Proactiveinvestors USA & Canada Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) https://www.proactiveinvestors.com Proactiveinvestors USA & Canada Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) RSS feed en Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:53:42 -0500 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Canadian Securities Exchange enjoying best year yet; large cannabis financings a particular highlight ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/211619/canadian-securities-exchange-enjoying-best-year-yet-large-cannabis-financings-a-particular-highlight-211619.html It is clear from speaking with people both inside the Canadian Securities Exchange and around the broader financial community that 2018 is going to be remembered as perhaps the most transformational year in the CSE’s history.

Huge financings, billion-dollar market caps, a steady stream of international listings, and financial institutions investing in CSE issuers like never before are only some of the talking points.  Fast-growing, well-capitalized companies and strong investor interest in them have elevated the exchange to a new level.

Total capital raised by CSE issuers looks set to increase by over 500% compared to 2017, with a chance at topping the $5 billion mark.  Curaleaf Holdings certainly played its part, raising $520 million during its listing transaction in October.  The company stated in a related news release that over 100 financial institutions had supported its financing.

Rapid expansion of market capitalization

“Clearly, standout events have been taking place over the last few months, with the number of very large US-based cannabis issuers that have joined the exchange,” remarks Richard Carleton, CSE Chief Executive Officer, during a discussion in late November.  “We are seeing the most rapid expansion of market capitalization and impact on the exchange since our inception.”

Climbing 13.25% year-to-date, the total market capitalization of CSE listed companies is growing appreciably thanks to the contributions of several larger entrants to the marketplace.  And while Curaleaf leads the way with its $2+ billion valuation, there are plenty of other issuers that qualify as solid mid-caps in the Canadian market.  Microcaps still constitute the majority of listings, but bigger companies are finding the exchange to be a suitable home as well.

It’s no secret that the CSE is the go-to exchange for listing cannabis companies with operations in the United States.  The CSE never shied away from the cannabis industry in Canada, and when considering how to manage prospective issuers from south of the border, exchange officials spent time with regulators and professional services providers to confirm there was a high degree of comfort with the industry’s risk profile.  One of the advantages of investing in public companies, after all, is strict disclosure standards designed to ensure that investment risk can be accurately assessed.

The next development in the cannabis sector at the CSE, beyond more large listings almost ready to debut, is the development of cannabis index products in 2019.  “The CSE is the only location globally where you see as heavy a concentration of US cannabis issuers, so we are the logical place for such an index to be calculated and disseminated,” notes Carleton.  Could related ETFs be far behind?

Whilst cannabis stocks may be dominating the headlines, the CSE has also welcomed a strong contingent of new mining companies in 2018, a total of 57 through the end of November.

“We have in fact seen a significant number – and in absolute numbers almost a record – of mining companies get onto the exchange and receive funding this year,” says Carleton.  “My sense is that some of the profits from trading in the cannabis space over the last couple of years are being applied to the mining sector.”

Tech listings have been increasing as well, even though appetite for everything blockchain has slowed compared to the enthusiasm of late 2017.  Interestingly, the industry enthusiasm for cannabis might just dovetail with ongoing international outreach initiatives by the CSE to put new funding alternatives on the table in the tech space.

Canadian public equity markets a viable alternative for US companies

Smaller companies in the US and other international markets are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain private funding as private equity funds increase in size and need to make larger investments in portfolio components.  A primary Canadian listing on the CSE would be worth considering for many young growth companies.

“We are being exposed to advisors in the United States who are beginning to understand that the Canadian public equity markets are in fact a viable alternative for US companies looking for growth capital,” says Carleton.  “We’ve had conversations with a number of these professionals about taking what we have learned from the capitalization efforts in the US cannabis space and applying that to companies from other sectors that perhaps have not been that well served by the venture capital and private equity models that are the principal source of growth capital for early stage US companies.”

Speaking of tech, the CSE has an ongoing project of its own in the form of a blockchain-enabled clearing and settlement facility.  The project team is in the late stages of quality assurance and plans call for moving to external testing with dealers and other interested parties before the end of 2018.

“Dealers continue to be extremely eager to get their hands on it,” Carleton explains.  “They understand the business case and the client service benefits, as well as the number of companies that would like to use security tokens as a means of securing capital.  We continue to be very excited about this facility and it is going to be one of the things on the agenda for 2019.”

Continually working to improve the issuer experience is an important part of the CSE’s culture, and that’s reflected in exchange staff organizing or participating in over 80 events during 2018.

New Toronto office 

The CSE seeks to make that part of its business even stronger in 2019 with relocation to a new office, the highest office floor in Toronto, no less – 72 stories up at First Canadian Place.  “This was really brought on by the anticipated growth in our staffing levels, particularly in the listings regulation area,” says Carleton.  “It is important that we continue to maintain high service levels for our issuers and deploy our regulatory responsibilities as an exchange.”

A full-blown market opening centre is in the works and it will be just one of several first-day activities designed to ensure that a new issuer’s launch into the public markets gets off to a good start.  “The new First Canadian Place location will provide the space and a spectacular backdrop to have exactly that kind of experience.”

New issuers will be pleased to learn that they are joining an exchange that again set full-year records for trading volume, trading value, and other measures of investor participation.

Trading volume up

In the first 11 months of the year, trading volume was already 54.97% higher than the total for all of 2017, topping 27.05 billion shares.  Most measures of investor activity had actually surpassed last year’s record levels by mid-summer.  And with the listing application pipeline exceptionally healthy as we head into year-end, look for 2019 to be another blockbuster.

Granted, capital markets in Canada are having a better year in general, but the CSE’s pace of growth in 2018 is validation of a business model that puts the needs of issuers first.  Fund managers from around the world confirm this, sophisticated management teams who choose the CSE over multiple alternatives confirm this, and investors trading tens of millions of shares per day in individual companies confirm this.

Carleton and his team see it first-hand and fully anticipate 2019 to be another year of growth and progress in many forms.  Be it cannabis and tech businesses listing from the US, Israeli companies following up on the CSE’s multiyear effort there to introduce the CSE listing concept, or new investors learning about the many opportunities presented by CSE issuers, the outlook could hardly be brighter.

“Things are going well but we need to keep our foot on the accelerator,” Carleton concludes.  “Top quality service for our issuers, a fair and well-regulated trading environment, and continued innovation in the exchange’s technology and business practices.  It has worked so far, and we are going to keep at it.”

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Thu, 20 Dec 2018 20:20:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/211619/canadian-securities-exchange-enjoying-best-year-yet-large-cannabis-financings-a-particular-highlight-211619.html
<![CDATA[Media files - Canadian Securities Exchange achieving unprecedented growth in 2018 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/stocktube/10534/canadian-securities-exchange-achieving-unprecedented-growth-in-2018-10534.html Wed, 19 Sep 2018 18:12:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/stocktube/10534/canadian-securities-exchange-achieving-unprecedented-growth-in-2018-10534.html <![CDATA[News - Canadian Securities Exchange launches new trading and clearing platform that harnesses blockchain technology ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/191590/canadian-securities-exchange-launches-new-trading-and-clearing-platform-that-harnesses-blockchain-technology-191590.html The Canadian Securities Exchange is moving into the new era of blockchains with the introduction of a securities clearing and settlement platform that uses blockchain technology.

Under the new platform, companies can issue conventional equity and debt through tokenized securities, which would be offered to investors through Security Token Offerings or STOs.

READ: Canadian Securities Exchange on best run ever as issuers capitalize on strong market

The STOs however will be very different from blockchain-based cryptocurrencies or Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)which are unregulated. STOs will be fully regulated by the applicable securities commissions, CSE said in a statement on Tuesday.

STOs will undergo regulated review protocols prior to being accepted for trading and there will be ongoing oversight by both an established national securities exchange and provincial securities regulators.

