Producers and international partners to sell under their own brands; and white labelling, supplying products, including edibles and custom formulated oils, in consumer-ready packaging for companies licensed to sell cannabis oil extracts and for CPG brands seeking licensed cannabis manufacturing partners.
The psychedelic and functional mushroom industries are among the fastest growing in North America. As the industry transitions from dry biomass to extracts, many companies are unprepared for this new opportunity. The global medicinal mushroom market is expected to grow by $13.88 billion annually by 2024.
When assessing investment strategy, market analysts suggest that psychedelics are more comparable to biotech than to cannabis. Unlike traditional biotech, however, psychedelics can claim years of human consumption. Because their efficacy and safety are already well understood, the hurdles for development are likely to be lower. As known molecules, psychedelics won’t spend as much time in discovery and pre-clinical development.
Current research is finding psychedelic benefits including anti-tumor, anti-viral, detoxification, immune function, and mental wellness. As such, psychedelic compounds are now being examined by leading medical research and academic institutions for treatment of depression, PTSD, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, obesity, narcolepsy, OCD, Alzheimer’s, ADHD and drug and alcohol dependence. In 2020, the FDA granted breakthrough therapy status to psychedelics for treatment-resistant depression, with approvals anticipated in 2021.
Pure Extracts is well positioned to partner with organizations planning to develop both functional and psychedelic products. A dealer’s license with Health Canada will enable buying, selling and producing of psychedelics in an EU-GMP-compliant environment. The Company’s 10,000 square foot facility is designed for EU-GMP certification, which allows for international sales. The Company has signed NDAs to explore joint development endeavors for Q4 2020 product launches, as well as an advisory agreement with Dr. Alexander MacGregor, founder of Transpharm Canada Inc. (“TCI”), the parent company of Toronto Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology, whose facility is a fully compliant Health Canada licensed Good Manufacturing Practice (“GMP”) manufacturing and testing facility and is a full-service clinical development business that provides clinical trial services to biotechnology companies.
Research on Psychedelics
Naturally occurring psychedelics, like psilocybin mushrooms, peyote and ayahuasca, have been used by humans for centuries. First seen as potentially medicinal in 1938 by a chemist at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (now Novartis), the desired stimulant effect was unsuccessful and therefore the drug was shelved. Twenty years later, in 1958, Sandoz began selling lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat mental disorders. From 1950 to 1965, over a thousand scientific papers on these compounds were published. During the 1960s, however, psychedelics made their way out of the lab and onto the street. The war on drugs followed, and psychedelic research essentially ended.
Research continued slowly on the fringes. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies was formed in 1986 with the goal of becoming a leading non-profit psychedelic pharmaceutical company. Still being researched, psychedelics’ primary and most common mechanism of action is agonism of serotonin receptors in the brain, which promotes serotonin production in order to regulate mood.
Growing societal awareness and acceptance of mental illness as a legitimate disease due, in part, to its increasingly prevalence have been a catalyst for a new search for innovative treatments. As such, interest in psychedelic medicines has been revived in recent years.
Extract Segment Leader with Cannabis
Canada’s cannabis industry is dominated by dried flower products. Extract products are estimated to represent only 13% of the market share. With no dominant brands in the cannabis sector, Pure Extracts is the development leader in this segment, which is estimated by Deloitte to be worth $2.7 billion annually. Pure Pulls, the company’s private label brand, is nationally recognized through compliant event sponsorship and ongoing product engagement.
Pure Extract is led by a team of dedicated professionals leveraging extensive industry knowledge.
Ben Nikolaevsky, the company’s CEO, has more than a decade of experience in corporate leadership roles across the natural products, agriculture and cannabis sectors. Nikolaevsky has served as CEO at Natura Naturals Inc. and Blue Goose Capital Corp., as well as market vice president at CIBC and chief credit officer & capital markets manager at IBM Global Financing Canada.
Doug Benville founded Pure Extracts and serves as the company’s COO. He is highly proficient in cannabis cultivation, system operations and oil extraction.
Alexander Logie, Pure Extracts’ vice president of business development, has over 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, having most recently served as interim CFO, COO and senior vice president of business development at Natura Naturals Inc., a licensed cannabis producer acquired at the start of 2019.
Andy Gauvin is vice president of sales for Pure Extracts. Gauvin is an accomplished senior sales leader with over 30 years of experience in the cannabis space. Gauvin also brings extensive knowledge of the complex federal and provincial regulatory environment to the Pure Extracts team.
Rritual Mushrooms Inc.
Rritual Mushrooms Inc. is a private company founded in 2019, whose declared purpose is to help people meet the demands of modern life with style and ease by incorporating functional mushrooms, adaptogens and superfoods into their diets.
The company manufactures premium plant-based products such as small-batch elixir powders, and each product features mindfully selected medicinal mushrooms and adaptogenic herbs. Pursuing customers with various need-states, Rritual offers products that fit every lifestyle.
Suite of Premium Rritual(TM) Products
Rritual recently announced the launch of its suite of premium functional mushroom and adaptogenic elixirs. These elixirs were developed by a leading team of scientists, doctors and experts across the wellness industry, under the guidance of Rritual President Dr. Mike Hart.
The initial product line includes:
- Chaga (immune booster) – Full of bioactive polysaccharides, Rritual’s Chaga blend combines the Chaga mushroom with Eleuthero root for optimal immune system benefits.
- Lion’s Mane (brain booster) – Designed to support cognitive function and brain health, Lion’s Mane is paired with Rhodiola root. The elixir can also help the body manage stress.
- Reishi (stress support) – Rich in polysaccharides, triterpenes, amino acids and fatty acids, the Reishi blend is infused with Ashwagandha root. This combination aims to help the body and mind fight anxiety, with long term effects that may improve quality of sleep for those with restless minds.
“The health and wellness benefits of mushrooms and plant-based therapies are backed by decades of scientific research. Rritual’s new line of elixirs embraces that research and provides consumers with an easy way to get a daily dose of the powerful effects,” Hart said in a news release.
Rritual CEO David Kerbel noted that the company is proud to bring together age-old mushroom consumption practices and data-backed research to create new formulas that meet the needs of modern consumers. “Whether to relieve stress, increase mental output or boost immunity, we want to be a trusted and effective component of a consumer’s daily health and wellness routine,” he added.
According to its investor presentation, Rritual has already fulfilled most of the milestones it set for Q1 and Q2 2020 as part of its growth and development timeline. So far, the company has completed formulation R&D, product line development, test marketing, brand development, logistics partnerships and agreements, initial distributor partnerships, seed financing and the phase one launch of its product suite.
Rritual E-Commerce Rollout Strategy
The company’s strategy for e-commerce rollout success consists of direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales through the use of multiple online platforms and through team connections to facilitate rapid expansion within the market.
In the first stage, Rritual will use its own website and Amazon to facilitate its D2C initiative, followed by leveraging its team connections to sell products through planned specialty e-commerce channels such as Costco, CVS, Walmart, and Vitacost using preexisting relationships.
Brick-and-Mortar Rollout Strategy
Using partnerships already in place with The Jet Collective and leveraging the preexisting connections of its team for direct discussions with global retail brands, Rritual’s brick-and-mortar strategy features a two-stage rollout that targets 15 leading retailers.
In the first stage, Rritual aims to launch with four non-competing chains, while utilizing best practice agreements (320 Sprouts stores, 330 H-E-B stores, 240 Meijer stores and 1,600 Publix stores). In stage 2, distribution is expected to advance to additional retail establishments (100 Wegmans stores, 77 Fresh Thyme stores, 440 Whole Foods stores, 120 Shaw’s stores, 400 Stop & Shop stores, 300 Wakefern/Shoprite stores, 610 Vitamin Shoppe stores, 90 Bartell Drug stores, 40 Giant Eagle market district stores and 1,800 Target stores), while collaboration with Kroger will take place within two sub-markets (300 Ralphs stores and 120 Harris Teeter stores).
Market Growth Outlook
As it is yet in its early stages, the functional mushrooms market is rife with opportunities for growth. At this time, no dominant brand is in place, and there remains an absence of a premium brand to lead the category.
The entire functional food market is currently valued at more than $275 billion, with global shifts supporting wellness and a 7.9% CAGR forecast through 2025. Demand for functional mushrooms is also growing, with a forecast rise from $23 billion to $34 billion by 2024 as a result of growing popularity due to the superfood’s unique properties that have been shown to boost immunity, cognitive function and more. The worldwide functional mushroom market is projected to exceed $50 billion by 2025, with recent data indicating an increase in demand for key mushroom varieties of up to 800%.
David Kerbel, CPC, is CEO of Rritual and has over 30 years of senior experience in retail, brokerage and CPG industries. From 2008 to 2011, Kerbel served as Senior Vice President of Sales for Celsius Holdings Inc., helping that company achieve a number of important milestones. During his tenure, Celsius grew its retail sales from $400,000 to a multimillion-dollar figure, developed nationwide representation with CROSSMARK Inc. and established distribution with industry giants such as 7-Eleven, Ralph’s, C&S, Costco, BJ’s Wholesale, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, Target, Duane Reade and Stop & Shop. In total, Celsius’ new distribution stemming from Kerbel’s direct efforts led to $36 million in incremental sales in 2010 alone. He also implemented new procedures that led to a 10 percent reduction in operating expenses. Kerbel brings tremendous experience to the Rritual team, as well as vital relationships with industry leaders such as Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, 7-Eleven, Safeway, Publix, Sprouts and more.
Warren Spence is the COO and a Director of Rritual. He has over 25 years in the food and beverage industry. His roles within the industry have included senior positions with brands like Red Bull and Olivieri. His specialization is in supply chain and operations systems. He was appointed Head of Supply Chain for Nude Beverages in 2019.
Dr. Mike Hart, MD, is the President of Rritual. His work has been published in peer-review journals about therapies involving cannabis and ketamine. His outspoken stance on these subjects landed him an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast in 2019. On-air, he discussed the use of psychedelic medicines as a treatment for mental health conditions, including PTSD.
Stacie Gillespie is CCO and Director of Formulations for Rritual. She has over 25 years of leadership in the branding and product strategies used by wellness companies. She has leveraged this expertise for companies such as Aura Cacia, MegaFood and Gaia Herbs. She is the creator of multiple award-winning consumer health products.
Sarton Molnar-Fenton is Vice President of Sales-USA for Rritual. She started her career with Vitamin Water, with other large companies under her belt, including Danone, as a District Manager. She worked with Nestle on its Tribe Hummus brand and played an integral part in relaunching the brand, gaining category share and establishing product development partnerships with companies like Trader Joe’s. She also played a key role in launching the Hydralyte brand in the United States.
Scott Naccarrato is the company’s Vice President of Sales-Canada. He is experienced in sales with a deep connection in retail. Recently, he worked with Nutiva, assisting in the pioneering of Organic MCT oil, healthy fats and the plant-based protein categories. He is data-oriented in his approach, which has resulted in over $100 million in sales and double-digit year-over-year growth for the brands of which he has been a part.
Sanwire Corp. (SNWR)
Sanwire Corp. (SNWR) is a diversified company currently focused on technologies for the music industry. The company specializes in locating unique opportunities in fragmented markets and implementing its aggregated technologies to consolidate distinct services into unified platforms of delivery. Sanwire is currently focusing these efforts on advanced entertainment technologies.
Founded in 1997 and based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Sanwire has operated and sold several subsidiaries as it has worked in various industry segments, including Sanwire Software Inc., Bullmoose Mines Ltd. and Squeeze Report Inc. Currently, there are two new holdings that were added to the company’s portfolio through two recent acquisitions, including Intercept Music Inc. in March 2020 and the Art is War Record Label in June 2020.
Intercept Music Inc. – Artist-Focused Services
Intercept Music Inc. is an entertainment technology company offering a unique suite of artist-focused services that are specifically designed to meet the needs of recording artists. Intercept’s proprietary online platform is dedicated to helping millions of global independent artists effectively promote their music and distribute it worldwide to hundreds of digital stores and every major streaming platform, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora and Google Music.
