How to build the global cannabis company in 646 days

On September 26, 2019 John Mavridis, Plena Global’s SVP of Corporate Development, was the keynote speaker at “IP Seminar: Protecting Cannabis and Artificial Intelligence,” an event hosted in Montreal by Bereskin & Parr LLP – Canada’s premiere intellectual property law firm. His presentation, entitled “How to build The Global Cannabis Company in 646 Days,” provided insight into what it takes to build a successful cannabis start-up while outlining some of the challenges faced along the way. Mr. Mavridis ended his presentation by emphasizing the potential of artificial intelligence in the industry and how Plena Global is leveraging data analytics to optimize their large-scale cannabis production.

646 days ago, Plena Global was just an idea; today, Plena Global has become “The Global Cannabis Company” and has the numbers to prove it:

  • >110 + employees​
  • >US$50 million raised​
  • 3,200,000 sq. ft. licensed facility in Colombia​
  • LOI to acquire 27,000,000 sq. ft. of existing farmland in Peru ​
  • Multiple varietals currently registered for commercial use with ICA
  • >500 varietals in the seed bank and eligible for registration with ICA

Just like any other start-up, becoming a trusted international business-to-business cannabis supply partner begins with a plan. Mr. Mavridis, outlined the five elements that have enabled Plena Global to face every challenge to their plan: Vision, Values, Product, Market Timing, and Resilience.

Plena Global was founded on the vision of creating a world where high-quality medical cannabis is available to all patients who need it to maintain or improve their quality of life. Creating this world and giving customers the supply-chain certainty they need requires growing in an optimal environment and growing at scale.

“Cannabis is grown everywhere, but can you grow at scale?” Mr. Mavridis asked. Plena Global’s headquarters are in Canada and as Mr. Mavridis stated, “you can’t grow cannabis in the snow.” Plena Global turned to Latin America, where the climate is ideal for year-round growth, to fulfill their vision.

Today, Plena Global owns over 20,000,000 sq. ft. of production land in South America through their subsidiary Econnabis SAS, including a 3,200,000 sq. ft. licensed facility just outside Bogota, Colombia. Plena Global Peru SAC has an LOI to purchase 27,000,000 sq. ft. of existing farmland north of Lima, Peru. “It’s a crazy amount of land when you think that at the beginning of last year there were only 50 hectares of production land in Canada”

“Why do we do this?” asked Mr.  Mavridis, “Plena Global and our investors believe that the market will grow, and big businesses will need a reliable supply to meet their patient and customer demand.”

Growing in Latin America and working with partners worldwide, Plena Global’s core values have guided the company: quality, collaboration, integrity, and responsibility. Compliance is an integral part of Plena Global’s commitment to quality and integrity. “You cannot imagine how much time we spend thinking about compliance,” Mr. Mavridis said. “Compliance not only on the agronomic side of this, but also on the trade side.” Mr. Mavridis also outlined the importance of knowing every customer and have a strong understanding of legislation, both national and international.

In 646 days, Plena Global has become “The Global Cannabis Company”. It started with a plan, but Mavridis credits the company’s vision, values, product, market timing, and resilience for achieving what it has in such a short period of time.

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