The platform offers real-time clearing and settlement as well as substantial reductions in costs and errors when compared to traditional clearing services.

The CSE has licensed the necessary technology for the platform from New York-based Fundamental Interactions Inc, which has extensive experience delivering blockchain-enabled solutions in the US and Asia.

“This is a landmark announcement for the Canadian capital markets. The Canadian Securities Exchange expects to be the first recognized exchange in

Canada to introduce a fully developed blockchain platform for trading, clearing and settling tokenized securities,” said Richard Carleton, Chief Executive Officer of the CSE.

Extend corporate finance beyond traditional limits

“Our platform represents an intersection between blockchain and the capital markets that delivers on blockchain’s promise to disrupt conventional transaction and record-keeping mechanisms, thereby providing tangible benefits for market stakeholders.

By harnessing this technology, the potential exists to extend corporate finance beyond the limits of traditional equity and debt offerings.

We look forward to working with regulators and with corporations seeking to raise capital through STOs to fully realize the benefits of the new platform,” Carleton added.

Kabuni set to issue first STOs?

In relation to the launch of the new platform, the exchange said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kabuni Technologies Inc, which plans to become the first company to issue STOs on a recognised securities exchange.

Kabuni, which is based in Vancouver, plans to file a prospectus with the British Columbia Securities Commission.

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Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:56:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/191590/canadian-securities-exchange-launches-new-trading-and-clearing-platform-that-harnesses-blockchain-technology-191590.html
<![CDATA[News - Canadian Securities Exchange on best run ever as issuers capitalize on strong market ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/188829/canadian-securities-exchange-on-best-run-ever-as-issuers-capitalize-on-strong-market-188829.html Observers might be surprised to learn that it has been four years since the Canadian Securities Exchange adopted its current brand, the name change undertaken because the organization felt it was ready to challenge for a greater share of the activity generated by Canada’s small-cap public companies.  One wonders how many of its executives realized what a turning point they were at in the exchange’s fortunes at the time.

The achievements in the intervening years have been truly outstanding: a 90% increase in listings, transaction volume up by over 2,000%, trading value up by over 3,000%, and similarly exponential growth in the amount of capital raised by CSE issuers.  To top it all off, the CSE Composite Index is sitting at an all-time high.

CSE Chief Executive Officer Richard Carleton is quick to give credit for the exchange’s growth to the broader financial community, of which the CSE and its team are but one member.

“The growth of the CSE over the last few years is a model of how the Canadian public equity markets can provide the capital entrepreneurs and innovative companies need to expand their business. Exempt market advisors and private investors have teamed with the Canadian broker-dealer community and public market investors to finance exceptional growth,” remarks Carleton.

“The CSE simply tries to provide the best listing environment possible from the standpoints of cost, compliance and a variety of ongoing support so that our issuers can deploy more resources to building their business.  Our goal is to facilitate the lowest cost of capital in the country for these types of companies.”

That ethos is reflected in simple listing policies catering to early-stage companies, a streamlined regulatory process, an affordable and fixed fee structure ($7,800 per year once listed), and an ongoing effort by staff to organize engaging events, publish rich content and reach out in any way they can to spread the word about the exchange’s issuers and their respective industry sectors.

And trust that the as-yet-unreformed lawyer Carleton is hard at work as the face of the exchange, but also in the background influencing regulations to ensure small-cap public companies are treated fairly.

“We refer to ourselves as the Exchange for Entrepreneurs, and that’s in part because most of our team are from entrepreneurial backgrounds,” says Carleton.  “If you’ve grown a business before, you understand how challenging it is and remember times when you wish something worked better or you had a certain type of support network to turn to.  Our senior team all know what it is like to build a business from scratch.  We are always mindful of that and do what we can to create that environment.”

Stocks in several industry sectors are firing on all cylinders right now, but none has been as important to the CSE’s success over the last couple of years as cannabis.  Visit the CSE’s homepage and on many days, most, if not all, of the five most heavily traded issues operate in the cannabis space.

“The first cannabis-related companies on the CSE focused on cultivation opportunities for the medical use market in Canada,” says Carleton.  “We then saw companies with business in the cannabis ‘ancillaries’ space (delivery systems, extraction technologies, etc.), and finally a group of companies dedicated to large-scale growing and retailing networks in the United States.

“More recently, some of the momentum seems to have swung back to the Canada-focused issuers, what with legalization in this country expected halfway through next year.  There are some smart people building these companies, and some smart investors backing them, and the dynamic remains fascinating to watch.”

Carleton explains that the CSE is also interested in the potential of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as an asset class, with a handful of issuers recently enjoying major success by focusing on the space.

The exchange is working to formulate its own approach to integrating blockchain into its business model.  “But we are not rushing to throw the word into a press release,” Carleton notes.  “There are some very real applications for blockchain technology that could change the way certain things are done in our business for the better, but we definitely want to have a sound strategy before pursuing them.”

With an eye to the future both near and long term, the CSE has been strengthening its domestic standing and working to establish a meaningful presence in markets outside Canada.

Now that all discount brokers in Canada facilitate trading access to the CSE for their clients, retail investing on the exchange has taken off, as can be seen in the trading volume and value growth.  And a growing comfort with the CSE at the institutional investor level is evident in large financings supporting some of the exchange’s best-performing stocks.

On the international front, Carleton, along with James Black, Vice President of Listings Development, spent a productive November week in Israel where “there are perfect alignments with our marketplace.”  Israel, Carleton adds, “has a vibrant start-up ecosystem much like Canada’s, but their public capital markets are reserved for larger companies.  We see a clear opportunity there, whereby the CSE can supplement the traditional venture capital path and provide the many advantages of a public listing for growing Israeli companies.”

Also important to the CSE’s positioning going forward will be its burgeoning strategic alliance with the OTC Markets Group in the United States.  The two markets frequently hold joint events introducing their advantages to potential issuers, and the response so far has been excellent.

“International companies can use us as a Canadian entry point to the US market and its large retail audience by seeking a secondary trading presence on the OTC markets, while Canada serves as the primary listing,” says Carleton.  “In that sense, the CSE is an exceptional gateway for companies looking to raise money and build shareholder interest in the US.”

One more measure of the exchange’s success comes in the form of a move by its largest shareholder, Urbana Corporation, which announced recently that it had purchased shares from other equity holders to increase its stake in the CSE to 49%.  Urbana, of course, is run by Thomas Caldwell, the Order of Canada holder who knows a thing or two about this type of business, his companies having been the second-largest shareholder of New York Stock Exchange seats before that bourse demutualized (his companies have held stakes in 37 exchanges around the world over the years).

Carleton speaks particularly proudly of the team inside the CSE, where marketing talent gels with compliance wonks and legal beagles work with technologists to create a well-oiled machine.

“It’s not easy,” Carleton laughs, “but it is fun, and I am proud to say that everyone is committed to what we are doing and enjoys working together to make a difference.  We really believe that by providing that path to efficient capital acquisition and corporate valuation, we are doing something that creates jobs, facilitates innovation, and benefits Canadians from coast to coast.”

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Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:39:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/188829/canadian-securities-exchange-on-best-run-ever-as-issuers-capitalize-on-strong-market-188829.html
<![CDATA[News - The Canadian Securities Exchange hails new records in November ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/188682/the-canadian-securities-exchange-hails-new-records-in-november-188682.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) reported record trading last month (November) and saw  a whopping 3.49bn shares turnover.

This beat the previous monthly record from November 2016 of 1.33 billion shares.

In the year to date, the CSE has traded 13.03bn shares of listed companies, far exceeding last year’s record of 6.43bn shares, and so far this year the exchange has seen a total value traded of $4.74 billion - the previous annual record was $1.55 billion traded in 2016.

November 28 this year was the single day record for share volume, number of trades and total value.

During that month, the exchange welcomed seven new companies and three companies that underwent a fundamental change transaction. 