With Intercept Music, recording artists have all the tools needed to market, promote and sell their music online and through social media. Comprehensive reporting allows artists to track the fan response to their releases, all the way down to individual music tracks.
There are three foundations of Intercept Music’s product offering:
- Its music distribution platform that is well augmented via the company’s partnership with InGrooves, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Music, which is arguably one of the largest music companies in the world.
- Its social media system, which is tailored to work the way artists use social media to promote their music and engage with their fans. The scheduling system integrates artists’ profiles across multiple social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) to facilitate new audience sampling, fan development and the ability for music to be previewed and purchased.
- The third is represented by the team of developers that brings a unique combination of deep technical expertise (in products like Skype), a team of well-accomplished executives and what the company calls Brand Ambassadors – senior reps from multiple genres who have helped artists earn over 100 Grammys.
Intercept Music is the confluence of technology and this music expertise.
The company currently markets three plans to its clients, with each offering different distribution and royalty options, as well as various marketing and reporting options. The plans are described below:
- Intercept Distro is a basic plan for self-service music distribution with royalty collection. Artists keep 100% of the royalties while receiving unlimited releases and full analytics with reporting.
- Intercept Artist includes all of the benefits of the basic Distro plan with added emphasis on social marketing and distribution for emerging artists. With this plan, artists receive scheduled and ad-hoc posting, social media reporting, reusable content libraries and access to other valuable features.
- Intercept PLUS is available by invite only and is for established artists looking for a complete suite of marketing, distribution and monetization services. The PLUS plan includes everything available through the Distro and Artist plans, as well as offering a dedicated service representative, a branded online store, on-demand merchandise, additional marketing, YouTube monetization and other pro features.
Intercept PLUS is the flagship plan. Artists of this caliber often do $3-$10k/month in merchandise sales alone, at 50%+ profit. Intercept is responsible for marketing to the fan base through its social media system and shares in the profits generated. The stores are managed by intercept so both top-line revenues and bottom-line profits flow through Intercept.
Intercept Music has partnered with Ingrooves Music Group, the largest online music distribution company in the world, for worldwide distribution to streaming services and leading stores. Completing more than 50 billion transactions weekly across over 150 countries, Ingrooves supplies music to leading streaming music platforms and lists some of the world’s largest and most reputable music labels among its clients. The partnership allows Intercept Music and its clients to reach a much wider audience and start earning revenue as soon as possible by leveraging Ingrooves’ quality control systems and direct relationships with leading music streaming services.
Physical Distribution Options for Intercept Music Clients
In a press release on June 25, 2020, Intercept Music announced that it would be offering artists physical distribution through major retailers such as Amazon, FYE and Walmart (http://nnw.fm/NSrbE). The physical distribution will consist of CDs and vinyl and will serve as a supplement to the online streaming platform access provided by the company to represented artists.
“In the current climate, artists can’t play shows or otherwise engage in public at all, so they’re focusing on all other opportunities to bring in revenue,” Intercept Music President Tod Turner stated in a news release. “Our only priority is to help artists monetize music in every way, and with physical distribution added to the mix, we’re leaving no stone unturned in helping artists to earn money from their creative output.”
Creation of Preferred Stock
On June 29, 2020, Sanwire CEO Christopher Whitcomb announced that the company would be filing certificates of designation with the Nevada Secretary of State for its Series A, B and C preferred stock (http://nnw.fm/svrQt).
Speaking about this designation in a news release, Whitcomb stated, “Our paramount goal is to maintain a balanced approach between future investments and shareholder value while minimizing shareholder dilution. The effective utilization of preferred stock ensures our company can grow with the least amount of shareholder dilution.”
Sanwire is leveraging a multi-dimensional strategy that includes additional acquisitions, attracting investors and enhancing the current balance sheet while minimizing dilution for shareholders. A primary goal of these efforts is to support Intercept’s ongoing operations.
For the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2020, Sanwire announced significant revenue growth related to the acquisitions of Intercept Music and Art is War Records. Since acquiring Intercept Music in March and Art is War Records in June, Sanwire’s revenue has increased by approximately 300% (http://nnw.fm/j0S0j). Sanwire attributes the increase in revenue to Intercept Music’s customer acquisition and the release of its PLUS plan.
For the third quarter, revenue is expected to continue an upward climb, owing largely to physical distribution plans and a rising number of PLUS subscribers. The company’s acquisition of Art is War Records is also expected to fuel this growth.
Christopher M. Whitcomb is the current CEO of Sanwire Corp. and Intercept Music Inc. He is a CPA in the state of California, holding bachelor’s degrees in accounting, corporate finance and business management with a focus on real estate. A seasoned executive, his business ventures are always strongly focused on the development and financing of companies.
Whitcomb worked alongside Ralph Tashjian at SMC Entertainment Inc. and Digital Music Universe. They are currently working together again following Sanwire’s acquisition of Intercept Music, which was founded by Tashjian.
Sharing Services Global Corporation (SHRG)
Sharing Services Global Corporation (SHRG), formerly Sharing Services Inc., is a diversified company dedicated to maximizing shareholder value, operating through two primary subsidiaries: Elepreneurs Holdings, a direct-selling company, and Elevacity Holdings, a products company. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, SHRG markets and distributes Elevate-branded health and wellness products through an independent sales force of distributors called Elepreneurs.
SHRG’s current exclusive Elevate product offerings are marketed under the Elevacity brand, so named to signify the company’s commitment to elevating lives.
The Elevate health and wellness product line consists of nutraceutical products that SHRG refers to as D.O.S.E., which stands for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins – all of which are key hormones proven to promote happiness and well-being.
Elevacity brand products are carefully formulated, chosen and designed to support a single objective: elevate the happiness and well-being of the consumer.
Global Network of Elepreneurs
Elevacity products are shared and sold by a growing international network of home-based entrepreneurs, called Elepreneurs, operated by Elepreneurs Holdings. This SHRG subsidiary provides basic and advanced programs for both new and experienced entrepreneurs who are focusing on their direct-sales careers.
SHRG’s high-performing independent sales force follows the company’s Blue Ocean selling strategy, an approach that encourages individuals to seek new markets, lead, and to “stop competing and start creating.” The Blue Ocean strategy is based on the book, “Blue Ocean Strategy,” written by Professor Renée Mauborgne, who notes that “the lesson here is that the best defense is offense, and the best offense… is to make a blue ocean shift and create your own blue ocean.”
Following this selling strategy, SHRG’s Elepreneurs are taught that, rather than competing directly in a competitive, direct-selling market, they should focus on making competitors irrelevant and succeeding in an uncontested marketplace.
In addition, SHRG’s Elepreneurs use the interactive, video-based VERB sales-marketing platform developed by Verb Technology Company Inc. The app utilizes proprietary interactive video data collection and analysis technology and provides next-generation customer relationship management, lead generation, and video marketing software applications.
Continued Momentum as Industry Leader
These selling strategies have resulted in sharp and consistent revenue gains. In the company’s 10-Q filed with the SEC for the three months ended Oct. 31, 2019, SHRG reported sales of $38.8 million for fiscal Q2 2019, an increase of 116% over sales of $17.9 million reported for the comparable quarter of 2018. Consolidated gross profit jumped by $16.2 million to $27.4 million for the same period compared to Q2 2018.
SHRG’s consolidated operating earnings were $3.9 million in the fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31, 2019, compared to $866,802 for the comparable period the prior year. Consolidated gross margin also grew 70.9% for the three months ended Oct. 31, 2019, compared to 62.2% the prior year.
These numbers are continuing a trend established over the past two years. In fiscal Q1 2019, SHRG achieved revenues of $35.4 million, more than double that of the comparable period in 2018. Even earlier, the company reported sales of $85.9 million for fiscal year ended April 30, 2019. This represents a nine-fold increase, or $77.5 million jump, over the company’s revenues of $8.4 million the prior year.
These numbers bring SHRG’s sales revenues since December 2017 — when the company’s Elevate product line was released — to an impressive cumulative total of $169 million.
Preparing for Success
SHRG is well prepared to continue and accommodate for this growth. The company recently expanded its corporate footprint by moving to a 10,000-square-foot facility in Plano, Texas, that offers ample room to expand as the company grows and flourish. The larger corporate locale provides space for a growing customer service department, product fulfillment, opportunity and training rooms, as well as a video production suite.
In addition, the company has a seasoned, expert leadership team in place, led by John “JT” Thatch. Thatch was appointed president and CEO of SHRG in March 2018, bringing to the company his expertise obtained from successfully starting, owning and operating several businesses in various industries. His experience with corporate growth, acquisitions, financing and negotiation in fast-paced and flexible environments will significantly assist SHRG as the company aims to expand and increase revenues.
469.304.9400 x 201
Sigma Labs Inc. (NASDAQ: SGLB)
Sigma Labs Inc. (NASDAQ: SGLB) is the only provider of in-process quality-assurance software to the commercial 3D printing metal industry that enables operators of machines making 3D metal parts to offset emerging quality problems, sustain part quality, and avoid rejects. Sigma’s software is the singular solution that enables both real-time, in-process detection of quality control manufacturing irregularities for critical metal parts and then provides the operator the actionable information needed to adjust and mitigate the developing anomaly. Sigma Labs’ software represents a paradigm shift in the quality control process for the manufacture of 3D printed metal components. The nascent 3D metal printing industry is on the verge of radically altering the speed and technical complexity of manufactured parts. Further, it makes possible just-in-time availability of critical components – all at reduced cost, time, waste and weight. 3D printing, heralded as the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing, will only truly surpass traditional techniques when the additive manufacturing industry moves from “post process” quality control to “in process” quality assurance.
For the industry to move from prototype manufacturing of critical components to economically viable commercial production, the 3D metal printing industry must find ways to dramatically increase production speed and quality yields, and to dramatically decrease the excessive cost of quality control. To achieve these prerequisites and move 3D metal printing into the mainstream, parts must be inspected and certified during the manufacturing process rather than after. Parts in the production process that are developing signs of quality control problems must be identified in real-time and alerts must be issued. The problem, along with the solution, must then be communicated to the machine operator to implement repairs.
Revolutionizing Additive Manufacturing
Sigma Labs, with its PrintRite3D® brand, has established a new benchmark in the development and commercialization of real-time computer aided inspection (“CAI”) solutions. Sigma Labs resolves the major roadblocks and costly quality control challenges that impede the 3D manufacture of precision metal parts. The company’s breakthrough computer-aided software product revolutionizes commercial additive manufacturing, enabling non-destructive quality assurance during production, uniquely allowing errors to be corrected in real-time.
Sigma Labs was founded in 2010 by a team of Los Alamos National Labs scientists and engineers to develop and commercially license advanced metallurgical products for the military ordinance, dental implants, and then for additive manufacturing (3D printing). After assessing 3D metal printing technology and the costly, inconsistent quality control issues, Sigma Labs concluded that the enormous potential of 3D metal printing could only scale up if in-process quality-assurance tools were developed to observe, manage and control the manufacturing complexities in such a manner that reliability and repeatability of very high precision quality metal parts could be achieved in the process. Sigma Labs’ patented and third-party validated software has achieved these objectives and now delivers the critical elements needed to unleash the promise of 3D metal printing.
Sigma Labs’ products and services are engineered, manufactured and qualified for use in the highly demanding and hyper precise production environments of the aerospace, defense, transportation, oil and gas, biomedical and other precision-dependent industries.
Additive metal manufacturing combines multiple processes and parts into one single 3D printed part. Due to variances in the additive manufacturing process, parts of consistent quality currently can’t be reliably produced in either large or small quantities without substantial postproduction inspection and rejection costs. Parts are inspected after production using CT scans and other means, so the manufacturer doesn’t know until the very end which of the finished parts meet design specifications. This means lost time, lost profits and inability to economically scale up production.
