C15’s mission is to elevate the quality while lowering costs for global cannabis producers. We digitize manual paper-based compliance methodologies by bringing the world’s best quality management system (“QMS”) and other solutions to our global customers. We take our technology partner’s QMS (Veeva Systems Inc.) and add our IP and configurations to best practices for over 60 corporations and 3,500 users in five countries. Our growth rate has been an average of 50 per cent per year for the last few years.
Tell us about yourself?
Ex Investment Banker (Bay Street), Lawyer, and now, entrepreneur. Extensive experience in software and technology from previous careers.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Become an entrepreneur sooner than I did. Investment banking and law are great skills needed to run start-ups.
What problem does your business solve?
Cannabis producers have standard operating procedures, workflows, and steps and must manage, train employees, and handle “quality events”. These quality events demand regulatory compliance. QMS is a mission-critical solution for major cannabis producers.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The global trend to cannabis legalization opened new large markets that mirror those markets our partner, www.veeva.com serve: pharma, consumer packaged goods, food, beverages, etc. This huge addressable market four years ago was a blank sheet. Cannabis is a product that humans ingest in a variety of ways. All of these methods of production and sale, medical or recreation (adult-use), require similar compliance to the aforementioned sectors in which our partner has a dominant QMS market share. The problem is to improve the quality and safety of these products, fit for human consumption, protect customers’ brands, lower costs of goods sold (drive out costs of poor quality), and make regulatory compliance less risky. Finally, the use of QMS reduces the risk of product liability, a concern as these global markets mature.
What is your magic sauce?
C15 has the world’s best QMS, bar none, evidenced by the global market share of Veeva’s customer base. C15 then takes a proven and accepted compliance solution used by the Fortune 500, with an exclusive focus on the cannabis sector. This allows C15 to have extensive features, modules, and configurations such that C15QMS is a “purpose fit” for each customer across multiple sites and facilities. C15 invests hundreds of hours, at no cost, per year, in each customer to get it right and deploy all the features and modules needed. Our price model is pretty much only SaaS fees – we really limit professional fees. Our reputation is simply off the charts it is so good. Our service and support are at an unmatched level due to our C15 culture. Our people, product, subject matter expertise, and service are the elements of our “magic”.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
A global footprint in every major cannabis market that exists. We are well on our way – keeping pace with the new markets being added every year. This requires investment, and we have an incredible shareholder base with institutional equity investors. We will likely expand this shareholder base in the next year or two. The addition, other solutions are always being reviewed, including new ones from our partner developed in-house or acquired.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Last fiscal and calendar year was the biggest challenge. The global sector suffered from over-investment in Canadian markets, more so, some in the U.S.A. This resulted in access to capital for our customers cut off and budgets frozen for any spending, even mission-critical IT spending. Or negative churn rate increased somewhat, with smaller customers either going out of business or terminating employees. Despite this set of headwinds, C15 grew 40 per cent year over year and cut our losses by 40 per cent to be very close to break-even levels.
How can people get involved?
Made in CA does not endorse C15 Solutions or the use of cannabis products for medical or recreational purposes; this interview is merely for informational purposes. For more information about cannabis product use, speak to your medical practitioner.