In terms of corporate finance, CSE-listed companies raised more than $700 million in 2017 as a result of more than 400 transactions.

“A number of industry sectors have clearly caught the attention of the trading and investing communities interested in entrepreneurial companies”, said Richard Carleton, the chief executive of the CSE. 

"We are delighted to see that the hard work of our issuer companies and the CSE team is paying off to the degree that it has over the last several weeks. 

"With a strong group of prospective issuers in its pipeline, we are confident that the CSE will continue to bring compelling investment opportunities to investors in the coming months."

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Tue, 05 Dec 2017 07:42:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/188682/the-canadian-securities-exchange-hails-new-records-in-november-188682.html
<![CDATA[News - The Canadian Securities Exchange welcomes guidance from CSA on US cannabis-related activity ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/185828/the-canadian-securities-exchange-welcomes-guidance-from-csa-on-us-cannabis-related-activity-185828.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) says it welcomes new guidance from the CSA (Canadian Securities Administrators) on firms with US cannabis related activities.

All issuers with US cannabis exposure must  do a number of things, including explain that cannabis remains illegal under US federal law and that the approach to enforcing such laws may change.

They must also discuss their ability to access both public and private capital, and indicate whether financing options are available or not to support continuing operations.

Those with direct involvement in US cannabis cultivation or distribution must outline the regulations in the US states in which they operate, and confirm how they are complying.

“We are grateful to the CSA for issuing timely and carefully considered guidance regarding current and prospective reporting issuers focused on the U.S. cannabis sector,” said Richard Carleton, the chief executive of  The Canadian Securities Exchange.

"This document provides significant comfort to these issuers that their Canadian listings will remain in good standing as long as they provide the disclosure that is rightly required by regulators.

"We are also committed to ensuring that there is no disruption to the central clearing, depository and settlement services provided for these issuers.

"We are working with the relevant stakeholders on this matter and are very confident that companies will continue to have trades in their securities cleared and settled."

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Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:10:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/185828/the-canadian-securities-exchange-welcomes-guidance-from-csa-on-us-cannabis-related-activity-185828.html
<![CDATA[News - The Canadian Securities Exchange launches new CSE25 index for largest and most liquid stocks ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184242/the-canadian-securities-exchange-launches-new-cse25-index-for-largest-and-most-liquid-stocks-184242.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) has introduced a new index comprising of its largest and most liquid stocks.

It is called the CSE25 Index and includes the top 25 securities by market cap contained in the CSE composite index, which was launched in 2015.

Richard Carleton, the chief executive at CSE, noted that as the exchange had grown rapidly in terms of trading volumes and market capitalization it was "appropriate that we give market participants a benchmark that monitors the performance of our largest and most liquid issues".

He described the CSE, which is home to over 300 stocks,  as the 'exchange for entrepreneurs'.

Trading on the CSE has been exceptionally robust in 2016 and 2017 and turnover of the entire market measured by the value of trading divided by the total market cap has averaged 6.6% per month in 2017 so far.

Carleton said that  was a level of market activity unrivalled in the Canadian exchange space.

The 25 companies of the CSE25 Index account for over 50% of the weighting in the larger index and are typically stocks that attract considerable trading volumes.

They include Liberty Health Sciences Inc (LHS), which accounts for the most weighting on the CSE 25 index at 14.31%. It is also home to CannTrust Holdings Inc (TRST), with 13%.

Lower down the scale, RESAAS Services Inc (RSS) accounts for 1.80% of the weighting.

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Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:45:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184242/the-canadian-securities-exchange-launches-new-cse25-index-for-largest-and-most-liquid-stocks-184242.html
<![CDATA[News - The Canadian Securities Exchange confirms position on US cannabis firm listings ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184248/the-canadian-securities-exchange-confirms-position-on-us-cannabis-firm-listings-184248.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) confirmed its position on the listing of cannabis firms with assets or operations in the USA.

"Currently, there are conflicting U.S. federal and state laws concerning the legality of medical and recreational cannabis," it said in a brief statement.

"The CSE maintains that companies with exposure to the U.S. cannabis industry need to  provide a complete risk disclosure for investors. This should include a comprehensive discussion of the current legal framework. All CSE-listed companies are required to comply.

It added that  exchange would continue to accept applications from companies that meet listing requirements and provide appropriate disclosure.

"The CSE is "The Exchange For Entrepreneurs”, and we are pleased to be receiving growing interest from entrepreneurs in the U.S. cannabis space, where a rapidly evolving legal framework has created significant investment opportunities,” said Richard Carleton, chief executive.

“Provided that these companies offer appropriate risk disclosure and demonstrate that they are operating in accordance with applicable laws, we believe that they are valuable additions to our well-regulated exchange.”

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Fri, 04 Aug 2017 15:39:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184248/the-canadian-securities-exchange-confirms-position-on-us-cannabis-firm-listings-184248.html
<![CDATA[News - The Canadian Securities Exchange sees 175% increase in trading volumes in first half ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184244/the-canadian-securities-exchange-sees-175-increase-in-trading-volumes-in-first-half-184244.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) said trading volume on its listed stocks in the first half this year at 5.5bn shares was 175% higher than the same period of 2016.

Listed issues raised over $320mln in the six months, up 161%, with 217 financings completed, it added.

And the  value of CSE listed securities traded was $1.6 billion -  586% higher.

"The tremendous growth in trading volume and financings at the CSE during the first six months of 2017 is a reflection of our listed companies achieving their objectives," said Richard Carleton, chief executive.

"It is a credit to our entire issuer base. The primary reason companies go public is to gain access to capital more easily and under better terms than they would experience in other contexts. 

"As more and more companies accomplish this with a CSE listing, both the exchange and its issuers grow stronger.”

Technology, resource exploration and life sciences were among sectors experiencing markedly stronger investor engagement in the half, said CSE

Companies conducting financings in the first half included Namaste Technologies, which raised C$11.3 million, while Canadian Bioceutical Corporation carried out two financings raising a total of C$38.2 million. 

Issuers focused on the cannabis industry accounted for around half of the funds raised, with technology and resource exploration companies also attracting significant amounts of new capital.

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Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:19:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184244/the-canadian-securities-exchange-sees-175-increase-in-trading-volumes-in-first-half-184244.html
<![CDATA[News - The Canadian Securities Exchange "very happy" with growth in first quarter ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184247/the-canadian-securities-exchange-very-happy-with-growth-in-first-quarter-184247.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) said it was very happy with its first quarter, which saw "exceptional" year-on-year growth in share turnover, value traded and total value of financings completed.

CSE issuers completed 108 financings and raised over $160mln, an increase of almost 300% against the first quarter of 2016.

The volume traded in CSE listed securities tripled compared to the first quarter of 2016 to 3.03bn shares, while the value of CSE listed firms traded during the quarter reached C$940mln - an eight fold increase from the previous year.

“We are very happy with results from the first quarter of 2017, as our issuers enjoyed a more welcoming financing environment and the increase in trading liquidity meant better pricing and risk management opportunities for investors,” said Richard Carleton, the chief executive.

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Wed, 19 Apr 2017 07:29:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/184247/the-canadian-securities-exchange-very-happy-with-growth-in-first-quarter-184247.html
<![CDATA[News - Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) sees record trading volumes in 2016 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/172306/canadian-securities-exchange-cse-sees-record-trading-volumes-in-2016-172306.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) reported record trading in 2016, with the volume of trades of the firms listed on the exchange rising 159% to 6.4 billion shares.

The trading value in CSE-listed securities was $1.5 billion, up 334%, while companies on the exchange conducted 364 financings, raising just over $400 million - up 106% from 2015.

Chief executive of the exchange, which is home to over 330 listed stocks, Richard Carleton said: "It is gratifying to consider the dramatic growth the CSE has experienced over the past few years, not just in number of issuers but in volume, market quality, and overall interest in our listing environment.