Sigma Labs solves this problem with its patented, in-process quality control technology that informs operators and engineers how to improve both the manufacturing process and quality by capturing meaningful data about inconsistencies in real-time. Sigma Labs is also partnering with OEMs, working toward the visionary introduction of revolutionary closed-loop control that will bypass the machine operator and automatically make in process corrections by reducing machine variations.
Sigma Labs’ next generation technology gives manufacturers the ability to make fast, virtual real-time adjustments so that each finished part is uniform and within critical specifications, thereby improving production quality, decreasing end-users’ risks and waste, and increasing profits and speed to market. Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D® IPQA Software monitors and assesses the quality of each production part in the 3D additive manufacturing process – layer by layer, and in real-time. This has never been available until now.
Sigma Labs maintains a strong intellectual property portfolio consisting of trade secrets, process know-how and 34 patents either granted, pending or awaiting pre-publication around the globe. These patents encompass the fundamental technologies underlying Sigma Labs’ melt pool process control, data analytics, anomaly detection, signature identification, and future “closed-loop control” of 3D metal printing.
Providing advanced quality assurance software to the commercial 3D printing industry is currently a $1.4 billion addressable market expected to grow to $3.9 billion by 2023. Integrating Sigma Labs’ groundbreaking software helps arm the industry with a necessary catalyst to help enable and optimize the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing.
Sigma Labs’ global client base includes 23 installations across 19 different users. Tier-1 OEM enterprises and end-users such as Siemens, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and others are currently evaluating PrintRite3D® for production lines.
John Rice, CEO and chairman of the board of directors, has extensive experience as a CEO, lead negotiator, turnaround expert, business financier and crisis management executive/consultant. Prior to becoming chair and CEO of Sigma Labs, he was the CEO of a successful turn-around of a Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Rice has led a variety of companies in diverse business sectors and worked on a host of products and technologies including design and manufacture of high-end jet engine test equipment for the U.S. Airforce, chaff dispensers for F16s, software for modeling naval exercises, software for controlling warehouse distribution systems, medical radioisotopes, cancer detection, and cybersecurity. He is an honor’s graduate of Harvard College.
Darren Beckett, CTO, has over 20 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, including Intel Corporation, where he held various technical and managerial positions. His expertise in process engineering for advanced manufacturing technology includes statistical process control for fabrication of semiconductor devices.
CFO Frank D. Orzechowski also serves as treasurer, principal accounting officer, principal financial officer and corporate secretary. He has more than 30 years of distinguished financial and operational experience. Orzechowski began his career at Coopers & Lybrand in 1982, received his CPA certification in 1984, and received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting from Georgetown University in 1982.
Ronald Fisher, vice president of business development, is leading the commercialization of PrintRite3D® 5.0. Fisher is a mechanical engineer with hands-on experience in quality, manufacturing and product development. He has distinguished himself as a lead sales and marketing officer as well as a chief operating officer most recently before joining Sigma in technology startup that grew from market entry to successful exit by merger-acquisition.
Siyata Mobile Inc. (TSX.V: SIM) (OTCQX: SYATF)
Siyata Mobile Inc. (TSX.V: SIM) (OTCQX: SYATF) is a leading global developer and provider of Push-to-Talk Over Cellular ("PTT/PoC") systems for enterprise customers. The company specializes in connected vehicle products for professional fleets and markets its products under the Uniden® Cellular brand.
Since its inception in 2012, Siyata has amassed a customer base that includes cellular operators, commercial vehicle technology distributors, and fleets of all sizes in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and the Middle East.
Recognized by the Toronto Venture Stock Exchange in 2018 as a Venture Top 50 Company, Siyata aims to deliver the highest quality and most technologically advanced mobile communication devices for global corporate workforces, fleets, homes and buildings.
The company has long been an industry pioneer, delivering the world's first 3G connected vehicle device as well as the world's first 4G/LTE vehicle mounted smartphone for First Responders and commercial fleets and vehicles.
Siyata is headquartered in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Siyata's suite of technology includes numerous PTT and legacy devices, as well as cellular boosters designed to improve cellular signals in corporate warehouses, government embassies, retirement home campuses, banks and manufacturing plants.
The company's flagship product, the Uniden UV350, is the world's first vehicle-mounted 4G/LTE smartphone with crystal clear quality, carrier grade PTT, voice, text, video and data applications built into a single device. Specifically designed for First Responder and commercial fleet vehicles, the UV350 runs on cellular LTE networks that provide nationwide and global coverage, replacing traditional single purpose two-way radios that require a monthly fee and limited network coverage.
The Uniden UV350 is currently available through Bell Mobility, Canada's largest LTE network and PTT community. Expanding its availability, Siyata is completing network approval with two North American Tier 1 operators to launch the UV350 in the U.S. in 2019.
CEO and Chairman Marc Seelenfreund is the founder of Siyata. He is also the founder of Siyata's parent company, Accel Telecom, an Israel-based company that specializes in importing and distributing innovative cellular and IP devices to fixed line operators and mobile providers within Israel. Prior to establishing Accel, Seelenfreund was a vice president at Sunrise Corporation in New York where he focused on financing publicly traded technology companies. Seelenfreund has a law degree from Bar Ilan University, is a board member at Israel's leading private university, and has served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces.
Glenn Kennedy, vice president of sales, has over 25 years of sales experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to joining Siyata in 2016, Kennedy managed sales nationally for Motorola Canada, HTC Communications Canada, and Sonim Technologies. He holds a bachelor's degree in honors business administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
CFO Gerald Bernstein, a professional chartered accountant, has spent 20 years focusing on private equity financing and tax efficient corporate structuring in multi-jurisdictional arenas. He holds a bachelor's degree of commerce as well as a graduate diploma in public accountancy from McGill University. Bernstein has been a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1987.
Gidi Bracha, Vice President of Technology, has served in this position since 2011 and spearheaded the development of both the Truckfone, Voyager and UV350. Bracha served in various key positions at Cellcom, Israel's leading cellular provider, including head of car mobility products and director of type approvals. Bracha served as an engineer technician in the Anti-Aircraft division of the Air Force in the Israel Defense Forces and holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and business management from the University of Derby.
Spectrum Global Solutions, Inc. (SGSI)
Spectrum Global Solutions, Inc. (SGSI) is a leading single-source provider of end-to-end, next-generation wireless and wireline network infrastructure services and staffing solutions to the service provider (carrier) and corporate enterprise markets across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Caribbean. Spectrum Global Solutions provides services directly to carriers, aggregators, utilities, enterprise, Project Management Organizations (PMO) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) clientele through the following subsidiaries:
- AW Solutions, Inc. and AW Solutions Puerto Rico, LLC – Provides best-in-class communications infrastructure deployment services to carriers, OEMs, PMOs, utilities and enterprise clients by offering discrete and full turnkey service solutions for wireless and wireline clientele. AW Solutions holds professional engineering licenses in all contiguous states and in the District of Columbia and Hawaii; the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador; in Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- ADEX Corporation and ADEX Puerto Rico, LLC – An international service organization providing turnkey services and staffing solutions to telecommunications carriers and enterprise clients. Since 1993, ADEX has been assisting telecommunications companies throughout the project life cycle of any network deployment. ADEX and its service capabilities extend from the most basic installation functions to the most advanced engineering disciplines for today and tomorrow’s communications networks. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, ADEX employs technical professionals and provides infrastructure services worldwide via domestic and international locations.
- Tropical Communications, Inc. – A state licensed electrical and underground utility contractor headquartered in Miami, Florida, providing all types of communications and infrastructure facility structured wiring services and solutions since 1984.
Through its subsidiaries, Spectrum Global Solutions is a comprehensive single-source provider for professional services and solutions for the development, deployment and maintenance of wireless/Distributed Antenna System (DAS)/small cell/wireline and fiber networks and infrastructure. The company’s services range in scope from a single activity to multiyear, multi-region, large-scale turnkey development contracts with a deepening pool of international, national, regional and local projects. Spectrum Global Solutions has completed more than 150,000 project activities on wireless, DAS, wireline and fiber networks across the United States utilizing licensed professional engineers, project managers, technicians and general contractors.
Growth projections for the telecom industry show a high growth cycle 2018 through 2025 with a four-fold increase in domestic mobile data traffic and up to $150 billion in fiber investment over the next 5-7 years (Deloitte, 2017). The worldwide explosion of smart phones, tablets and BYOD by customers demanding rapid deployment of new apps, private networks with better coverage and enhanced capacity provides a compelling enterprise opportunity market. The imminent rollout of 5G next generation networks, IOT (Internet-Of-Things) technology deployments, the FirstNet national public safety system, small cell/network densification, Dish Network Deployment, fiber and infrastructure network builds for backhaul and expanded deployments, new FCC spectrum auctions and upgrades to 4G, DAS and small cell networks are contributing to a projected $157 billion in U.S. telecommunication carrier capital expenditures by 2021.
CEO Roger Ponder has served as a director of Spectrum Global Solutions since April 2017. Ponder served as President/CEO of Summit Capital Advisors, LLC, and Summit Broadband, LLC a provider of consulting services to private equity and institutional banking entities in the telecommunications, cable and media/internet sectors. He also served as a member of the board of directors of InterCloud Systems, Inc. and served as its Chief Operating Officer from November 2012 to March 2015. Prior to that Ponder retired from Time Warner Kansas City Division as President/CEO. Ponder brings extensive business development, strategic planning and operational experience to the Company.
Keith Hayter is President of Spectrum Global Solutions and has served as a director of the Company since April 2017. Hayter has also served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of AW Solutions Inc. and AW Solutions Puerto Rico LLC since November 2006. He was Vice President and General Manager of Alcoa Wireless Services from 2001-2006. Hayter served in both the U.S. and British armies and brings extensive multi-national experience in the start-up, development, management and growth of companies in the telecommunication, engineering and construction industry.
SRAX Inc. (NASDAQ: SRAX)
SRAX Inc. (NASDAQ: SRAX) is a digital marketing and consumer data management technology company. SRAX’s technology unlocks data to reveal brands’ core consumers and their characteristics across marketing channels.
Through its BIGtoken platform, SRAX has developed a consumer-managed data marketplace where people can own and earn from their data, thereby providing everyone in the internet ecosystem choice, transparency and compensation.
SRAX’s tools deliver a digital competitive advantage for brands in the CPG, automotive, investor relations, luxury and lifestyle verticals by integrating all aspects of the advertising experience, including verified consumer participation, into one platform.
- SRAX Core: SRAX Core is a custom digital media management platform that enables brands and agencies to surpass the challenges of omnichannel marketing campaigns. It offers one comprehensive dashboard to manage digital media campaigns, inventory and reporting.
- SRAX Social: SRAX Social is a free social media management tool that makes it easy for brands, agencies and individuals to grow their digital presence. It offers free and unlimited users, Facebook auto boosting, and a custom analytics dashboard. Its managed services team can also build and execute marketing plans for your unique specific needs.
- SRAX IR: SRAX IR unlocks stock buyers’ behaviors and trends for issuers of publicly traded companies. The platform provides insights on shareholders and market makers, investor relations management, shareholder outreach tools and data-driven marketing.
- SRAX Auto: SRAX Auto unlocks auto intenders’ data to create measurable connected experiences on the road to purchase. It offers proprietary auto intender profiles, multi touchpoint communication and custom location-based ads.
- SRAX Shopper: SRAX Shopper delivers a cross channel, premium digital experience at scale to high value shopper audiences. It offers proprietary shopper profiles, cost per click pricing, and custom text and add to cart ad units.
- SRAX Lux: Launched in June 2019, the SRAX Lux platform targets and reaches luxury consumers at luxury retail stores, high-end art, music, film, fashion and sports events, across all consumer devices.
BIGtoken, available for download on the App Store and Google Play, revolutionizes data collection. BIGtoken is a platform that creates a secure and transparent environment for consumers to own and earn from their data. To date, there are 15.9 million BIGtoken registered users worldwide.
