Some of us might think that being the head of the world’s biggest pot company would be enough to keep you busy. Canopy Growth Corp’s (Quote, Chart TSX:WEED, NYSE:CGC) Bruce Linton gets that.
Or at least he’s trying to.
On Wednesday, the Canopy CEO celebrated the initial public offering of his other gig, Martello Technologies (Quote, Chart TSXV:MTLO), for which he’s co-chairman with tech mogul Terry Matthews. Ottawa-based Martello specializes in the tech end of business communications managing VoIP, video and streaming services, a neglected area in the tech sector, says Linton.
“Everybody now talks about hosted things, [like] Amazon Web Services,” Linton said conversation with BNN Bloomberg recently. “Nobody wants to go out and buy a phone system but many offices have them and nobody wants to buy a video communications system but many have them. What Martello does is make is so we identify the issues and then resolve them through equipment that we have, both virtual and actual.”
In June, Martello announced a $7.5 million private placement of shares in preparation for the IPO, with the stock closing Wednesday at $0.44. Linton, who began his career working for Matthews at Newbridge Networks, sees a lot of parallels between the tech and marijuana sectors.
“I think a successful marijuana company is designed for scale and scale means a lot of technology,” he says. “It means you actually have a chain of custody, understanding how do I not lose cannabis? How do I make sure that I control all the inputs and outputs. So, a lot of my tech history conveyed over into how we run Canopy.”
“As of [last] December, I thought, having two jobs is good for six years but now I’m trying to get down to one job, or kind of two with Canopy Growth and Canopy Rivers,” he says. “With Martello, I became co chairman with Terry, so it’s kind of a neat thing.”
With the start of recreational cannabis now just around the corner, Linton is, no surprise, bullish about Canada’s nascent marijuana industry, projecting that Canopy will generate over $100 million in revenue before the year is out.
“I suspect the number of viewers who are interested [in buying legal cannabis] exceed the number who aren’t. What’s that, five or six million people who are going to want to try it in October? That’s just the beginning,” he says. “Europe’s growing like crazy. Last quarter, Canopy did more than ten per cent of its business in Germany.”
“One of the things that’s kind of neat between tech and cannabis, if you’re only thinking about doing well in Canada, you’re done. But if you start off thinking about how to do well around the globe and if you lay down that track for four for five years and it turns into being an opportunity,” he says. “Martello is kind of there, Canopy is kind of there — it’s a bit of symmetry,” he says.