"We believe the CSE offers distinct benefits for small-cap companies considering a presence as a publicly traded entity.

Looking ahead, he said:  "We plan a variety of initiatives domestically and internationally during 2017 to reach new audiences and ensure as many people as possible know about the CSE's advantages."

There were 38 new issuers during the year from a variety of fields, including oilfield services, medical cannabis and mobile technology, and the CSE welcomed five new companies via IPOs (initial public offerings).

The second half saw trading volumes increase as specific market sectors attracted strong investor interest ahead of the presidential election in the USA, the firm said.

October to December was the busiest quarter in the group's history, with volume higher by 334% compared to the same period in 2015, it added.

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Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:26:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/172306/canadian-securities-exchange-cse-sees-record-trading-volumes-in-2016-172306.html
<![CDATA[Media files - A 'record year' for the Canadian Securities Exchange, says CEO Richard Carleton ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/stocktube/6490/a-record-year-for-the-canadian-securities-exchange-says-ceo-richard-carleton-6490.html Tue, 29 Nov 2016 20:13:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/stocktube/6490/a-record-year-for-the-canadian-securities-exchange-says-ceo-richard-carleton-6490.html <![CDATA[News - Multiple sectors send CSE trading volume, financings to new record in Q3 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/167244/multiple-sectors-send-cse-trading-volume-financings-to-new-record-in-q3-167244.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) on Tuesday released performance metrics for the third quarter of 2016, highlighting continued strong growth, with records chalked in trading volume and capital raised by CSE-listed companies.

The figures build upon 64% volume growth experienced by the bourse in the first half ended in July. Read more.

The main takeaways from the latest numbers are that trading volume in CSE-listed securities climbed 138% compared with the same quarter of 2015, to 1.27bn shares while companies listed on the CSE conducted 85 financings for gross proceeds totaling C$109mln - an increase of 222% over the same period a year earlier.

The CSE finished the July-September quarter with 315 listed securities, 13 more than a year ago.

Trading on the CSE platform in securities listed on other exchanges totaled 811mln shares, showing 59% growth on a year earlier.

Metrics for January through September also set records.

With 3.27bn shares traded in CSE-listed securities that outpaced the total for all of 2015 (2.48bn shares). CSE-listed companies raised $226mln in the first nine months of the year, compared with $195mln in full-year 2015.

Trading volume already continues to gain momentum in the fourth quarter, with a record 99,688,093 shares trading in CSE listed securities on October 6. Over the past 30 days the CSE has set new records for both daily trading volume and number of trades on seven occasions.

Several CSE issuers ranked among the most actively-traded public companies in all of Canada during the quarter as investor interest increased across most industry sectors, and particularly for life sciences companies. The CSE also welcomed one of the few Initial Public Offerings completed in Canada this year when Glance Technologies Inc. (CNSX:GET) made its trading debut on September 7.

Toward the end of the quarter, the exchange announced several important executive level appointments, and the addition of a highly experienced financial industry executive to its Board of Directors. The appointments were made to expand business development coverage and deepen the pool of expertise in the listings review group.

The CSE team remained hard at work connecting with entrepreneurs, hosting events in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto during the quarter, as well as presenting and exhibiting at the first ever Mines and Money conference held in North America. Senior exchange staff also travelled to China and Mongolia to continue outreach efforts in growing overseas markets.

The exchange also said it will soon implement a new trading system technology featuring execution services for all equities listed in Canada. Related to this, a commitment to heightening the visibility of companies listed on the CSE through continued investor events and publications (including the CSE Quarterly magazine), plus support for market-making and other activities, will assist with further advances in volume and liquidity.

"The CSE is firing on all cylinders, with an improved capital markets backdrop helping our issuers to meet, and in some cases exceed, their financing targets," said Richard Carleton, CSE Chief Executive Officer.

"Having added several talented executives to our team, the CSE is positioned even more strongly to facilitate access to growth capital for entrepreneurs at the lowest possible cost, while providing liquid and accessible trading services for investors anywhere in the world," he added.

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Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:11:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/167244/multiple-sectors-send-cse-trading-volume-financings-to-new-record-in-q3-167244.html
<![CDATA[News - CSE trading rockets 64 percent in first half of 2016 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/128660/cse-trading-rockets-64-percent-in-first-half-of-2016-128660.html Trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) reached record volume for the first half of 2016, growing by 64 percent, compared to the first half of the previous year. There were 2.01 billion shares traded in CSE listed securities in the first six months of 2016. Those results put the exchange far ahead of the previous year’s activity, when a record 2.47 billion shares traded for the full year. The CSE announced the results on Monday.

"The activities we undertook in the first half of 2016 made our offering as an exchange stronger, as evidenced by growth in both trading volume and financings closed by our issuers," said Richard Carleton, CEO of the Canadian Securities Exchange.

CSE pointed to additional signs of rapid growth, noting that it had 328 listed securities by the mid-year mark of 2016, up 12.3% over the same period in 2015. CSE companies also did 178 financings, for total gross proceeds of $123 million, which was 28.4% higher than in the first half of 2015. As well, trading on the CSE in securities listed on other exchanges totaled 1.82 billion shares, an increase of 19.1%.

Looking ahead from these positive results, attaining new trading milestones will require some cooperation from the overall marketplace, Carleton noted. “In many respects, we’re always a reflection of investor sentiment. For instance, if junior equities are not in particular fashion, we’ll struggle. It would be helpful if there was some stability in the oil price as well. The big thing for us comes from a corporate financing perspective, in being in an environment where companies can get the financing they need.

“The CSE team is constantly working on new and dynamic ways to drive our mandate, which is supporting entrepreneurs and lowering the cost of capital for early stage companies,” he added.

Leading up to the increased trading volume, the CSE engaged in sustained issuer outreach to the financial community, through presentations at CSE Days events in major cities, connecting executives and financial industry professionals, retail investors and others. The exchange also published new issues of CSE Quarterly Magazine, profiling the CSE’s top performing companies. As well, they launched a new website intended to make it easier for investors to get key information on CSE-listed companies and improve the user experience.

The CSE also updated rules regarding listing requirements following a feedback process; those new rules will become effective in the third quarter when the exchange publishes a notice. All of these activities helped bring greater awareness of the CSE, Carleton said.

“We will continue to support CSE listed companies with a variety of public efforts, and by working with regulatory authorities to improve the operating environment for Canadian financial markets as a whole,” he added.

The brisk trading has also been helped this year thanks to positive momentum in financing and other aspects of corporate development. “The real difference has been the resurgence of interest in the mining space,” Carleton said. He added that trading has also been helped by a number of compelling stories in the technology sector, particularly in areas like clean tech.

The CSE provides trade execution, smart routing, risk management, compliance and market information services for Canadian listed instruments and was recognized as an exchange by the Ontario Securities Commission in 2004.

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Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:11:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/128660/cse-trading-rockets-64-percent-in-first-half-of-2016-128660.html
<![CDATA[News - Difference Makers – CSE’s Top Performers Share More in Common than You Might Think ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/126459/difference-makers-cses-top-performers-share-more-in-common-than-you-might-think-126459.html Every investor in microcap stocks is in it for the big win, targeting double-digit or larger gains virtually every time they make a purchase.  Alas, if only it were that easy…most microcaps don’t turn in market-beating performance, and far too many end up costing investors all of their money.

Professional money managers typically follow a strict set of rules for choosing the stocks to include in their portfolio – a formula, if you will, to help make the right choices.  Stellar returns remain far from assured, but winning companies seem to share particular traits that are easily identifiable.

By the same token, public company managers can take certain steps to give their companies the best chance for success, both in attaining corporate goals and in achieving full valuation in the market – objectives that are not exactly mutually exclusive.