The optimization and monetization of data is a multibillion-dollar business. Worldwide spending on big data and business analytics solutions reached $166 billion in 2018 and is projected to surge to $260 billion by 2022. BIGtoken’s consumer vision is committed to delivering choice, transparency and compensation to the individual.
Through BIGtoken, consumers earn rewards when they opt into sharing their data and when that data is purchased. Consumers decide what data is shared, who can buy it and how it’s used, and advertisers reach real, responsive audiences. The benefit of this is two-fold: consumers know how their data is used and advertisers gain verified consumer data for targeting.
Users of the BIGtoken app can officially be paid in cash or gift cards in exchange for giving brands access to their anonymized data, answering questions, checking into locations, recruiting new members, and more. Users can deposit their earnings directly into PayPal accounts or be paid through gift cards from favorite retailers such as Walmart.
SRAX has also partnered with several high-profile, nonprofit associations to provide BIGtoken users the ability to donate their earnings. Partnerships include the American Heart Association, dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke; HealthCorps, which helps high school students make better choices about health and physical fitness; and the ALS Association, which recently launched its Challenge Me campaign.
BIGtoken is formally launching into several international markets and partnering to foster local support. SRAX recently signed a joint venture with the Yash Birla Group to launch BIGtoken in India. Based in Mumbai, the Yash Birla Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates, has diversified interests in consumer and industrial products.
The partnership will bring BIGtoken’s platform to India, which has a digital population of 627 million. The India digital advertising market is $3.6 billion and is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32%, making it one of the largest growing digital ad markets in the world.
SRAX Mexico is led by Moe Avitia, who has more than 18 years of experience in business development and building high-tech teams. SRAX Mexico includes a team of 90 employees, including 70 engineers.
BIGtoken Europe is currently evaluating data centers in individual countries for privacy laws.
Christopher Miglino is CEO and founder of SRAX. He has spent the past 20 years working in the digital advertising space and has successfully launched and sold two internet companies. Both of these companies were sold to publicly traded companies on the NASDAQ. He has a detailed understanding of how technology interacts with brands.
Kristoffer Nelson is COO of SRAX and a founding member of BIGtoken. With over 15 years of technology and creative business experience, Nelson has been a guest speaker for Loyola Marymount University among other academic institutions, the National Association of Broadcasters, the IAB and numerous other professional and media organizations.
Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSX.V: SLL) (FRA: S5L) (OTC: STLHF)
Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSX.V: SLL) (FRA: S5L) (OTC: STLHF) is focused on unlocking the value of existing large-scale U.S.-based lithium brine resources that can quickly be brought into production. The Company believes new lithium production can rapidly be brought on stream by minimizing project risks at selection stage; resource, political & geographic, and regulatory & permitting; and by leveraging advances in lithium extraction technologies and processes.
The Company's flagship project is in southern Arkansas. The more than 180,000-acre "Smackover Project" is in the most prolific and productive brine processing region in North America. Agreements with large commercial brine operators in the region will allow Standard Lithium to utilize the extensive existing infrastructure, including brine supply and disposal pipelines, water, power and a trained workforce to fast-track project development timelines.
"Arkansas produces about 9.4 billion gallons of brine per year, according to 2010-2016 average statistics reported by the Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission."
Standard Lithium signed a binding MoU with global specialty chemicals company LANXESS Corporation and its U.S. affiliate Great Lakes Chemical Corporation with the purpose of demonstrating the commercial viability of extraction of lithium from brine ("tail brine") that is produced as part of LANXESS' bromine extraction business at its three Southern Arkansas facilities.
LANXESS' land operations in Southern Arkansas encompass more than 150,000 acres, 10,000 brine leases and surface agreements and 250 miles of pipelines. LANXESS extracts the brine from its wells located throughout the area, and the brine is transported to the three Arkansas plants through a network of pipelines. The three bromine extraction plants currently employ approximately 500 people and process and reinject several hundred thousand barrels of brine per day.
Standard Lithium has developed a breakthrough rapid lithium extraction process that reduces the recovery time of extracting lithium from brine to as little as several hours vs. the current industry method that takes years. The process is also much more environmentally friendly with a significantly smaller footprint than the conventional processes. The company has a signed agreement to locate a demonstration scale lithium extraction plant inside one of LANXESS' chemical plants in Southern Arkansas.
The Company has also signed an option agreement with NYSE-listed Tetra Technologies for the lithium rights for exploration, extraction, and possible commercial development on approximately 30,000 acres of brine leases in Southern Arkansas. The largest available land package.
Recent laboratory results of four brine samples recovered from two existing wells in Standard Lithium's project area showed lithium concentrations ranging between 347-461 mg/L lithium, with an average of 450 mg/L lithium in one of the wells and 350 mg/L in the other. Geological modeling of the project area is complete, and a maiden resource report is on the horizon.
World demand for lithium continues to surge. The global lithium compounds market is projected to reach U.S. $5.87 billion by 2020 at a compound annual growth rate of 13.22% between 2015 and 2020. Lithium-ion batteries are the fastest growing segment of the market.
Standard Lithium's commitment to being a premier, innovation-driven company focused on developing and commercializing new modern processes for lithium extraction is bolstered by the leading experts that comprise the company's Scientific Advisory Council. Each member was selected because of their experience and expertise in areas that are central to and/or complement Standard Lithium's current development plans. Standard Lithium recently welcomed to the Council world-renowned chemist Dr. Barry Sharpless, the recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions.
Standard Lithium is led by a team of professionals with proven strong technical and project development skills. CEO Robert Mintak has a global network of industry contacts and is a pioneer in the rapidly evolving lithium space. COO and President Dr. Andy Robinson is an experienced geoscientist with 20+ years of experience and a PhD in Geochemistry from the University of Bristol, UK. Dr. Robinson has worked on a wide range of projects in the resource, power and energy sectors in Europe, Africa, and North and South America.
The company recently appointed Robert Cross as non-executive chairman. Cross is an engineer with 25 years of experience as a financier and company builder in the mining and oil and gas sectors. He co-founded and serves as chairman of B2Gold, a top-performing growing gold producer which is expected to achieve nearly 1 million ounces of low-cost gold production in 2018. He was also co-founder and chairman of Bankers Petroleum Ltd.; co-founder and chairman of Petrodorado Energy Ltd.; and until October 2007 was the non-executive chairman of Northern Orion Resources Inc. He also was previously the chairman and CEO of Yorkton Securities Inc., and a partner in investment banking with Gordon Capital Corp. in Toronto. Cross has an engineering degree from the University of Waterloo (1982) and received an MBA from Harvard in 1987.
Following a multi-million-dollar financing in Q1 2018, Standard Lithium is well-positioned to meet its upcoming milestones including two maiden resource reports and the launch of its breakthrough rapid lithium extraction technology.
Sugarmade, Inc. (SGMD)
Sugarmade, Inc. (SGMD) is headquartered in Monrovia, California, where the company recognizes new opportunities in the cannabis delivery space and in the market for supplies to the quick-service restaurant industry – both of which have fast-changing dynamics due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the United States.
The Coronavirus Cannabis Boom Market
Retailers across the nation are closing their doors and curtailing operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, inherently pinching sales. In the California cannabis sector, however, business has never been better – especially relative to home delivery.
California’s cannabis industry continues to operate, and media reports reveal booming cannabis sales as the state’s citizens stay home to wait out current events. The Los Angeles Times recently published the headline, “Marijuana Sales on Fire amid Virus Outbreak; New York Post “Cannabis sales hit new highs”; USA Today “American Stock Up on Pot” Fox News “California marijuana sales surge”; and ABC News Cannabis Shops thrive in coronavirus pandemic.
The state of California benefits from the ultra-high taxes paid by the highly regulated cannabis industry, and has thus deemed cannabis companies as “essential” businesses, allowing for full operations to continue. While pot shops are seeing strong foot traffic, the real growth action is in-home delivery as consumers seek to embrace social distancing. Many delivery operators are reporting difficulty in meeting demand with sales growth of up to 10% sequentially each week. It is certainly a boom time for the industry.
Sugarmade Growth Strategy
Recognizing new investment and operational opportunities within California’s cannabis market, Sugarmade is strategizing to take advantage of opportunity specifically in delivery services (non-storefront retailer), manufacturing via co-branding, and selective genetic cultivation. The company is taking a highly selective approach, targeting only the best of these opportunities for company growth.
In line with this strategy is northern California delivery service Budcars, in which Sugarmade owns a 40% interest and an option to gain a controlling interest. Budcars connects consumers with premium products sourced from top-tier farms and extractors, offering a curated menu of fully compliant cannabis products. The company maintains a competitive advantage by sourcing premium cannabis offerings and same-day delivery. In addition to maintaining its own cars, California licenses, and fulfillment center, Budcar orders its premium products in bulk at lower prices, enabling the company to rein in costs and maintain competitive pricing for its customers. Currently serving major communities within the metropolitan area of Sacramento, Budcars plans to continue the expansion of the company’s delivery reach.
Sugarmade plans to continue its expansion into burgeoning new sectors of the cannabis market through the following avenues:
- Geographic expansion of Budcars delivery scope
- New delivery geographies
- Cannabis cultivation as a key component of a hybrid vertical integration strategy
- Product technology expansion—including products containing exotic and lesser-known cannabinoids
Sugarmade has positive market exposure to cannabis delivery, as well as to the restaurant industry, at a time when these businesses are being force to move toward take-out and delivery models in order to survive.
The company has various business operations in diverse marketplaces, including food, safe packaging and sanitary supplies for various industries, and agricultural supplies. Sugarmade entered the industrial hemp and CBD space by investing in Hempistry, Inc., a privately held Nevada corporation. Hempistry began planting an ultra-high cannabidiol (CBD) industrial hemp strain on a land option it holds on 5,000 acres of prime Kentucky farmland. The strain of industrial hemp being grown by Hempistry is ultra-rich in CBD but contains less than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis.
CarryOutSupplies.com, the leader in paper and plastic take-out supplies, serves nationwide customers by offering a wide array of high-quality products that are cost-efficient, custom-made and delivered on time. This business unit currently serves 2,000 quick service restaurants, garnering from 30%-40% of the market share. Sugarmade plans to expand operations via the addition of market share and the introduction of new product offerings.
There is little doubt among industry participants, and recently confirmed by Forbes, that California is the single largest cannabis market in the world. The state is expected to produce more than $3.5 billion in cannabis sales during 2020, with growth topping 23% annually. The global industrial hemp market size was estimated at $4.71 billion in 2019 and is expected to register a revenue-based CAGR of 15.8% over the forecast period of 2016-2027, according to Grandview Research. Market growth drivers include the 2018 Farm Bill and society’s increasing knowledge of the benefits of hemp products.
Overall industry growth is great, but specific vertical sector growth is even better. Cannabis delivery is clearly the fastest growing sector of the marketplace and with coronavirus fears the already robust growth rate has accelerated.
Sugarmade seems to be in the right industry at the right time in history.
CEO Jimmy Chan is an experienced business executive instrumental in growing multiple business operations with a strong expertise in international trade and banking, and international manufacturing and importation. He is also the founder of CarryOutSupplies.com, a company that revolutionized the custom-printed paper supplies subsector of the quick-service restaurant industry, which merged with Sugarmade in 2014.
Dedicated to getting the highest caliber of THC and CBD to its customers’ door, the company’s priority is to ensure that they receive the highest quality cannabis product free from logistical hassles. Sugarmade specializes in growing and acquiring innovative brands to maximize value for company employees, shareholders and other stakeholders. Sugarmade believes its future is very bright as the company expands operations within the cultivation sector and rapidly increases its revenue base.
Sustainable Green Team Ltd. (SGTM)
Sustainable Green Team Ltd. (SGTM), through its subsidiaries, including National Storm Recovery LLC (DBA Central Florida Arbor Care and Mulch Manufacturing Inc.), provides tree services, debris hauling, removal and bio-mass recycling, manufacturing, packaging and sales of next-generation mulch products. The company’s primary corporate objective is to provide a solution for the treatment and handling of tree debris that is historically sent to local landfills and disposal sites, creating an environmental burden and pressure on disposal sites around the nation.
