Maximilian Unfried, CEO (Hohenstaufen, Germany)
Maxime Clauss, CTO (Caen, France)
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!
What is deepgreen?
At deepgreen we develop state-of-the-art computer vision applications by harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence. Our image recognition system can already detect the gender of cannabis plants, and in the near future will be able to diagnose plant diseases, pests, nutrient deficiencies and molds, as well as determine the best time to harvest. This will help growers to produce more yield of better quality. We aim to provide solutions for individual homegrowers, growbox makers and cannabis growing operations. Since both of us come from countries where cannabis is not yet legalize, the US with its cannabis hotspots were the most viable option. Hence we took the leap of faith. The reason why we entered the world of cannabis startups is that we have a greater goal in mind: to change how plants and crops are grown all over the world. The cannabis industry is still kind of a niche, and in its infancy, and we'll use our launch as a springboard for developing technology that has the potential to impact how a variety of plants and crops are cultivated, while having an actual impact on the cannabis movement.
What is your career trajectory and background? Do you have cannabis industry experience, or is this your first venture in the industry?
I (Max Unfried) hold a Masters Degree in Complex Adaptive Systems in which I focused on Computer Vision and artificial Intelligence. I worked as a Guest Researcher at the National Chiao Tong University in Taiwan on a facial expression recognition system; after graduation from university, I started working as a Data Scientist in a FinTech startup in Vietnam, where I worked with Natural Language processing, teaching machines to understand text from social media. Maxime obtained a Master's Degree in Computer Science and Systems Security in France. After 4 years developing cryptographic software, he was sent to build and manage the Software branch of his company in South Korea, working with major mobile manufacturers. He then moved to Vietnam and worked for companies such as Criteo, a multi billion dollar leader in the advertisement industry; and Ansarada, ranked 5th best place to work in Australia; and most recently Sentifi, a Fintech company leveraging Artificial Intelligence to help make better investment decisions. This wide experience gave him both a very strong technological knowledge as well as solid foundations in building great team environments.
How did you find about the Canopy Accelerator, and why did you decide to apply? What element of the program are you most excited about?
We found out about Canopy through Google. We were just aiming to join a cannabis-specific accelerator program, and Canopy - with its strong ties to the Arcview Group and its proven track record of successful cannabis startups - was our first choice. The start of the program also fitted nicely into our timeline, so it was a no-brainer for us to accept the offer. As both of us are engineers and scientists by trade we hope to get a comprehensive understanding of the business side of a startup as well as fundraising.
Please share your insight into the future of the cannabis industry. This can be a prediction about legalization and legislation, a product or service that is currently undervalued or nonexistent, changes at retail - we want your opinion on where you see a big change or disruption looming in cannabis.
Coming from a technology background we see many changes coming from this side. Technology, especially AI, is disrupting pretty much every industry on the planet, and will also leave its footprint on the cannabis industry - especially technology that helps to automate tedious processes.
When you're not at Canopy working on deepgreen, what do you like to do?
I (Max Unfried) is an avid reader, indulging in books about philosophy, science and business. He also likes sports, be it running, hiking, martial arts, dancing and spending time in nature to relax. Apart from that he is interested in public speaking and honing his orator skills, and I enjoy being social. Maxime spends most of his free time learning about technology. He also loves watching movies and play video-games when time permits.
Indica or sativa?
If Max would be a plant he would be a Sativa, as he is naturally energetic and social. Maxime, in all fairness, likes every plants equally.