Thank you very much for joining us George Robinson, CEO RavenQuest Biomed INC (CSE:RQB) (OTC: RVVQF). We have been following RavenQuest closely and are excited by the continued success. Can you please break down your company for our readers and explain where the firm stands today?
RavenQuest BioMed originated as a private consulting firm that has helped several of Canada’s well-known public and private cannabis companies obtain their Health Canada LP status. We have an excellent relationship with the regulator and an unmatched understanding of how to achieve and maintain the high standards of compliance required by Health Canada. The RavenQuest team has been inside and assisted over 40 of Canada’s 109 licensed producers, so I bring a thorough understanding of what works and what doesn’t for industrial cannabis production. The first production facility, Alberta Green Biotech, was vended in when we took the company public last fall.
Since that time, we have been growing at a rapid pace. We became a Licensed Producer with the acquisition of Bloomera Inc. in early 2018. We also announced a joint venture to build a 50,000 kg/yr production facility with Fort McMurray First Nation #468 in Alberta.
In addition, we announced the acquisition of Western Agripharma Ltd., located off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia.
At full build-out these projects will result in over 50,000 kg of annual cannabis production, with 11,000 kg funded and ready to go for legalization this fall.
Could you tell our readers about the “Four Pillars” of RavenQuest and how the firm will leverage this mantra to drive value?
Through my experience leading large business units at fortune 100 and 500 companies, I have always believed strongly that building a solid foundation of diversified business units creates a successful long term blueprint. RavenQuest’s four pillars are as follows.
First, we provide management services to clients in the cannabis space. This provides RavenQuest, an early stage growth company, the rare luxury of immediate revenue to mitigate cash burn.
In addition, our lengthy list of clients provides natural deal flow for our second pillar, our Investment Division, which is engaged in any activities surrounding the production and sale of cannabis. Think of our Investment Division as the pillar that most closely resembles your average publicly traded cannabis company.
What sets our Investment Division apart is it’s focus on our third pillar, partnerships with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. We have a deep list of prospective partnerships in this area and have already announced the first example of this in the form of the joint venture with Fort McMurray First Nation #468 I mentioned previously.
Our fourth pillar is consists of scientific research which takes the form of a comprehensive study of the cannabis plant in partnership with McGill University.
How will the use of rotary gardens increase your efficiency and frequency of harvesting your crop?
We have developed a unique grow methodology which borrows from rotational gardening but adds in our own proprietary enterprise layer which allows for automation and scaling of the process. Because our plants rotate in eight-foot-barrels around a light, we can fit 280 plants around one light, thereby reducing our power consumption by 80%. We also use significantly less nutrients and no water drips to waste. Not only is this a fantastic cost savings story, but also contributes significantly toward the sustainability that the industry so desperately needs to consider.
Even more significantly, we took the eight foot tubes and stacked them three high and two wide, creating over 500 square feet of grow space on a 72 square foot footprint, pretty remarkable given the emphasis the industry seems to be placing on square footage. We are changing this conversation dramatically with our ability to grow more than twice the industry average on a grams-per-square-foot basis. This is game changing technology and we are extremely excited about it.
Are there any other cutting-edge technologies RavenQuest is using in the growing process that you can speak to as well?
I’m glad you asked that question because we take great pride in our scientific knowledge of the cannabis plant. RavenQuest is currently engaged in a research partnership with Canada’s prestigious McGill University, aimed at cultivar (strain) recognition, plant stabilization and yield maximization. All three will be key in delivering a repeatable and reliable experience for cannabis patients and consumers, ultimately leading to greater brand recognition and profitability.
Congratulations on the recent supply agreement with British Columbia. Can you elaborate at all on the % of Bloomera’s yield that will be supplied to the province?
During the first year of legalization which spans this MOU it’s likely we will sell all that we produce from our Bloomera facility to BCLDB. This MOU is a huge milestone for RavenQuest and our shareholders as it brings a great degree of certainty to our revenue stream as we move into 2019. We are exceedingly happy to share this news with our stakeholders.
How is the relationship/build out with the First Nations coming along?
Our first agreement on this front will see us share in a huge (250,000 sq. ft.) facility with Fort McMurray First Nation #468. Keep in mind, this facility will contain our Orbital Gardens, which makes it even larger by “flat table” standards.
We expect to be able to add similar agreements as we move forward. Since our sponsorship of the Indigenous Peoples’ Cannabis Association (IPCA) late last year, over 100 Indigenous peoples participate on a call every month discussing cannabis opportunities and challenges. Many of these have expressed an interest in working with us, so it’s up to us to make sure those partnerships come to fruition in the coming months.
What is RavenQuest doing to gear up for the roll out of the adult use market in October?
Well, obviously the supply MOU with BCLDB was a fantastic step for us as we move toward legalization. We are very excited to see our Toronto area facility (Bloomera Inc.) moving through the final steps to obtain its license to sell and dispense, as per Health Canada.
The design and construction phases of both our flagship retail outlet in downtown Edmonton as well as our online medical and recreational websites are currently underway.
We are thrilled to have built a foundation of cannabis production based in science and using the industry’s most cutting-edge technology. We know we can deliver the premium product with a consistent and repeatable experience. That’s the basis in everything we are about to roll out as we move toward adult use.
There has been a lot of focus on international opportunities. Is this something that RavenQuest is also looking at?
While we see a tremendous untapped potential in an underestimated Canadian market segment, we are always exploring new opportunities outside our borders. Our website is called “RQBGlobal” for a reason. Stay tuned.
What are some of the biggest potential catalysts and growth drivers for RavenQuest?
We see our Indigenous pillar as an extremely important growth driver, both for Canada as a whole and RavenQuest as a company. We expect to be very active on this pillar throughout 2018 and beyond.
We also believe strongly in our relationships with small craft growers throughout Canada. Canadians love craft beer and we believe that desire and loyalty for unique, boutique brands will transfer into the cannabis space. RavenQuest is ideally suited to work with craft growers as we have the unparalleled expertise in helping applicants become licensed by Health Canada. We see our recent acquisition of Elephant Extracts as a great example of what is to come on that front. This is a massive opportunity.
Following Canopy’s acquisition of Hiku, there has been a major focus on the retail side of the business. What do you think about this trend and where do you see the retail side of the business going?
We are working with one of Canada’s premium designers to tailor the interior of our flagship, 4,500 sq. ft. space in downtown Edmonton. We expect to roll out many more retail outlets in the coming weeks and months.