SGTM and the solutions provided by its Sustainable Green Team are founded in sustainability. The company’s vertically integrated operations begin with the collection of tree debris through its tree services division and collection sites. Tree bio-mass is then moved through the processing division for recycling and manufacturing into a variety of organic, attractive, next-generation mulch products to be packaged and sold to retailers, landscapers, installers and garden centers.
The company’s solutions create a synergistic and environmentally beneficial solution to tree and storm waste disposal that historically has created an environmental burden on landfills and disposal sites around the nation.
SGTM’s customers include governmental, residential and commercial customers and now big box retailers. The company is headquartered in Florida.
SGTM in February 2020 acquired 35-year-old industry leader and innovator Mulch Manufacturing Inc., an Ohio corporation. Structured as a share exchange, this strategic partnership provides SGTM with a significantly larger footprint in the mulch industry.
The acquisition includes Mulch Manufacturing’s national and international distribution agreements, an increase in production and packaging capacity, and its sales contracts with numerous big box retailers. Mulch Manufacturing includes mulch production, sawmill operation, Natures Reflections colorant manufacturing and equipment manufacturing.
SGTM’s vision and commitment to the environment is paired with Mulch Manufacturing’s revolutionary “next-generation” mulch product, Nature’s Reflection’s Softscape®.
Softscape mulch products, created from natural forest products, are color-enhanced with environmentally safe colorants to provide four-year color retention and are free from contaminants. Safe for people and pets, Softscape allows water and air to penetrate soil and roots, which is vital to plant health and growth.
SGTM plans to expand its operations through a combination of organic growth, through its partnership with a nationally recognized waste disposal company, and through strategic acquisitions that are both accretive to earnings and positioned for rapid growth from the resulting synergistic opportunities identified.
The company has received final zoning approval for its 100-acre site, located in Lake County, Astatula, Florida, which will serve as its flagship tree debris collection site. The facility will also house the company’s mulch manufacturing, soil composting and production bagging. This prime location includes a 5,000-square-foot building that contains warehouse and office space. The 100-acre property can accommodate millions of cubic yards of organic debris and will allow SGTM’s debris hauling division to realize significant savings on its transportation costs.
SGTM has chosen as its new headquarters the 100,000-square-foot Mulch Manufacturing building in Jacksonville, Florida. The facility comprises centralized operations of Mulch Manufacturing Inc. and National Storm Recovery LLC and has ample room to expand as needed.
SGTM’s leadership team boasts more than 40 years of next-level experience with mulch manufacturing, treating and caring for trees. This team is guided by a roster of highly qualified professionals:
- Tony Raynor, Chief Executive Officer
- Edward Lee, Chief Operating Officer
- Ralph Spencer, Director of Business Development, Strategic Acquisitions
- Steve Ogden, ISA-Certified Arborist
- Rick Starcher, Master Chemist
- Peder K. Davisson, Esq., Corporate/Securities Counsel
The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER)
Founded in 2012, The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER)is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Its flagship product, Alkaline88®, is a leading premier alkaline water brand available in bulk and single-serve sizes, along with eco-friendly aluminum packaging options. With its innovative, state-of-the-art proprietary electrolysis process, Alkaline88® delivers perfect 8.8 pH balanced alkaline drinking water with trace minerals and electrolytes and boasts the company’s trademarked label ‘Clean Beverage’. Quickly being recognized as a growing lifestyle brand, Alkaline88® launched A88 Infused™ in 2019 to meet consumer demand for flavor-infused products. A88 Infused™ flavored water is available in six unique all-natural flavors, with new flavors coming soon. Additionally, in 2020, the company launched the A88CBD™ brand, featuring a broad line of topical and ingestible products. These products are made with lab-tested full and broad-spectrum hemp and include salves, balms, lotions, essential oils, bath-salts, CBD infused drinks, tinctures, capsules, gummies and powder packs.
Innovation and Expansion
Founded in 2012, The Alkaline Water Company began with a mission to create the best-tasting water in the world. At the time, there were two emerging trends in health-conscious consumers: a growing interest in the alkaline diet and perceived health benefits of pink Himalayan rock salt. By combining these two concepts in an alkaline water and trademarking the name Alkaline88, The Alkaline Water Company began offering what it calls the smoothest tasting Clean Beverage™ in the U.S. enhanced-water category.
Now a top bulk alkaline-water brand (the company reported record sales in March and April 2020, surpassing March and April 2019 numbers by 114% and 171%, respectively), The Alkaline Water Company is committed to growing its national footprint through innovation and expansion. That mindset was evident as the company introduced eco-friendly aluminum bottles and branched out into flavor-infused waters; the company currently offers six different flavors: peach/mango, lemon/lime, raspberry, watermelon, blood orange and lemon.
The company’s commitment to innovation may be most evident in its newest product line: A88CBD. This line of CBD-infused products includes tinctures, capsules, gummies, salves, balms, hand and foot lotions, essential oils, bath bombs and bath salts, as well as CBD-infused drinks, water and beverage shots. These quality, CBD-infused offerings are all made with lab-tested, full-spectrum hemp and are conveniently packaged and perfect for on-the-go or at home use.
In addition, The Alkaline Water Company has implemented an aggressive growth strategy, with numerous organic initiatives focused on national multichannel, mass-market expansion through a direct-to-warehouse model and co-packing facilities that are strategically located within 600 miles of 95% of the U.S. population. In addition to this strong brick-and-mortar approach, the company recently launched a B2C e-commerce platform (www.A88CBD.com) and aggressive digital-marketing campaigns.
Clear Advantages in a Growing Market
With consistent growth year over year, the company reported $32.2 million in revenue in fiscal 2019 and has emerged as a growth leader in the functional (value-added) waters space, which is the fastest-growing segment of the bottled water industry.
The Alkaline Water Company’s efforts are focused on its clear competitive advantages, including its strong marketing (the inclusion of alkaline in product names); existing grocery channels, which feature excellent relationships and a nationwide broker network; distinctive branding; proprietary technology, which produces great-tasting, high-quality water, infused drinks and other products; and price, with a broad range of products in all formats, from bulk bottles to single serve.
As the company focuses on strategic growth, it is eyeing the impressive potential of a market that is on a strong upswing. Annual bottled water sales have now surpassed soda consumption, with soda sales in the United States having declined by $1.2 billion over the past five years. Some research indicates that the global bottled water market will reach an estimated $280 billion this year, while the CBD market is forecast to top $20 billion by 2024.
With its products available in all major trade channels, including grocery stores, drug stores, c-stores and big-box retailers, The Alkaline Water Company is also looking to expand into new spaces, such as health and beauty, hospitality and specialty retailer locations.
Seasoned Management Team
The Alkaline Water Company is led by an experienced team focused on the company’s core strategy of building a national retail footprint and extending its lifestyle brands into other consumer packaged goods categories.
Richard A. Wright, President, CEO and Co-Founder of The Alkaline Water Company Inc., oversees all aspects of the business, successfully guiding the company through strategic opportunities and delivering greater than 50% growth since the company’s inception. A passionate and versatile leader with a strong track record of innovation, collaboration and achieving goal-driven results, Wright is a serial entrepreneur with more than 41 years of experience. Early in his career, he spent years at one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, working his way up to Regional Director of Tax and Financial Planning. As a CPA, entrepreneur and former CFO, Wright brings extensive knowledge of finance, operations, sales and marketing to the team, and he has participated in hundreds of M&A transactions throughout his career.
David Guarino, CFO, Secretary, Treasurer and Director, earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Denver. From 2008 to 2013, Guarino was President and a Director of Kahala Corp., a worldwide franchisor of multiple quick-service restaurant brands with locations in 49 states and more than 25 countries. From 2014 to 2015, Guarino was President of HTI International Holdings Inc., a technology company focused on forward osmosis water filtration technology.
Frank Chessman, National Sales Manager, is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He spent 25 years with Ralph’s Grocery, Kroger’s largest division, working at many levels before ultimately becoming Vice President of Advertising & Marketing. He then served 14 years as Executive Vice President at Simon Marketing. Chessman has more than a decade of experience in the beverage manufacturing industry.
Brian Sudano, Director, is managing partner of Beverage Marketing Corporation and BMC Strategic Associates. Sudano’s experience covers nearly the entire beverage industry, from energy drinks to wine, with special expertise in beverage alcohol by virtue of varied industry experience across a broad range of projects. Sudano manages several major clients, providing ongoing strategic and market advice and leading projects in strategic planning, market entry analysis and planning, sales/distribution, business modeling, brand repositioning and international opportunity assessment. He has spoken at many beverage industry events and is a contributing editor at Beverage World magazine.
Aaron Keay, Chairman, has been a successful investor, entrepreneur and financier to multiple small cap and startup companies over the last decade. During his time with these companies, he served in advisor, board-member and senior-management roles. His experience ranges across multiple sectors in mining, biotech, health and wellness, tech and cannabis, where he has invested and raised more than $500 million.
Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF)
Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) is committed to providing premium brands and products that reflect the company’s knowledgeable customers, passionate employees and culture of innovation. The company aims to grow the world’s best legal cannabis and become a leader in the global industry. Supreme Cannabis calls its Toronto Venture Exchange stock symbol, “FIRE,” a testament to the company’s passion for cannabis and obsession with quality.
Supreme Cannabis believes the world is ready to follow Canada’s lead by ending the 100-year cannabis prohibition and, as one of Canada’s most premium cannabis producers, the company sees itself at the center of this global shift.
A key piece of Supreme Cannabis’ ability to fulfill its mission is its flagship brand, 7ACRES, a wholly owned subsidiary that operates a 440,000-square-foot hybrid cultivation facility in Kincardine, Ontario. 7ACRES is focused on building a core competency in scaled high-quality cannabis production. With a best-in-class cultivation facility producing a competitive product that fuels a leading premium brand, Supreme Cannabis has achieved a differentiated advantage in cultivation IP, products and branding. The company’s foundational investment in premium cultivation has secured it a leadership position in the industry as the Canadian market becomes more competitive and matures.
Since legalization, 7ACRES has brought five premium flower strains to market in Canada. The demand for 7ACRES product continues with the company’s most recent launch of Jack Haze, a new proprietary premium cultivar. The company’s first sativa-dominant strain, Jack Haze offers rare sensory characteristics, delivering high THC content with a terpinolene forward profile, including a complex aroma with notes of citrus, pine and warm spice. As it develops its next winning strain, 7ACRES continues to prioritize subjective quality. In the Canadian cannabis market, this approach has established 7ACRES as a well-known premium brand that commands premium pricing coast-to-coast.
In addition to 7ACRES, Supreme Cannabis has built a diversified portfolio of focused consumer-driven brands:
- Sugarleaf by 7AC – this new brand widens Supreme Cannabis’ product offerings and targets consumers who are looking for more refined, milder consumption experience as they discover their own cannabis taste preferences and desires. Product formats under this brand are focused on offering consumers elegant and convenient cannabis experiences.
- Blissco — dedicated to providing wellness focused consumers with premium cannabis products, education, and outstanding customer care. Blissco is focused on bringing its collection of premium whole-flower CBD oils to market.
- Truverra — focused on being a global leader in the development, production and marketing of hemp and cannabis-derived medicinal products with clinically proven efficacy. With over 25 SKUs sold online in the UK and Europe, Truverra is ideally positioned to address emerging international cannabis opportunities.
- Khalifa Kush Enterprises — formed through a prestigious international partnership with Khalifa Kush Enterprises (KKE) Canada, the Canadian counterpart to the popular U.S. cannabis brand KKE formed by Wiz Khalifa. Together, Supreme Cannabis and KKE Canada are developing and launching a lineup of premium cannabis products, including a future line based on the well-known Khalifa Kush strain.
