Meet The Founders is a series of interviews with our Fall 2017 class founders. Each team is working to bring a product or service to the cannabis industry through the Canopy accelerator (and in some cases, are currently operating in the space), helping to alleviate the pain points in this growing industry. Want to know more about how to launch a cannabis business? Canopy's JumpStart Conference for Entrepreneurs & Startups is on October 19th in Denver, CO. This FREE half-day conference is packed with panels on brand trends, the regulatory environment, cultivation best practices, dispensary operations and more. Space is limited - register now!
Team: Cannabis Quality Group
Donavan Bennett, CEO & Co-Founder (Roswell, GA)
Joe Novalany, CTO & Co-Founder (Edison, NJ)
What is Cannabis Quality Group, and what problem does it solve for the cannabis industry?
Cannabis Quality Group (CQG) is a cloud-based integrated quality management software designed to reduce risk, protects brand integrity, and enable transparency throughout the supply chain. CQG is creating solutions to the lack of quality controls in cannabis, the risk of product recalls, and lack of optimization with employees' time.
Quality is the main differentiation between competitors. If companies are not incorporating quality controls into their processes now, when federal legalization is implemented, these companies will be fighting an uphill battle. We help dispensaries and edible companies who sell directly to the consumer. If there's a recall with one of their brands, their brand integrity could be ruined - we want to help brands avoid that.
What is the team's background? Do you have cannabis industry experience, or is this your first venture in the industry?
Joe and I are fairly new to the cannabis industry. We each bring quality assurance and programmer skill sets into the industry, and this is our first venture into cannabis. One of the reasons we applied to Canopy's accelerator program is to help make those industry connections and gain industry knowledge.
Why did you decide to apply to Canopy?
We found out about Canopy Accelerator from an article in Tech Crunch. After speaking to an alumni of the program and hearing about the benefits joining Canopy provided to her company, we decided this would be our best path forward. We are hoping to gain more insight into the industry. With our lack of industry experience we want to visit operations, interact with employees and customers, and gain a granular understanding of the industry.
The collaboration of our cohort is also really exciting. The other cannabis companies in our cohort are looking to partner and assist in any way.
Any predictions to share in regard to the future of the cannabis industry?
I'm biased; however, with my experience in manufacturing, that industry is heavily adopting cloud-based QMS. These companies realize the benefits and the dynamics of tracking and standardizing quality metrics. My generation (millennials) have the opportunity to bring our technology skill set to this industry, and help shape the industry for the better.
When you're not working on your company, what do you enjoy doing?
Donavan enjoys riding his motorcycle and hangs with his dog Honey. Joe is a family man and enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids.
Indica or sativa?