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March 12, 2019

Portland cannabis software company prepares for national expansion

Courtesy / Strimo
Courtesy / Strimo
Strimo CEO Jacques Santucci, left, and Vice President of Sales Crash Lowe are preparing to launch a second round of financing for the year-old cannabis software company.
Courtesy / Strimo
This provided image shows Strimo's software at work.

A year-old Portland software company that focuses on the cannabis and hemp industry is getting ready to launch a second round of financing in order to expand nationally in a rapidly increasing market.

Jacques Santucci launched Strimo in the spring of 2018. Strimo is a secure, cloud-based business management software combining cultivation, manufacturing, accounting and dispensary management in one platform, according to a news release.

Santucci told Mainebiz he raised almost $1.5 million in 2018 for the launch and subsequent growth. He's now seeking to raise $8 million to create a sales force and expand nationally, as well as develop additional features for the software, in keeping with the changing industry.

The company has eight clients and a dozen in the pipeline, he said. Clients are primarily located in Maine, Massachusetts and California. So far, clients have been acquired through trade shows and networking, he said.

Santucci is the founder and president of Opus Consulting Group, a business management consulting company in Portland, and managing director of Opus Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. His wife is Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, Maine's largest licensed medical marijuana operator and Strimo's first client. Rosi is a 2017 Mainebiz Woman To Watch honoree.

Strimo evolved from a need perceived through Wellness Connection, Santucci said. "We were contacted by people around the country who were looking at our business model," he said.

During the process of helping companies tackle issues like regulatory compliance and business best practices, Santucci said he realized the cannabis industry lacked a software platform specific to its business needs.

While there are track-and-trace and seed-to-sale applications, those are designed for specific uses: track-and-trace is used by government regulatory agencies and seed-to-sale is used for inventory control and sales recording. Neither includes business analytics, costing or accounting management tools, nor do they combine different aspects of the business process including cultivation, manufacturing, costing, accounting and dispensary management, he said.

"The cannabis industry has been focusing on sales and the consumer," Santucci said. "Most of the companies are just trying to get sales and no one was is looking into things like tracking data to grow the business."

The cannabis industry needs its own business platform, he said, because it essentially comprises three segments: agriculture, science and manufacturing/packaging.

"So you have a different process and different stages, and a lot data you need to collect for tracking inventory, quality control, costs," he said.

Agriculture is about growing the plants, science is about developing products like extracts and manufacturing is about getting it ready to sell, he said.

"That's why it's important to have software that tracks data for those three different types of activities in one company," Santucci said. "We saw an opportunity with businesses to have better tracking and better data for compliance and business purposes, and also tracking costs for better margins."

Strimo enables operators to scale growth, mitigate risk, manage compliance and optimize results, he said. Strimo is designed to support standard processes and promote best practices across an organization. And it's is integrated with state track-and-trace reporting system such as Metrc.

The first round of funding allowed him to hire more developers and the start of a sales and support team, he said.

"I'm starting the second phase of funding now with the idea of creating a large company in Maine that will focus on software for the cannabis industry and continue to surf the wave of the industry," he said.

According to the release, the U.S. cannabis industry is projected to reach $25 billion by 2025.

"Our goal is to be the management software for the cannabis operators, delivering a secure solution for data collection and business analysis," Crash Lowe, Strimo vice president of sales, said in the release. "By working with Wellness Connection of Maine, we've been able to enhance business operations and contribute to the growth of a leader in the industry by providing our accounting, point-of-sale and manufacturing traceability and costing management tools."

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