Each of Supreme Cannabs’ brands and partnerships have been strategically identified and designed to support the company’s mission to enhance the lives of consumers through positive cannabis experiences. Equally important to delivering desirable consumer experiences is the infrastructure supporting the company’s brands and products. From seed to sale, supreme cannabis continues to build an impressive group of operating assets that serve key functions throughout the value chain:
- Cultivation – for starters, there is Supreme Cannabis’ foundational flagship asset, its 440,000-square-foot cultivation facility in Kincardine, Ontario. With over 600 employees, 24 grow rooms, and best-in-class processing equipment and procedures, this facility is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 50,000 kilograms in the near-term. In this purpose-built facility, the company grows small-batch high-quality cannabis from 10,000-square-foot grow rooms and completes a proprietary hang-dry for up to two weeks.
- Extraction – with the acquisition of Blissco in fiscal 2019, in addition to the Blissco wellness brand, Supreme Cannabis gained a 12,000-square-foot dedicated extraction facility in Langley, BC. This facility conducts both C02 and ethanol extraction and with the recent receipt of its oil sales license from Health Canada, it now produces Blissco branded CBD oils and expects to fill vaporizer pods for a partnership between the company’s 7ACRES brand and Pax Labs.
- Manufacturing – most recently, the company announced its 107,000-square-foot processing, packaging and manufacturing facility in Kitchener, naming the facility Supreme Cannabis Kitchener. In Q4 FY2020, the company expects to begin whole flower packaging and pre-roll manufacturing for Supreme Cannabis brands at the Kitchener Facility. In the long-term, in additional to processing its own inputs, Supreme Cannabis intends generate incremental revenue by packaging, distributing and branding third-party cannabis inputs from quality-focused cultivators.
- R&D and Product Testing – In Q1 FY2020, Supreme Cannabis closed the acquisition of Truverra and acquired a 5,000-square-foot facility licensed under Canadian Clinical Cannabinoids Inc. in Scarborough, Ontario (“Supreme Cannabis Scarborough”). Supreme Cannabis Scarborough provides R&D space for the company to test new products and develop medicinal science intellectual property. In the near-term, with the legalization of 2.0 cannabis products, this centre for innovation will be testing and bringing concentrate products to market under the 7ACRES brand.
Supreme is committed to continue to identify new opportunities to grow and strengthen its impressive portfolio of operating assets and brands and scale its strong Canadian business globally.
The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTC: TGODF)
The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTC: TGODF), whose principal location is in Hamilton, Ontario, produces farm grown, organic, pesticide-free medical cannabis in small batches using all natural, organic craft growing principles. TGOD is licensed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) to cultivate medical cannabis. The company carries out its principal activities producing cannabis pursuant to the provisions of the ACMPR and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada).
Committed to becoming the global leader in delivering organic cannabis solutions that enhance people's lives, TGOD consistently adheres to the highest levels of excellence. Its world-class management team includes a proven group of leaders with outstanding executive and operational experience specific to consumer packaged goods, consumer products, cannabis and finance industries.
TGOD is positioned as one of the highest quality and most cost efficient cannabis producers in Canada by leveraging innovative technology and low-cost power solutions. It holds one of the largest land packages under a single ACMPR license in Canada, providing future cannabis Agri-park style development and opportunities for joint ventures, licensing and distribution partners. Its industry leading alliance partners include Eaton, Ledcor Group and Hamilton Utilities Corp.
Eaton is the second largest power management company in the world and promises to supply innovative and cost effective power solutions to meet TGOD's growing demands. Construction management is supplied by Ledcor, Canada's second largest multidisciplinary construction company and a pioneer in the Green Building Industry. An alliance with Hamilton Utilities Corp allows TGOD to reduce its power costs from $0.13 per kWh to less than $0.05 per kWh. Greenhouse design is provided by Larssen Greenhouse, whose 25-plus years of experience in building some of the most modern and sophisticated greenhouses in the industry will provide TGOD with state of the art, climate-controlled hybrid greenhouse solutions.
Canada is quickly becoming a hub for cannabis investors with over $1.3 billion raised by Canadian companies to date. There are 58 licensed producers to service a population of 36 million and only two organic producers. TGOD, which holds licenses in Ontario and Quebec, is strategically located in both provinces that together claim 22 million Canadians as residents. Another estimated 57 million people live next door in six U.S. bordering states.
The Canadian cannabis market currently has a massive supply demand gap, which makes TGOD's expansion plans even more important to investors. These plans include a combined build-out capacity of 970,000 square feet, allowing TGOD to produce 116,000 kg annually of organic cannabis. Upon completion, Phase One in Hamilton, Ontario, which is fully funded, will provide 150,000 square feet of growing capacity capable of producing up to 14,000 kg of cannabis or $112 million in revenue at $8 a gram.
The company's Quebec expansion will be constructed on a recently secured 75-acre property near Montreal. This new property has a planned expansion of 820,000 square feet capable of producing 102,000 kg of organic cannabis. The first phase of this expansion is underway and construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Quebec's first phase will consist of 220,000 square feet capable of producing 22,000 kg of cannabis. Two additional expansion phases will add 250,000 square feet (26,000 kg of cannabis) and 350,000 square feet (54,000 kg of cannabis). Power costs remain exceptionally low for both facilities with access to all other needed utilities available and close by.
TGOD also plans to gain a share of the burgeoning cannabis oils market which by Q1 2017 accounted for 49 percent of all cannabis sold in Canada under the ACMPR, up from only 27% in Q2 2016. TGOD has ordered a purpose-built extraction laboratory with an estimated commission in Q4 of 2017. This is a commercial-scale CO2 extraction unit capable of processing up to 12,000 kg of raw material per year and producing approximately $170 million worth of organic cannabis oils. Raw cannabis oil provides a significant downstream manufacturing opportunity into several potential recreational market verticals including edibles, beverages, topicals and concentrates.
Data from the Canadian ACMPR Market Trends report indicates a rising number of consumers will continue to seek out healthier, less conspicuous ways to consume cannabis, ensuring sales of organic cannabis oil products remain brisk. Organic cannabis products demand a significant premium compared to non-organic products and the demand keeps growing.
Plans to take the company public are underway with an initial public offering (IPO) slated for January 2018. In November, the company raised $13 million in equity financing and in March closed a $27 million non-brokered private placement. Another $20 million is currently being raised before the IPO in January, which will be utilized for expansion plans.
TGOD is uniquely positioned between the medical and recreational cannabis industry since Canada is scheduled to legalize cannabis for all adults in mid-2018. As of August 2017, TGOD has 2,400 shareholders. Established in 2012, TGOD's motto, "Making Life Better," can be seen in its strategic partnerships, top quality management team, and dedication to organic farming and principles.
The Movie Studio Inc. (OTC: MVES)
The Movie Studio Inc. (OTC: MVES) is a vertically integrated motion picture production company focused on acquiring, developing, producing and distributing independent motion picture content for worldwide consumption via subscription and advertiser video on demand (SVOD/AVOD), over the top (OTT) platforms, foreign sales and various media devices. The company is currently engaged in establishing its own OTT VOD platform to integrate both its own and aggregated feature film projects, television programming and other media intellectual properties. The Movie Studio is disrupting traditional media content delivery systems with its digital business model of motion picture distribution, and the company intends to create a direct server access platform of its content with geo-fractured territories for worldwide distribution.
The company has launched The Movie Studio App on Google Play and the App Store, enabling users to both view the company’s content and potentially become part of it. The app is in the completion stage, and The Movie Studio is conducting its final beta test of the app’s unique “audition submission” function, leveraging the company’s “Watch Our Movies, Be in Our Movies!” content platform and “Everyone’s a Star” campaign, which will be marketed via social media. Using the app, subscribers can upload a thumbnail photo of themselves along with a selfie video audition submission that showcases them reading character dialog. Audition submissions will then be reviewed by producers for possible participation of the auditionee in upcoming feature films.
The audition submission function provides the subscriber the ability to disrupt traditional motion picture casting and management, enabling access to participation in The Movie Studio’s independent motion picture and media content. At the same time, for the company this significantly reduces capital expenditures associated with those traditional media mechanisms. The Movie Studio’s unique business model capitalizes on the global demand for film content through the production and distribution of its own films while also providing opportunities for direct viewer involvement in its content.
The company operates using a growth-by-acquisition strategy that includes:
- Purchasing legacy film libraries.
- Upgrading acquired films to 4K resolution and remonetizing with “new” film content on popular VOD streaming platforms across the internet.
- Strategic partnerships and media content alignment with other OTT platforms and cross-collateralization of leverageable media assets for worldwide distribution.
- Producing micro-budget motion picture content with substantial production value utilizing new 4K technology and the company’s extensive legacy resources and unique production process, thereby significantly reducing capital expenditures while allowing for the potential of significant return on investment (ROI) with one successful production.
- Controlling its revenue streams through server-driven geo-fracturing global territories and its own OTT platform.
Currently, The Movie Studio is producing three upcoming feature films: “Cause and Effect,” “The Last Warhead” and “PEGASUS” — all with completed electronic press kits and pitch decks and fully produced motion picture-quality trailers ready for talent, distribution and financial integration.
The company has been successful in producing, casting and distributing its films on major SVOD platforms without recognizable stars, which reduces capital expenditures. However, The Movie Studio intends to integrate recognizable stars into the productions at value propositions either pre- or post-completion of the intellectual property.
Through successful beta testing, The Movie Studio has monetized film assets on the Amazon, tubi tv, Comcast and Showtime platforms.
The company’s proposed server-based model will provide licensing payment from global territories without third-party distribution fees, which have traditionally been as high as 35%.
Founded in 1961 and formerly known as Destination Television, Inc., the company changed its name to The Movie Studio, Inc. in November 2012. The Movie Studio is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cord-Cutting Creates Opportunity for VOD Players
Consumers are no longer content waiting for their favorite programming to come on the air – they expect instant streaming access where and how they want it. This has led to increased “cord cutting,” with consumers severing ties with their traditional pay TV providers in favor of digital streaming services.
With the advent of smart TVs with app integration, consumers can now watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it, fracturing traditional cable bundling mechanisms.
With pay TV usage steadily declining – satellite and cable TV businesses in the United States lost approximately 6 million customers in 2019 alone – streaming platforms are poised to potentially replace traditional pay TV distribution models altogether. Approximately 12,000 U.S. consumers are cutting the cord every day.
As this shift in media delivery continues and as digital devices become more sophisticated and bandwidth increases, VOD platforms have the potential to scale significantly. The Hollywood “streaming wars” of recent years have created an environment in which smaller competitors, like The Movie Studio, are able to emerge as major brands.
Trxade Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MEDS)
Trxade Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MEDS) is an integrated pharmaceutical services company that offers a unique combination of a web-based purchasing platform (www.trxade.com) for transactions between independent pharmacists and drug distributors (B2B); a network of pharmacies with E-Hub software; a mail order pharmacy; and warehouse and drug delivery services. This synergistic combination of product offerings and superior data analytics is poised to benefit all stakeholders and consumers within the pharmaceutical industry.
Trxade will leverage and scale its fully integrated model to execute the following growth strategies:
- Increase share of pharmacist drug purchasing
- Additional SKUs and expand product breath
- Partner with Specialty and International Mfg.
- Expand mail order licenses to all 50 states
- Scale Delivmeds for consumer delivery nationwide
- Integration with telemedicine
- M&A Opportunities within drug value chain
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Trxade’s overarching corporate strategy is to penetrate the existing retail independent pharmacy marketplace and diversify the company’s pharmaceutical mix with additional specialty and acute care products. Trxade is advancing on this mission by focusing on three key niches in the health care market.
The $330 billion U.S. pharmaceutical industry is comprised of more than 65,000 pharmacy facilities and 1,500 state-licensed suppliers. Roughly 24,000 of these facilities are independent pharmacies, which collectively spend approximately $93 billion a year on branded and generic drugs.
Trxade targets these independent pharmacies, leveraging a robust, “E-Bay/Kayak-like” technology platform with optimum buyer/seller pricing algorithms, product availability, and predictive data analytics features.
