As many U.S. states are getting ready for both medicinal and recreational cannabis markets to spring up, questions on compliance and regulation come into play. One question that caught my interest is, how does a commercial grow operation scale in the evolving cannabis industry? What types of pain points are there for growers? I sat down and asked the team at Lodestone Data Technologies to get some answers on how their company is meeting the growing demands of the cannabis industry.
How is Lodestone Data addressing pain points for grow operations?
“Because of compliance regulations, large scale commercial cannabis cultivators must track every single plant as they move from room to room within their grow. It turns out the early solutions were all bar-code based – which means that people have to individually scan each plant, and that requires a lot of expensive labor. The biggest issues that spring from humans being involved in the process is human error, and the time it takes to correct that error. The solution is RFID,” stated Steve Mackey, CEO of Lodestone Data.
By eliminating the unnecessary time spent on individually scanning barcodes into a legacy system, Lodestone’s Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags automatically keep track of inventory digitally and cut operational costs for growers, while also providing them with valuable data to improve the efficiency of their growing environments.
“We’re building on enterprise-scale technologies already used by drug manufacturers, libraries and major retailers and shippers. We are building a platform that is laser-focused on accurate, automated user experience and workflow,” explained Steve.
Who is the team behind Lodestone Data Technologies?
Steve Mackey, CEO, and co-founder, has twenty-five years of experience in building and selling enterprise solutions in the $19B library marketplace.
“My experience in RFID started at Bibliotheca, where I helped raise revenue from one million to thirteen million dollars within three years. Biblioteca + 3M is now the market leader for RFID in the library space.” Steve also added, “As an early stage company, we are very fortunate to have senior advisors and investors bringing deep personal and professional experience to strengthen our team.”
“We recently completed the first cohort of the Canopy San Diego cannabis accelerator, where we were one of the few selected for follow-on funding. Right now we’re closing out our seed round funding. We are hiring a sales superstar and in conversations with a CTO (Chief Technology Officer). We believe that in two to three years, as big enterprise companies look to enter the booming cannabis market, they will look to companies like ours to acquire market entry,” stated Steve.
Scott Sirles, co-founder, and the president is a cultivation expert and agronomist who has been growing both indoors and outdoors for more than 20 years.
“As the one with commercial cultivation experience, I have been primarily focused on product development. I was seeing first hand the tedium and exasperation faced when compliance systems have to be hand updated, and that’s when Steve and I first started talking about our solution. My network of industry insiders have been vital in shaping the platform from its very inception,” explained Scott.
Scott recounts his personal and professional experience within the emerging cannabis industry.
“As an avid gardener and general horticulture geek, I was no stranger to cultivation when the cannabis industry started in Colorado. In the early days, I brought a new line of organic fertilizers into the Colorado market and met all sorts of farmers, both cannabis as well as fruits and vegetables. Later I ran a hydroponics store in the heart of Denver, which really allowed me to see what problems Denver’s Cannabis cultivators had. During this time I was consulting at cultivations around Colorado. As other states have become legal, my experience has seen me too many other states. Last year, I helped businesses in Colorado, Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Maryland,” shared Scott.
What was the inspiration for the company?
“Scott and I have been friends since I lived in Denver. Over beers, we would talk about the explosion of the cannabis industry. We knew there was an opportunity to address how growers were doing inventory. I was excited to jump into the market back in 2016, and Scott and I are confident we can build a company that is making a positive change”, relates Steve.
What markets is Lodestone Data Technologies currently in?
Lodestone Data is focused on states with legal markets; Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington.
“We are currently working in Colorado, where we are based, and California, where Steve recently moved. Working with businesses in Colorado is great because they have been working with compliance systems for years now and really know where the hang ups in the process are. California is, of course, a state that everyone is interested in because it is so large, but California is especially interesting because it has so many giant cultivation facilities that are just a great fit for Lodestone technology,” stated Scott.
What are the future plans for Lodestone Data Technologies in the cannabis industry?
“We are focused on making commercial cannabis cultivators as efficient as possible by providing innovative tools to streamline and improve processes. As they get more accurate, we can see how that helps support a transparent supply that benefits all stakeholders – governments, cultivations, and consumers alike,” said Steve.
We are thrilled to be part of a growing community of companies that are also working every day to end prohibition of the cannabis plant in the United States and we look forward to a day when everyone has access to safely cultivated cannabis in their community.
Which state(s) are potential markets for Lodestone Data Technologies?
“Our team is focusing on states with legal adult and medical use. We are open to international growth as well. We know our system can be applied outside the cannabis market but that is not a goal right now. We are grabbing reliable data on grow operations that haven’t been collected in this way before,” explained Steve.
“Lodestone’ focus is on accurate, autonomous data collection. We see lots of potential next steps for ways to increase the data collection, but we are currently working on a grow journal that leverages the plant level intelligence of our RFID system. Most grow journals never get used because they are so cumbersome, but RFID makes journaling so much more seamless,” added Scott.
To learn more about Lodestone Data Technologies, check out: lodestonedata.com