The CSE has been home to more than a few prolific performers over the years and we profile four recent success stories in this article.  What makes these companies tick, why are their shares investor favourites, and what exactly do they do that enables their respective stock prices to perform so well?  Is there a magic formula?  Let’s find out.

RESAAS Services (CSE:RSS)

“There is no magic formula,” states Cory Brandolini, CEO and founder of RESAAS Services Inc. which at its peak to date sat 1,892% above its February 2011 Initial Public Offering price of $0.25.  Priced at around $1.60 at date of publication – despite its business being miles ahead of where it was when the stock was at $4.98 – the share price still represents a gain to original investors that anyone would be happy with.

“Share price appreciation is a function of two things,” Brandolini explains.  “One, execute your business plan and make sure you are growing every month, and two, get that message out so people can understand clearly what you are trying to do.  There is no magic to that – it is just hard work, execution on your model, growth of your user base in our case, and messaging that to the investment community.”

RESAAS was deliberate in formulating the right course of action before executing its business plan, spending over a year canvassing potential clients through focus group-style forums and one-on-one meetings with brokers and CEOs from all of the major brands.  RESAAS clearly had a vision as to how they felt the industry needed to evolve and the results of a year’s worth of industry data collection served to confirm the team’s ideas.

The company then went into a calculated “stealth development” phase before launching the platform on a global basis. The result is a cloud platform connecting the entire real estate services industry around the world in real time.  Finding out what you don’t know after you’ve already created your product can be lethally expensive, and since Brandolini and RESAAS CFO Cam Shippit come from the financial industry, they understand how critical a strong start is to long-term success.

“Our ideology is that we wanted to transform the industry – not disrupt professionals but advance their model,” says Brandolini.  “Technology was not the industry’s strong suit.  It needed to be solved from an outsider’s point of view, an agnostic point of view, by somebody who didn’t have a dog in the fight but was simply trying to address the legacy based problems within the real estate services industry.”

And what an industry to choose.  As estimated by the US Federal Reserve, the value of combined commercial and residential real estate assets in the United States alone totals some US $40 trillion.  Even though only a small percentage of properties change hands each year, the commissions available to real estate agents reach into the billions.

The RESAAS platform is a gorgeous piece of online architecture that gives realtors, brokerages, multi-national franchises and associations their own industry-specific enterprise social network.  Users get to custom-brand their own environment and enjoy the functionality of real-time information sharing. Think of the power of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and the productivity of Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM).  “There had never been a platform built exclusively for the real estate enterprise side that advances the industry past its early baby boomer designed infrastructure,” says Brandolini.

In the third quarter of 2015, the company expanded its suite of services with the addition of the RESAAS Marketplace, where industry professionals can access a wide variety of services from companies such as Top Producer, DocuSign and Dotloop at prices available only to RESAAS members.  There are now over 50 participating companies, and counting, in the RESAAS Marketplace.  “Our strategy early on was to allow other real estate service providers that offer best in class products the ability to integrate directly into our platform and expose their services within our Marketplace,” says Brandolini.

Then in the fourth quarter of last year RESAAS introduced an exciting new feature on the platform called RealTimeMLS.

“At the end of 2015 we launched a game-changer for Real Estate Associations. RealTimeMLS is a technology that looks to eliminate static data collecting and turn that process into a real-time model,” says Brandolini.  “With RealTimeMLS, for any listing that an agent posts on the RESAAS platform, all of the members of his or her local association will be notified of that listing in real time, and the listing information will be pushed to that agent’s local MLS.”

Standing behind this young tech juggernaut is a balance sheet that at December 2015 boasted $6.8 million in cash and just over $438,000 in accounts payable and liabilities.  RESAAS has raised well over $20 million since it was established but at the end of last year had barely over 33 million shares outstanding.  Talk about solid corporate financial management.

Modern tech companies often get high-per user valuations, and there is little reason to believe RESAAS will not one day visit those hallowed realms.  After all, its user base is ultra-focused and full of high-paid professionals with shared interests that at the same time have something in common with every single one of us, as we all need somewhere to live.

Asked about achieving appropriate share valuation, Brandolini has one more piece of advice.  “You have to be able to get your value proposition across,” he says.  “Are you disrupting an industry, are you advancing an industry, or are you solving an industry problem?  You had better be able to answer one of those three questions affirmatively if you want the value of your company to be properly recognized on the stock market.”

Lite Access Technologies (CSE:LTE)

Lite Access Technologies listed on the CSE in a transaction that saw the company raise just over $1.84 million at $0.25 per share, with its first trade printing on June 1, 2015.  Since then, its stock price has closed as high as $1.80, up 620%, and at time of publication was $1.61, or 544% higher.

Lite Access could hardly have chosen a better time to go public, what with a worldwide “supercycle” in optical fibre installation by large telecoms driving growth for the company’s products and services.  And if that cycle is, as the company suggests, merely in the second inning, it is easy to understand why investors have gotten so excited about the prospects for strong, sustained earnings.

“Everyone today is touched by the digital world and realizes that high broadband speed and capacity is essential to a modern economy, economic growth and the daily lives of most consumers,” says Michael Plotnikoff, Lite Access co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.  “And as rapidly as fiber optic deployment is growing in a general sense, the micro-trenching and air-blown fibre sub-sector that Lite Access specializes in is growing faster.  We not only offer pure-play exposure to the space, but our total integrated solutions are based on both proven technologies and widely accepted installation methodologies considered to be the solution of choice for fibre-optic connectivity – that is pretty difficult to find.”

Lite Access uses specially designed proprietary equipment to create “micro-trenches” into which it places exclusive crush-proof microduct (micro-conduit) designed for all types of telecom applications, both for today’s needs and those of the future.  The microduct serves as a medium through which optical fibre is blown using compressed air to create high-speed broadband connectivity in a matter of minutes and at a cost far less than with traditional cable installation methods.

The beauty of the system, and a main factor driving demand, is the lack of interference with the local environment and archaeologically sensitive areas both during initial installation and any subsequent upgrade cycle.  As the micro-trenches are narrow, Lite Access installation teams can be in and out of a site quickly (micro-trenching and installing up to 1 metre per minute of microduct) and at a cost much lower than more disruptive conventional methods.

Later, when fibre needs to be replaced due to technological obsolescence or upgraded in support of future growth requirements, there is no need to dig up the roadway again.  Lite Access simply blows new fibre from the starting point through to its destination at the other end and, voila, there is your upgrade.  Nobody outside of the companies involved even knows it took place.

As Plotnikoff explains, Lite Access is a pioneer in the micro-trenching and air-blown fibre business, and as the industry shifts into high gear he has a proven team behind him that has successfully completed dozens of projects globally, some quite challenging from an engineering perspective and at times not possible using traditional installation methods.  Well-rounded project and management experience is serving Lite Access well from both an operations standpoint and in the market with investors.  It is one of several important boxes it has ticked.

Good people?  Check.  And that includes over a dozen partners around the world certified to install microduct and handle air-blown optical fibre installation.  These partners will contribute to a re-balancing of the revenue stream in future years as they collectively come to install more of Lite Access’s patented equipment and supplies than the company does itself.

Good financial management?  Check that box, too.  Lite Access has just 30.6 million shares outstanding and no financing has been conducted since the initial $0.25 round.  A corporate update released February 1 explained that milestone payments had been received on a $7 million project for BC’s Haida Gwaii community, plus there was over $1 million in receivables and inventory on the most recent balance sheet.

Another key point to note is that with the types of customers Lite Access has – which include cities and municipalities, First Nations and Native Americans, as well as private enterprise and local governments – odds are the company rarely, if ever, finds itself chasing anyone for payment.

Plotnikoff speaks warmly about shareholders he has interacted with over the past year, saying some have essentially become advocates for the brand, helping build awareness and even calling in with business opportunities.  Shareholders are welcome to visit the company’s headquarters and main warehouse in Richmond, British Columbia, if that level of contact is important to them.