Trxade currently serves and transacts with more than one-third (10,250) of these independent pharmacies and facilitates over $10 million of drug purchases a month!
Trxade also targets the “consumer side” of the pharmaceutical industry, aiming to lower prescription drug costs by attacking the inefficient value chain; offering drug price transparency and efficient buying; and, delivering drugs DIRECT to independent pharmacists and consumers.
The company operates a full-service mail order pharmacy for U.S. consumers, as well as a mobile app called “Delivmeds” (http://www.delivmeds.com) which enables SAME DAY home delivery of dispensed prescriptions.
Trxade’s Managed Services Organization (“TrxadeMSO”) enables its member independent retail pharmacies to get patients, process orders, and deliver or ship prescriptions to patients. TrxadeMSO provides access to encompassing network of pharmacies through the E-Hub software, allowing for timely and comprehensive medication fulfillment.
These offerings ensure the best-suited pharmacy receives the patient’s information, thereby ensuring appropriate medication coverage based on the patient’s location, payor coverage, and medication access/inventory. This will save the clinicians and their staff time as they benefit from efficiency and enhanced workflow management in script processing and fulfillment.
Health Care Market
The U.S. health care market currently hovers near $4 trillion and is expected to grow as the general population ages. This growth will have greater impact on consumers as out-of-pocket expenses also rise. Additionally, drug costs are paced to increase faster than the overall health care and well above inflation.
Drug pricing is variable, and reimbursement is squeezing profits. This provides significant opportunity for the Trxade model of price visibility and profit optimization.
Trxade’s fair online market platform targets the nation’s retail community and independent pharmacies, of which there are approximately 24,000 nationwide. TRxADE has found that independent pharmacies, in order to be cost-effective, often operate with minimal staff and conduct up-to-the minute price checks. The TRxADE S2P platform gives these pharmacists the ability to easily compare the price of drugs offered by various suppliers and select the most favorable deals, saving money by taking advantage of best purchase pricing.
TRxADE’s programs include:
- TRxADE Exchange, which opens and widens the distribution channel to the retail, community pharmacy. A purchasing pharmacy can view products from manufacturers, buying groups, and wholesalers on a real-time and continuous basis. This approach significantly enhances the competitive spirit of the exchange where the lowest price exists for each product at any given point in time. TRxADE has become a competitive tool for all progressive entities and is recognized for its easy searching of hard-to-find generic pharmaceuticals at substantially reduced prices.
- RX Guru™ is an industry-leading price prediction model that integrates product shortage insight into pharmacy acquisition benchmarks (“PAC”) to ascertain trends and pricing variances that result in significant purchasing opportunities. RX Guru affords members the opportunity to continuously benefit from real price purchasing opportunities that are concealed from the rest of the industry.
- Product Shortage Database – TRxADE maintains the most comprehensive retail, specialty and acute care pharmaceutical product shortage database in the country. Other industry competitors mainly restrict their efforts to specialty and acute care product shortages and narrowly research oral generic products. TRxADE’s advanced prediction tools help members source those hard-to-find products at affordable costs in a timely and easy-to-search process.
Trxade’s management team is rich in expertise within the pharmaceutical supply chain and is supported by a base of advisors and contractors who are experts in related fields of the pharmaceutical sector.
Suren Ajjarapu – Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary
Suren Ajjarapu has served as Trxade’s chairman of the board, CEO and secretary since 2014, and as the chairman of the board, chief executive officer and secretary of Trxade Nevada since its inception. Ajjarapu also serves as a chairman of the board for Feeder Creek Group Inc., since March 2018. Ajjarapu formerly was a founder, CEO and chairman of Sansur Renewable Energy Inc., a company involved in developing wind power sites in the Midwest, United States; a founder, president and director of Aemetis Inc., a biofuels company (AMTX.OB); a founder, chairman and CEO of International Biofuels, a subsidiary of Aemetis Inc.; and a co-founder, COO, and director at Global Information Technology Inc., an IT outsourcing and systems design company. Ajjarapu holds an M.S. in environmental engineering from South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, and an MBA from the University of South Florida, specializing in international finance and management. Ajjarapu is also a graduate of the Venture Capital and Private Equity program at Harvard University.
Prashant Patel – Director, President and Chief Operating Officer
Prashant Patel has served as Trxade’s full-time president and COO, and as a director since the company’s acquisition of Trxade Nevada in 2014, and as the COO and president and as a director of Trxade Nevada since its inception. He has been a president and member of the board of Trxade since August 2010. Patel is a registered pharmacist and pharmaceutical consultant with over 10 years of experience in retail pharmacy and pharmaceutical logistics. He is the founder of several pharmacies in the Tampa Bay area, in Florida. Since 2008, Patel has been managing member of the APAA LLC pharmacy. Since 2007, Patel has been a vice president of Holiday Pharmacy Inc. Patel graduated from Nottingham University School of Pharmacy and practiced in the United Kingdom before obtaining his masters in Transport, Trade and Finance from Cass Business School, City University, UK.
VistaGen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN)
VistaGen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing a new generation of medications that go beyond the standard of care for anxiety, depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
The company is headquartered in South San Francisco, California, the “Birthplace of Biotechnology,” among the largest cluster of biotechnology companies in the world.
New Generation Medications
VistaGen currently has three innovative CNS drug candidates in its pipeline: PH94B, PH10 and AV-101. With a differentiated mechanism of action and an exceptional safety profile in all clinical studies to date, each of VistaGen’s three drug candidates offers significant commercialization potential in multiple large CNS markets.
Fast-acting (10-15 minutes), non-systemic and non-sedating in Phase 2 clinical studies, PH94B is a first-in-class neuroactive nasal spray that, administered in microgram doses, binds to chemosensory receptors in the nasal passage that trigger neural circuits responsible for suppressing fear and anxiety caused by stressful social or performance situations.
PH94B is currently being developed as an acute treatment of anxiety in adults with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). In December 2019, PH94B became the first drug candidate to be granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for development of a treatment for SAD, positioning it to potentially become the first FDA-approved fast-acting acute treatment for adults with the anxiety disorder, if planned Phase 3 studies are successful.
A successful Phase 2 program has been completed, and, after achieving consensus with the FDA in mid-2020 that the design of its Phase 3 studies of PH94B in SAD may mirror the design of the highly statistically significant (p=0.002) Phase 2 public speaking study of PH94B in SAD, the company’s preparations for pivotal Phase 3 clinical development of PH94B are underway.
To support Phase 3 development and commercialization of PH94B for anxiety disorders in large anxiety disorder markets in Asia, VistaGen recently entered into a strategic licensing and collaboration agreement with EverInsight Therapeutics, a company formed and currently funded by a large global venture capital firm, CBC Group. The company received a $5 million non-dilutive upfront license payment from EverInsight in August 2020. If Phase 3 development is successful, VistaGen is eligible to receive additional development and commercial milestone payments of up to $172 million, plus tiered royalties on sales of PH94B in Greater China, South Korea and Southeast Asia. VistaGen retains exclusive rights to develop and commercialize PH94B in all other markets.
VistaGen is also assessing potential Phase 2A clinical development opportunities to evaluate PH94B in a range of other anxiety disorders, including:
- Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Postpartum Anxiety
- Perioperative Anxiety
- Panic Disorder
PH10 is an investigational fast-acting synthetic neuroactive nasal spray with therapeutic potential in a wide range of neuropsychiatric indications involving depression and suicidal ideation. VistaGen is initially developing PH10 as a potential fast-acting, non-sedating, non-addictive new generation treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).
Upon self-administration, a microgram-level dose of PH10 sprayed into the nose binds to nasal chemosensory receptors that, in turn, activate neural circuits in the brain that lead to rapid-onset antidepressant effects, without side effects, systemic exposure or safety concerns that may be caused by FDA-approved drug treatments for MDD, including oral antidepressants and intranasal esketamine.
In a published exploratory Phase 2A MDD study, PH10 demonstrated rapid-onset and sustained antidepressant effects without the serious psychological side effects and safety concerns of ketamine-based therapy.
Following successfully completed Phase 2A development of PH10 for MDD, the company is currently preparing for a Phase 2B program in MDD.
VistaGen is also assessing the potential for Phase 2A clinical development of PH10 in a range of other depression-related indications, including:
- Postpartum Depression
- Treatment-resistant Depression
- Suicidal Ideation
Part of a class of new generation investigational medicine in neurology and neuropsychiatry known as N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) modulators, AV-101 is an oral prodrug of 7-chloro-kynurenic acid (7-Cl-KYNA), a potent and selective NMDAR glycine site antagonist. This drug candidate has the potential to serve as an innovative treatment for MDD and multiple neurological indications where current therapies are unsatisfactory.
VistaGen is currently evaluating AV-101, in combination with FDA-approved probenecid, in a range of neuropsychiatric and neurological indications, with both MDD and Neuropathic Pain already granted Fast Track designation by the FDA. The company is assessing the combination for a potential Phase 1B study to support a potential Phase 2A program in one or more of the following indications:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Neuropathic Pain
- Levodopa-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease therapy
- Suicidal Ideation
CNS Therapeutics Market Outlook
The global CNS therapeutics market is estimated to reach $130 billion by 2025. The market was valued at approximately $82.3 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to grow at a healthy CAGR of more than 5.93% from 2018 to 2025. Even before the onset of the anxiety- and depression-provoking stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic, this growth was expected to be driven by a rise in mental illnesses and increased awareness of psychiatric disorders (https://nnw.fm/K2m0s) – all likely to be amplified by the diverse impacts of the pandemic.
The two most common mental health conditions – anxiety and depression – cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion each year. The impact of these conditions is particularly devastating among the young. Industry data suggest that approximately 20% of the world’s children and teens are affected by mental health conditions, and suicide is the leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds (https://nnw.fm/oftNb).
VistaGen’s mission is to help address the unmet needs of patients suffering from CNS disorders whose current treatments are either inadequate or generate debilitating side effects and serious safety concerns, including risk of abuse and death.
“Now more than ever, the new generation anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications we are developing at VistaGen – PH94B, PH10 and AV-101 – are relevant, necessary and demand the highly-focused and passionate efforts of our team and partners, with the support of our stockholders, to advance them to patients whose lives are disrupted by anxiety and depression disorders,” VistaGen CEO and Director Shawn K. Singh said in his closing remarks at the company’s 2020 Annual Meeting of stockholders.
Shawn K. Singh, J.D. is the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of VistaGen. He has served on the company’s board of directors since 2000. He has nearly 30 years of experience serving in numerous senior management roles across multiple industries, including private and public biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, venture capital, contract research and development, and law. Singh has a B.A. with honors from the University of California – Berkley. He has a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. He is also a member of the State Bar of California.
H. Ralph Snodgrass, Ph.D., is the Founder, Chief Scientific Officer and Director of the company. Snodgrass has more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology field as a senior manager. He is recognized as an expert in stem cell biology, with over 28 years of experience using stem cells as biological research tools to promote development and drug discovery. He received a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania. Snodgrass has published over 50 scientific papers with more than 17 patents and a number of patent applications.
Mark A. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., is VistaGen’s Chief Medical Officer He has over 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience, primarily with CNS drug development. Smith has been a successful leader in the discovery and development of approximately 20 investigational new drugs. He has been a part of numerous CNS-related clinical trials. Smith received a bachelor’s and Master of Science from Yale University and a Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California – San Diego. He completed his residency in the psychiatry department at Duke University Medical Center.
Jerrold D. Dotson, CPA, is the Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of VistaGen. He has over 25 years of experience in senior management positions in finance and administration at both public and private companies. Dotson is a licensed CPA in California and received his B.S. degree (Cum Laude) in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Abilene Christian College.
Mark A. McPartland is the company’s Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations. He has over 20 years of experience in senior management roles in corporate development and investor relations at both public and private companies. McPartland received his Bachelor’s in business administration and marketing from Coastal Carolina University.
