CertiCraft is certified champion of OKGN Angel Summit Finale
The Nelson-based startup wins $150K and the support of the entire Okanagan tech community.
It’s fitting that “reaching new heights” was a theme across Accelerate Okanagan’s OKGN Angel Summit, as two of the companies pitching at the Finale were innovating the cannabis space. Of course, there could only be one winner and CertiCraft took home the $150,000 prize.
Meet the winner:
What problem they solve: “Craft cannabis producers are passionate, hard-working people creating amazing products. But they’re drowning under piles of regulatory requirements. Unlike large enterprises, they cannot afford a full-time compliance team,” CEO Sami Majadla told Accelerate Okanagan’s Jenna Stasuk.
How they solve it: By developing one-stop-shop software that helps craft cannabis producers run their business and stay within regulatory goalposts.
Where they solve it: Nelson, B.C.
Meet the finalists:
Think Tank Automation
What problem they solve: “Agriculture, and specifically the newly legalized cannabis industry, is a labour-intensive sector with legacy in-line dosing irrigation systems which provide inconsistent levels of nutrients to plants,” founder Justin Valmont told Stasuk.
How they solve it: By developing agtech to automate the process of growing cannabis.
Where they solve it: Vernon, B.C.
What problem they solve: “The problem is simple: it’s cheaper to make new plastic products than it is to recycle old ones. It’s a problem we’ve known about for decades and it can be fixed, we just have to get some perspective and stop pinching pennies for a moment,” co-founders Angela and Brady Rogers.
How they solve it: By designing and producing everyday products—beer glasses, flower vases, soap dishes—that are 100% sustainable.
Where they solve it: Kelowna, B.C.
What problem they solve: “Crowded campgrounds, lack of campsites, and expensive re-sales are pain points that we solve by inviting private landowners to list their property for campers to book short-term stays. For those hosts, it’s an opportunity to earn thousands of dollars just by welcoming campers to their property,” CEO Guita Yazdani.
How they do it: By creating a platform that is essentially Airbnb for campsites: an online marketplace to book stays on private land.
Where they do it: Vancouver, B.C.
What problem they solve: “The playcalling system in football is antiquated. It’s using ‘50s technology and we wanted to bring it into the 21st century. We’ve developed a product that saves all of a coach’s plays, makes calls in milliseconds and prevents other teams from stealing your data,” CEO Lance Heron.
How they solve it: By creating a system that overhauls how football teams communicate.
Where they solve it: Salmon Arm, B.C.
What problem they solve: “The hand-me-down world is very inefficient and inconvenient so we want to make that process better. By introducing sustainability to the clothes children go through, we’re seeking to make parents’ lives easier,” founder Blyth Gill.
How they solve it: By developing a clothing-as-a-service platform that helps new parents with fast-growing babies return or replace clothes through a monthly subscription.
Where they solve it: Vancouver, B.C.
Why it matters:
The cultivation of the Okanagan Tech community was a major emphasis across the Finale. Accelerate Okanagan dedicated the evening to Kevin Greenwood, a fixture in Kelowna who passed away in October. This overall feeling—that a welcoming community is paramount—was not lost on CertiCraft’s Majadla.
“This has been such an awesome experience. To anybody watching this right now who runs a business, Accelerate Okanagan and the program they've done—it's the first time that I've been part of a program that's really felt super inclusive and really just wanted to help entrepreneurs. It's just been such a breath of fresh air compared to a couple of years not really vibing too much with the experience we've had in other programs,” Majadla said, addressing the triple-digit crowd upon being named champion.
While Majalda breathes fresh air, craft cannabis producers can breathe a sigh of relief that CertiCraft has been buoyed in its mission to make their lives easier.
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