“Our shareholders are comfortable because they have an open line of communication and clear, transparent access to information,” explains Plotnikoff.  “I like to think that if we preserve that approach as a principal component of our corporate culture and continue to deliver growth, we will always have a strong degree of support in the market.”

PUDO Inc. (CSE:PDO)

PUDO Inc. debuted on the CSE on July 28, 2015 at $0.70, proceeded to drop to $0.18, yet within two weeks was conducting a private placement of 1.1 million shares at $0.63.  Using that as a reference price, the stock has closed up as much as 443%, and as of publication date is up a still respectable 280%.

“While you are out and about, we’re here accepting your deliveries” reads the tagline on the company’s website, and that pretty much captures the essence of the PUDO service.  We all know how frustrating it is to be waiting for a package, only to arrive home and find that someone tried to deliver it, but unable to do so left a sticky message indicating that you cannot obtain your parcel until the following day.  Even more annoying is learning that the package had been delivered, only to be stolen off the front stoop.

PUDO completely eliminates this inefficiency by creating locations called PUDO Points where customers can specify their parcels be dropped off so as to be picked up at their convenience.

The benefits to all participants in a transaction run deeper than that, but at its core the service makes life more convenient for consumers.  It is the simplicity and connection to all of us that PUDO CEO Frank Coccia believes is behind the impressive performance by the company’s shares in the short time the company has been public.

“It is a story that everyone understands,” says Coccia.  “It is not a biotech company or mining exploration where it can be difficult to see the real potential.  I enjoy going out and speaking with investors.   They see that couriers, retailers and consumers can have a field day with this.”

Digging a little deeper, one learns why the concept would have more natural allies than competitors.  Coccia explains that PUDO seeks nothing more than to provide pick-up points inside convenience stores and other established physical locations.

Couriers thus know they have a guaranteed delivery and save money by not having to attempt re-deliveries after a failed visit.  Retailers that ship product to fulfill customer orders gain flexibility to negotiate with multiple couriers and thereby reduce their shipping costs.  The consumer gains the peace of mind that comes with knowing a parcel is available to pick up at a convenient location whenever they like.  Convenience stores and other PUDO Points not only earn fees for holding and putting parcels in the hands of their owners, but also from impulse buys thanks to the extra foot traffic.

Coccia says that investors also like the fact that PUDO keeps its costs under control by needing little more than to maintain and support the technology behind the service.  “The beauty of PUDO is that we don’t own anything outside the technology,” explains Coccia.  “The bricks and mortar is already there.  We are just taking advantage of the elements in an ecosystem that already exists.”

Growth on the ground has been quick to date, with Coccia saying that the company has already established some 800 PUDO Points in Canada and the US and over 6,000 registered locations, this latter category being locations signed up that have yet to go through training so they are fully ready to roll.

“Once we hit 3,500 to 4,000 locations in Canada then we should be exactly where we want to be,” Coccia says.  “In the US we have over 3,700 registered locations at present and ultimately want 16,000 to 20,000.  Once we reach those two numbers we will have a fixed cost with a control centre that manages everything.”

Experience helps small companies avoid costly mistakes, and fortunately for PUDO Coccia has been at this for 35 years.  “I built niche courier systems, which basically are courier systems for one industry.  We did it for the travel industry and the financial services sector and for lawyers serving one another documents and papers.  It is all about consolidation where people can pick up mail and drop off their mail.”

Coccia expects growth to continue apace, thanks in part to several potential partners he is talking to in the US.  “We’d suddenly have a network in the US that could rival that of any national carrier – UPS or even the post office,” he says.

With just 15.6 million shares outstanding, PUDO has plenty of room to maneuver if Coccia deems it necessary to raise equity capital for supporting growth.  And while the company is not flush with cash, liabilities are fairly low as well, so with revenue beginning to come in Coccia has a good shot at preserving a nice share structure until PUDO reaches the point at which it becomes self-funding.

Experienced management, enviable share structure, rapid growth, consistent communication.  Does that qualify as a formula?

VirtualArmor (CSE:VAI)

VirtualArmor debuted on the CSE in November of last year at $0.25.  It sat quietly for its first couple of months before starting to build a following that has since seen the stock close as high as $0.75 (a 200% gain), and more recently at $0.65 (up 160%).

A basic analysis of the company yields some familiar themes, including experienced management and rapid growth underscored by hard-won advantages in a large, fast-growing market.

Founder and Chairman Christopher Blisard explains the challenges facing every entity with a presence on the Internet, and thereby the opportunity for VirtualArmor, in a manner hard to dispute.  “Where we are going as a world is that everything is being moved to the edge,” Blisard explains.  “You as a consumer or business want everything available all the time at any location.  We’ll continue to grow because technology is pushing the boundaries of where data is stored and those areas can become very vulnerable very quickly.  You really have no choice but to call companies like ours to take care of your problems.”

Established in 2001, VirtualArmor has crafted a business model over the years that Blisard says literally has no peer within the industry.  It involves working closely with hardware manufacturers so that the VirtualArmor team can go beyond providing a security overlay “a mile wide and an inch deep” and get inside the actual hardware, where the most talented of hackers often go to lay their traps.

“We work hand in hand with the manufacturer, plugging their software into our platform so we can go incredibly deep into every piece of equipment we are managing on your network.  It is not just a reactive environment at that point, but also a proactive environment.”

When VirtualArmor discusses security with a potential client, it insists on bringing the hardware that will serve as the backbone of the entity’s computer network.  Instead of trying to fix the myriad bugs inherent in a system that should have been designed better in the first place, VirtualArmor brings in what it knows will work.

Looking at the financial picture, accrual earnings were skewed in 2015 by non-cash items related to the go-public effort, but cash flow was positive for the year, and that’s the number that really counts.  Fiscal 2016 should be more indicative, and thus far is shaping up nicely.  The company announced on March 8 that it had booked US $2.4 million in sales in the previous 90 days.  Given that revenue for full-year 2015 was US $7.4 million, VirtualArmor is so far on pace to beat handily year on year.

Matthew Brennan, Vice President of Sales, points to the importance of convincing investors that growth in revenue and earnings is sustainable.  “When you have an organization as successful as ours and all of that revenue came from two salespeople, to know we are going to end the year at between six and eight salespeople suggests you will see things move in a positive direction,” he says.

Blisard adds that part of the benefit of listing on the CSE has been to broaden the understanding of VirtualArmor and give it new tools to conduct the full extent of the expansion it envisions.  “Looking at 2016 to 2017, the objective will be to expand our reach internationally,” he says.  “That includes going into Canada and Europe, and particularly the London market.”  Blisard goes on to explain that the company has a 10-person Security Operations Center, or SOC, just outside of London that can play a very helpful role in landing and serving local customers.

The revenue outlook is further enhanced by the stickiness of the client base, which is actually very easy to assess: “We have never lost a managed services customer and our longest one has been with us for 10 years,” says Blisard.

Also helping the share price was the announcement March 16 that the company was cancelling just under 3 million of its shares outstanding, and that several third-party shareholders had agreed to put a total of 3 million shares into escrow.  The resulting reduction in dilution, not to mention clear vote of confidence, set a positive tone that the stock price responded to immediately.

Blisard is happy with the way the stock has performed to date but points out that he knows education is a process and that it will take time for the company to build the following it thinks it ultimately deserves.

“For the Canadian markets a company like this is unique,” Blisard explains.  “The investment community understands the importance of cybersecurity in their lives.  The people we talk to understand the way our company is structured, how it drives revenue, how it drives profit, and where it sits within the cybersecurity world.”

Concludes Brennan, “It is very important that an investor understands there is a roadmap.  We made a good decision in not growing too quickly, taking our proceeds and placing smart bets on particular territories and hiring the right people.  I think it is key that the investment community understands this.”