Willow Biosciences Inc. (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF)
Willow Biosciences Inc. (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF) is a leading developer of biosynthetic production systems for high-value, plant-derived active pharmaceutical ingredients (“APIs”) and intermediates. The company’s cannabidiol (“CBD”) yeast-based biosynthesis program produces a high yield, ultrapure, low-cost and scalable manufacturing solution for pharmaceutical, food, beverage and personal care consumers of CBD.
The company is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Willow’s proprietary yeast-based lab strains produce CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), and cannabigerol (“CBG”), as well as certain minor and novel cannabinoids.
The company’s expertise in the esoteric field of biosynthesis and in delivering commercial fermentation pathways for the production of pharmaceutical-grade compounds grew from its origins in opiate research. Willow recently delivered a de novo biosynthesis pathway in yeast for thebaine, a key precursor API used as a feedstock in the manufacture of semi-synthetic opiates such as naloxone (used to reverse opioid overdose) and several common analgesics. Led by Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Facchini, Willow’s research team discovered and patented numerous previously unknown genes coding for core catalytic pathway enzymes, as well as a number of additional non-pathway, yet commercially-essential, accessory genes.
Utilizing this proven synthetic biology platform, Willow’s research team has already begun producing cannabinoids at lab scale, using yeast as the host cell “factory”. This biosynthetic fermentation-based process is capable of producing pharmaceutical grade CBD in 10 days – far less time than traditional plant-based extraction methods.
Willow anticipates its technology can be scaled to produce hundreds of kilograms per batch of cannabinoid API at less than $1,000 per kilogram, thus costing approximately 60% less than current chemical synthesis methods and 90% less than conventional plant-based extraction methods.
Willow and Noramco Inc., the world’s largest producer of high-quality synthetic cannabinoid APIs and other controlled substance APIs for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, have an exclusive, worldwide Joint Development Agreement (“JDA”) to design a yeast-based biosynthesis platform for the production and distribution of a highly pure CBD isolate.
The mutually exclusive agreement calls for Willow to be responsible for optimizing yeast strains in a biosynthetic process to generate ultrapure CBD at high yield and substantially lower cost compared to current methods. Noramco will leverage its decades of experience in producing and delivering CBD and pharmaceutical APIs by being responsible for the scale-up, regulatory submission, marketing and distribution of products manufactured under the JDA.
Each company will invest comparable funds, will retain the intellectual property associated with their respective scopes of work and share equally in gross profits from sales of products manufactured under the JDA.
The agreement with Noramco (http://nnw.fm/Mz1vW) addresses the increasing demand for CBD-based APIs and other CBD-infused products by pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, consumer packaged goods, beverages and other industry sectors.
The U.S. market potential of cannabinoids is significant, with industry analysts projecting $50 billion in cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical sales and $16 billion in CBD consumer goods retail sales by 2025. As of June 2019, 34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands have legalized cannabis for medical use. Another 13 states and territories have approved recreational cannabis for adult use while other states are considering similar measures.
The cannabinoid API market continues to evolve with CBD and other cannabinoid-based treatment options currently in clinical trials for indications such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, schizophrenia, cancer treatments and other challenging unmet medical conditions.
Willow is fully funded after raising $29 million via private placement and $8 million in exercised warrants by Tuatara Capital Fund II, L.P. Proceeds of the funding will be used to enhance the existing laboratory space in Calgary and Vancouver, Canada, and in San Francisco, California. The company anticipates exiting 2020 with $15.8 million in cash.
President and CEO Trevor Peters is an experienced executive who co-founded four startup companies in the past 15 years. He has raised over $1 billion in equity and debt financings at various stages of corporate development and has been integral to successful transactions totaling over $4 billion on sale. Mr. Peters previously was chief financial officer at Caracal Energy Inc., which sold to Glencore plc in 2014 for $1.8 billion.
Chief Financial Officer Travis Doupe has over 18 years of experience in financial leadership roles, principally in the international oil and gas industry, where he provided corporate strategic direction while overseeing all aspects of financial operations. Mr. Doupe is the treasurer and a member of the board of directors of the Canada Council for the Americas – Alberta and holds a CA-CPA designation and earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Calgary.
Dr. Peter Facchini, Chief Scientific Officer, has been professor of plant biochemistry in the department of biological sciences at the University of Calgary since 1995. He is the Canada research chair in Plant Metabolic Processes Biotechnology and has published more than 150 research papers and scholarly articles. Dr. Facchini received a PhD from the University of Toronto and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Kentucky and Université de Montréal.
Dr. Joseph Tucker, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, holds more than 20 issued or pending patents and is a member of the Board of Directors of BioAlberta. He has extensive senior leadership experience in multiple public and private biotech companies. Dr. Tucker received a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Calgary.
Wrap Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: WRTC)
Wrap Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: WRTC) is an innovator of modern policing solutions. The company’s BolaWrap® product is a patented, hand-held remote restraint device that discharges an eight-foot bola style Kevlar® tether to restrain an individual at a range of 10-25 feet. Developed by award-winning inventor Elwood Norris, the company’s chief technology officer, the small-but-powerful BolaWrap assists law enforcement in safely and effectively controlling encounters, especially those involving an individual experiencing a mental crisis.
Non-Lethal Weapons Market Potential
The BolaWrap Remote Restraint device is an innovative police solution, designed to provide law enforcement with a unique mobile and humane restraint option that does not inflict pain and enables subjects to be detained from a distance without the use of force.
In 2015, the 10 cities with the largest police departments in the United States paid out a cumulative $248.7 million in settlements and court judgements in police misconduct cases, marking a 48% increase from the $168.3 million in 2010 (http://nnw.fm/ri0L9). The majority of these cases have centered around the improper use of force by law enforcement when subjugating individuals, with 25% of all fatal shootings by law enforcement in the United States reportedly involving mentally ill individuals who are often incapable of comprehending officer commands (http://nnw.fm/YVm8P). Moreover, the use of alternate devices has failed to produce the desired outcomes, with the use of tasers by police resulting in over 1,080 fatalities since 2000 (http://nnw.fm/2Nb1A).
This, in turn, has led to a greater demand for humane tools which are not reliant on pain compliance to subdue subjects. Since its IPO in December 2017, Wrap Technologies has enjoyed a spectacular rise in prominence. The company began field testing the BolaWrap product in July 2018, with the first international order received only a month later, in August 2018. By December 2018, the company had been uplisted to the Nasdaq Capital Market with over 1,000 shareholders – a significant increase from the 50 shareholders who had participated in the IPO just 12 months prior. Recently, the company has sought to increase its commerciality and product monetization, appointing Tom Smith, the founder of TASER International (now Axon, NASDAQ: AAXN), as its president in March 2019.
At present, over 140 police departments throughout the United States are actively carrying the BolaWrap, while over 1,700 police departments across the nation have reached out to the company to request BolaWrap demonstrations, training and quotes. BolaWrap has also been successfully marketed internationally and has been shipped to 19 countries thus far.
As of today, Wrap Technologies has built a network of 11 distributors across 45 states in the United States who are actively marketing the product to the over 900,000 active police officers in the country. In addition, the company now has a network of 15 international distributors based in 26 countries – with over 600 international requests received thus far for product demonstrations, training and quotes.
As a result and following the opening of its new 11,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Tempe, Arizona, in October 2019, Wrap Technologies announced a 352% year-on-year increase in revenues for 3Q2019 – a testament to the growing popularity of its mobile restraint device.
The company expects its growth to continue as adoption rates of the BolaWrap product increase throughout the United States and globally. According to a study by Stratistics MRC, the addressable global market for non-lethal weapons accounted for $6.32 billion in 2016 and is set to rise to $11.85 billion by 2023.
Product Received to Positive Acclaim
- “An innovation that is changing the world of policing.” – Chief Luther Reynolds, Charleston Police Department
- “Anytime you can have a more humane response to someone in crisis, it’s not only good for the department, it’s good for society.” – Redditt Hudson, Regional Field Director of the NAACP (http://nnw.fm/1STXm)
- “This is going to save lives.” – Chief Ed Hudak, Coral Gables Police Department
- “I see this as one of the great tools if you encounter someone with a mental health crisis.” – Chief Steven Casstevens, Buffalo Grove Police Department
Recently completed $12.4 million financing round
Wrap Technologies announced that it had successfully completed its capital raising round on June 4, 2020, raising $12.4 million through a primary share placement priced at $6.00/share. The net proceeds will be use to further scale engineering, fund product development and provide working capital to meet worldwide demand for BolaWrap products and accessories (http://nnw.fm/byLV7). The company also announced that its founder, Elwood Norris, had chosen to exercise 100,000 outstanding warrants to contribute $500,000 to the capital raising efforts. Following the financing round, Wrap Technologies reported over $30 million in cash on hand.
Elwood G. “Woody” Norris, Founder and Chief Technology Officer
Elwood G. “Woody” Norris is an award-winning American inventor and serial entrepreneur and currently serves as chief technology officer for Wrap Technologies Inc. Norris founded and served as a director and president of Parametric Sound Corporation (now Turtle Beach Corporation (NASDAQ:HEAR)) and also served as chief scientist at Turtle Beach. Norris previously founded LRAD Corporation (NASDAQ: LRAD) and, prior to retiring in 2010, was chairman of LRAD Corporation’s board of directors, serving as a technical advisor and product spokesperson. Norris has authored more than 80 U.S. patents, primarily in the fields of electrical and acoustical engineering, and has been a frequent speaker on innovation to corporations and government organizations. He is the inventor of Wrap Technologies’ patented and patent pending BolaWrap® technology.
Scot Cohen, Executive Chairman
Scot Cohen has more than 20 years of experience in institutional asset management, wealth management, and capital markets. Cohen founded and served as principal of the Iroquois Capital Opportunity Fund, a closed-end private equity fund which focused on investments in North American oil and gas. Cohen also co-founded Iroquois Capital, a New York-based hedge fund that managed approximately $300 million across its family of funds. Prior to Iroquois Capital, Cohen founded a merchant bank which actively participated in structured investments in public companies. Cohen is currently active on a number of public and private company boards and is involved with various charitable ventures.
David Norris, Chief Executive Officer
David Norris is an experienced executive who joined Wrap Technologies full-time in January 2018. From April 2014 to December 2017, he served in various executive roles, including president, at privately held loanDepot LLC as it rapidly expanded into the fifth largest mortgage lender in the U.S. loanDepot had 6,000 employees and generated $1 billion in revenue in 2017. Norris also served as CEO of Greenlight Financial, and president of LendingTree Loans. Norris’ career also includes executive and management roles at Toshiba America Information Systems and Qualcomm Personal. Earlier in his career, Norris served as a probation officer in San Diego for five years.
Tom Smith, President
Tom Smith co-founded TASER International (now Axon Enterprise Inc. (NASDAQ: AAXN)) (“TASER”) in 1993 and served as president of TASER until October 2006. He served as chairman of the board of directors of TASER from October 2006 until he retired to pursue entrepreneurial activities in February 2012. Amongst his most significant roles and responsibilities at TASER, Smith managed domestic and international sales, significantly expanding the sale and distribution of TASER’s products, including sales to more than 17,200 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in over 100 countries. In 2012, he founded Achilles Technology Solutions LLC, which, through subsidiary ATS Armor, developed a line of ballistic solutions for law enforcement and military applications. Smith holds a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona and an M.B.A. from Northern Arizona University.
Jim Barnes, Chief Financial Officer
Jim Barnes has served as president of Sunrise Capital Inc., a private venture capital and financial and regulatory consulting firm, since 1984. Barnes was chief financial officer of Parametric Sound Corporation (now Turtle Beach Corporation), and also served as vice president administration at Turtle Beach Corporation. Since 1999, Barnes has been manager of Syzygy Licensing LLC, a private technology invention and licensing company he owns with Elwood Norris. Barnes previously practiced as a certified public accountant and management consultant with Ernst & Ernst and Touche Ross & Co., and as a principal in J. McDonald & Co. Ltd. in Phoenix, Arizona.