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Meet The Founders: Virtugro

Posted by Meghan Grabow on Sep 12, 2017 3:58:55 PM
Meghan Grabow

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!

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Team: Virtugro

Russ Baker, CEO & Founder (Black Hawk, CO)

Mark Stratton, President and Founder (Silverthorne, CO)

Leland Sindt, VP and Founder (Lenexa, KS)

Dave Krenik, VP Marketing (Superior, CO)

Jim Brown, VP Sales (Evergreen CO)


What is Virtugro, and why did you decide to launch into the Wild West of cannabis startups?
Virtugro provides automation solutions for indoor cultivation operations to increase profitability by maximizing the yield of the cultivation process as well as giving the grower the ability to produce a more consistent product. Why launch in the cannabis industry? Because cannabis cultivation is the fastest growing segment of AgTech. Growers typically get four harvests per year, and throughout the year they lose plants and batches due to various causes: HVAC, watering, and soil content issues to name a few. By monitoring and logging these issues, growers can achieve higher levels of quality, maximized and predictable yields, and increase profitability.
What is the team's background? Do you have cannabis industry experience, or is this your first venture in the industry?
Virtugro was started by a small group of engineers with years of experience in enterprise software and solutions for cloud services, database applications, internet of things, big data and analytic business intelligence technologies. The team has in-depth experience in the development of advanced real-time data analytics solutions for network performance, connected car, health and life sciences for large scale enterprise customers.
Any insights to share, or predictions for the future of cannabis?
We, obviously, believe in the hyper growth of the AgTech sector of the Cannabis Industry. With the hard costs associated with growing cannabis and the present squeeze in margins, effective and efficient cultivation is, and will continue to be, critical to maximizing profits for growers.
What does the team like to do in their free time?
Dave races bicycles along Colorado's Front Range, and is into skiing and cooking. Mark bikes, runs, and skis. Russ is a rock enthusiast and loves geology.
Indica or sativa?

Topics: Entrepreneurship, cannabis companies, agtech