The Conclusion

The keys to success?  Good people are absolutely indispensable – a capable management team knows how to get the most out of a business, and has the ability to address problems and get things back on track if something goes wrong.  From corporate strategy to financial management and dynamic communications, they know what makes successful businesses work and how to fire on all cylinders.  There is no substitute for experience.

Share structure is another aspect valued by most investors and managers – if things go right, good structure makes it easier to achieve high EPS, and having fewer shares out to weigh on the market price is clearly a good thing.  If things go wrong the well-structured company has superior flexibility in accessing capital markets for the funds needed to right the ship.  More often than not, good share structure is a reflection of skillful financial management as, of course, is a strong balance sheet.

Then there is being in the right business at the right time (good management again?) – considered another way, it is easier to ride a wave than to fight one.  And when a company’s growth outlook is built on a history of expansion already, it serves as a key to winning investor confidence.

So, no magic formula, unfortunately.  Just hard work, knowing what you are doing, achieving consistent growth of your business and communicating all of this efficiently.  It may not be the whole puzzle, but these are definitely some of its most important pieces.

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Thu, 26 May 2016 13:05:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/126459/difference-makers-cses-top-performers-share-more-in-common-than-you-might-think-126459.html
<![CDATA[News - Canadian Securities Exchange has record-breaking 2015 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/121312/canadian-securities-exchange-has-record-breaking-2015-121312.html A total of C$194 million was raised last year by companies listed on the The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), it said, as it also posted record trading volumes.

The volume of shares traded on the Toronto exchange rose 6% in 2015 to a record 2.47 billion shares, it revealed.

Financing rose C$194 million in all - a 25% increase on 2014 and the second highest since its launch, while it ended the year with 293 listed companies - a 20% increase on the previous year.

Chief executive Richard Carleton said: "The CSE is an independent exchange guided first and foremost by the needs of the entrepreneurs who turn to us for an efficient and cost-effective path to going public.

"Continued growth in listings and the success our issuers had raising capital during 2015 show we are providing an environment from which emerging companies derive considerable benefit."

In all, 138 companies raised capital on the CSE and among them was Targeted Microwave Solutions (CSE:TMS), which raised $11.85 million and Axios Mobile Assets (CSE:AXA), which conducted two equity raises for a total of $19.25 million. Technology companies raised $125 million, up 59% from 2014.

Operating highlights included completing its project to integrate Canadian online brokerages to the exchange's trading platform and all major brokers now provide the ability to place orders on the CSE.

Meanwhile, a new international markets strategy designed to identify potential issuers and capital sources beyond Canada led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November with the Taipei Exchange. The agreement will see the CSE and the Taipei Exchange work together on opportunities of mutual interest.

The CSE also saw trading debuts by several companies based in the United States that were listing their shares on a public market for the first time - mainly from the technology and biotechnology sectors.

This year CSE said it would build upon a strong base of support activities for issuers and continue to provide opportunities to the broker-dealer community. 

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Wed, 13 Jan 2016 12:36:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/121312/canadian-securities-exchange-has-record-breaking-2015-121312.html
<![CDATA[News - Golden Leaf shows way for public marijuana companies with strategy timed to perfection ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120507/golden-leaf-shows-way-for-public-marijuana-companies-with-strategy-timed-to-perfection-120507.html The rush of junior public companies into the marijuana space over the past couple of years has been fast and furious as laws regulating the drug’s use changed in Canada and some US states.

Despite the best of intentions, many of these companies have not fared well, though in fairness regulatory hang-ups undermined momentum for those focused on operating in Canada.

Golden Leaf Holdings (CNSX:GLH) chose a decidedly different path by positioning itself to take advantage of regulatory change in states on the US west coast. It turned out to be a shrewd move, as the company has gone from strength to strength literally since day one.

Golden Leaf was established in May 2014 and in the one-and-a-half years since has succeeded in growing sales to over US$1 million per month. Oregon has proven to be the perfect jurisdiction for its operations, with the company having been able to legally sell its refined marijuana oil products to medical marijuana users since inception.

Recreational use was legalized in Oregon on October 1 of this year, but the only products that can be purchased through approved dispensaries at the moment are dried leaves and buds. Golden Leaf chief executive officer (CEO) Don Robinson anticipates that the second half of 2016 will bring permission for dispensaries to sell oils and edibles to recreational users, a move that would expand the market for Golden Leaf’s products by leaps and bounds.

All Golden Leaf products are based on the extraction and refining of oil from marijuana plants. The oil is sold in a variety of delivery systems, including vaporizers and edible products, the latter slated for introduction late in the current quarter or early in 2016.

“Our business model is built around the lowest cost production of the highest quality oils, based on competitive advantage, economies of scale and intellectual property,” explains Robinson.

“We think we have a different approach to the industry than other companies.”

Well-funded (the company raised a total of US$17 million in two financing rounds prior to going public on October 14 of this year) and with a strong team, Golden Leaf has proven its ability to move quickly when opportunities present themselves.

“We believe we are the biggest extractor in all of North America – we don’t know anyone bigger,” says Robinson in describing the company’s market position.

“Our growth has been explosive, from $150,000 in revenue in September 2014 to over $1 million in April 2015. We have added equipment in the last month, and by the end of this year will have doubled our output capacity and be at a monthly run rate of $2.5 million.”

Robinson explains that the company has been able to sell all of the product it makes, and that further capacity will be needed once refined products become legal for sale to recreational users. So far, Golden Leaf’s sales have come entirely from the medical use market in Oregon.

Right next door to Oregon, of course, is Washington State, where the market is twice the size of Oregon’s.

“When you put Washington and Oregon together, you are looking at a combined market of US$2.5 billion, and almost 1.4 million consumers,” says Robinson.

Keeping up with demand will require significant capital spending. “Capex for us,” explains Robinson, “is all about acquiring more machines. Each machine is close to $300,000 dollars with a two-month payback. We had three machines and added two over the summer, and by the end of the year will have 11. With each extractor you need support and auxiliary equipment because you extract with one machine and refine with another. That is the bulk of our capital spending.”

Funds have also been used to enable production of marijuana itself. “We are attempting to grow all of the feedstock for our extraction process and the reason we want to be self-reliant on feedstock is we believe it is important to be organic. You also get a better quality of feedstock if you do it yourself as opposed to buying it on the open market, where it is inconsistent.”

That claim was borne out in a November 18 press release from the company giving quality control through in-house production part of the credit for extraction yields reaching 14%, up 50% from the year-to-date average to the highest level ever experienced by the company.

From a structural perspective, part of that credit belongs to a Golden Leaf subsidiary in Israel called Green Point Science, which conducts research and development work.

“Everything that happens in Israel with cannabis is best practice,” explains Robinson. ”They have been experimenting with cannabis since the early 1970s and we are adopting their best practice in growing, breeding and greenhouse operations. In a perfect world, we would have our own strain optimized for extraction that would grow faster, with less light, less water and more disease resistance, and therefore be organic.”

Golden Leaf has grown at breakneck speed so far and with recreational use of oils in Oregon seemingly on the horizon, demand looks like something the company may never have to worry about. Still, it is hardly a bad thing that ongoing regulatory change in other parts of the country, and even nationally, will likely to add to its demand prospects.

“Four states and Washington DC are legal medically and recreationally, the states being Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon,” says Robinson. “In addition, 23 states are in some form of decriminalization.”

Then there is the national front. “The Obama administration took a big step earlier this summer and now allows research into medical marijuana,” Robinson explains.

“Up to now it has been illegal so claims as to the efficacy of marijuana from a medical standpoint are all anecdotal. Once medical studies start coming in that prove efficacy in a formal way, you will see a sea change.”

Getting back to the principle of positioning for change before it happens, Robinson points to the strength of his team and says that when it comes to management, “we have invested ahead.”

It is all about striking the right balance, mixing team members with years of experience in various aspects of the marijuana industry with executives from outside the space who bring branding and other valuable skills.

“This is going to be a very big business and we believe it requires the best of big business practice applied to cannabis,” says Robinson. “It is that marriage of talent plus ready access to capital that will enable us to continue taking advantage of opportunities as they come our way.”

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Wed, 09 Dec 2015 13:47:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120507/golden-leaf-shows-way-for-public-marijuana-companies-with-strategy-timed-to-perfection-120507.html
<![CDATA[News - Just what the doctor ordered: the H-Source marketplace network system ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120510/just-what-the-doctor-ordered-the-h-source-marketplace-network-system-120510.html H-Source is a company operating a Cloud-based virtual marketplace that is going to save hospitals and surgery centers a whole lot of money.

The company was founded in 2013 by president Murray Walden, whose background is in medical device sales.

As H-Source (CNSX:HSI) chief executive John Kupice tells it, when Walden used to go around the different hospitals “the people would say 'Hey, Dr So-and-so has left the hospital, we have these products; could you see if the next hospital might want it them?’”

And that's how the idea for H-Source was born. Its mission is to maximize efficiencies in the medical supply chain, boost operating margins and support sustainability.

Initially, the operation was run as a kind of Craigslist classified advertising service, with a monthly subscription fee.

“He [Walden] had about a million dollars in inventory, and charged $200 a month,” explained Kupice. “It was all very altruistic.”

Intrigued and enthused by the idea, Kupice came on board about a year after the company was founded, and suggested changing to a transaction-based model, formulating a business plan and raising some money to grow the business.

With his background at Ernst & Young, Kupice was able to provide know-how on what he calls “accounting knowledge, management reporting, integrating different data silos and so on.”

Kupice says he feels confident that H-Source can bring sustainability, cost-cutting and communication to the medical community through its online marketplace.

Since the company floated on the Canadian Securities Exchange in October, the size of the team has grown to 14, as it beefs up its sales force and support staff.

What the team has built is an electronic marketplace that allows medical institutions to sell surplus items to another healthcare organization that wants and needs them. Additionally, the H-Source platform includes features allowing hospitals or ambulatory surgery centers to form custom groups to privately transact assets with each other.

It’s a multiple win scenario.

The selling party gets some dollars for idle or overstocked products that would otherwise be discarded.

The buyer gets equipment and supplies it needs at a discounted rate.

Mother Nature gets a breather, as the landfill requirement goes down.

Lastly, but not least, H-Source makes some money as the middle-man, earning its commission on the sale.

What’s not to like?

This may all seem somewhat akin to the eBay model, albeit focused on medical supplies. But do you think hospitals, medical authorities and surgical centers are going to buy second-user supplies from some random unknown source on eBay?

You can – quite literally – bet your life they will not. The medical organizations want a trusted supplier, and H-Source provides that. You don’t have to take my word for it; you can take the word of numerous state hospital associations that have endorsed it.

Passing the due diligence of those associations is an exhaustive process, but worth it, as the rubber stamp opens up sales opportunities to H-Source.

At present there are more than 30 hospitals trading on the platform, with more coming on board.

Kupice reckons the company needs around 110–120 hospitals to hit the break-even point and it is targeting having 150-200 hospitals on the platform a year from now. So, this is not some 'pie in the sky' or 'jam tomorrow' Internet company that is more interested in growing numbers than making profits.

Sure, the company is interested in grabbing as many users as quickly as it can, but Kupice points out that for every dollar of revenue the company takes in, around 45 cents drops to the bottom line, so profitability is just around the corner.

That sort of margin is sure to attract the attention of potential competitors, but H-Source has first mover advantage.

“One of the reasons we went public was to do what I call land grab, to get as many clients as we could as soon as we could, and get critical mass and become the standard,” Kupice disclosed.

The company raised C$3mln when it floated its shares at 15 cents a share.

“The other thing [that sets the company apart] is our technology has been written from the ground up for hospitals, to fit in with the way they do business,” Kupice said.

It's a platform that has been tested in the real world, initially using the “freemium” model in which users get a basic version of the service for nothing, and then pay extra for snazzy features.

It's a robust system, capable of handling a large volume of transactions and providing back-end support for hospital staff.

The H-Source CEO reckons it would take nine-12 months of development for another company to create what H-Source has now, during which time H-Source would be establishing itself as the gold standard in a field it founded, and improving its platform.

“We need to go get 150–200 hospitals over the next year, and we'll be in very good shape.”

There is little doubt that this is an idea whose time has come.

Kupice estimates that hospitals in the US are throwing away more than US$4 billion a year on overstock they cannot use. That is money medical institutions can ill afford to lose.

According to Moody’s Investor Services, which looked at the 2013 audited financial accounts of 48 not-for-profit hospitals in its coverage universe, costs rose 4.6% year-on-year in 2013 while profits only advanced 4.1%.

Using the H-Source platform might not eliminate all waste, but it should cut out plenty – enough to pay for the service many times over.

The bigger the hospital, the bigger the scope for efficiency savings, but one of the key selling points of the service is that organizations of all sizes can use it. So, there’s no need for a massive information technology department to support it, because the service is available to anyone that can use a web browser.

The Cloud-based model means the platform is a very scalable one, which bodes well for H-Source’s ambitious growth plans.

“We're in this to transform waste in healthcare. We can reduce costs, take waste and turn it into dollars, in a socially responsible, sustainable fashion,” Kupice concludes.

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Tue, 08 Dec 2015 14:02:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120510/just-what-the-doctor-ordered-the-h-source-marketplace-network-system-120510.html
<![CDATA[News - Global Gardens’ Veggemo beverage targets fast-growing dairy alternative space with fresh approach ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120506/global-gardens-veggemo-beverage-targets-fast-growing-dairy-alternative-space-with-fresh-approach-120506.html With typical acerbic wit, the late columnist Mike Royko once offered his readers a simple rule for eating healthily: “If you enjoy it, you can’t have it; if you don’t like it, you can eat all you want.”

That was a little over three decades ago, when there was probably some element of truth to Royko’s tongue-in-cheek guideline. Today, however, the list of products that not only are tasty but also good for you is long and growing.

Global Gardens Group (CNSX:VGM) made that list a little longer on November 5 when it released a product line aimed squarely at the highly popular almond and soy milks that many health-conscious adults view as a refrigerator staple.

Veggemo is a vegetable based dairy alternative that tastes delicious and feels so much like milk, according to the company, that even devoted milk drinkers will be hard-pressed not to give it serious consideration. Factor in the absence of bad stuff like trans fats and cholesterol and one begins to understand why the Global Gardens management team so deeply believes it has a winning combination on its hands.

That combination might never have come together were it not for a fateful meeting four years ago between now president and chief executive officer (CEO) Rob Harrison and vice president (VP) of  Marketing, Wade Bayne.

Harrison had traveled to Vancouver from Ontario to see an early version of the product at an incubator group founded by executives from Lululemon. Bayne had been invited to the office that day as well, and the two experienced consumer goods executives quickly found themselves on the same page. “We both perceived a huge opportunity,” says Harrison.

Bayne, whose background includes executive positions at names like Molson Coors and Procter & Gamble, explains that being in the right business at the right time is everything. "In an industry that is enjoying great growth, even an average company can do well, whereas in an industry that is flat or declining, a strong company will struggle," he says.

“So, before you choose where you want to be, find an industry that has strong growth driven by factors that are sustainable.”

Harrison, who has advised the likes of Heinz, Nabisco and Nestle, claims that the dairy alternative beverage category is growing at double-digits per quarter, which compares to 1-2% growth for consumer goods overall in Canada.

And then there is dairy itself.

“You see dairy milk declining on a per capita basis for the last 25 years and people migrating to our category,” explains Harrison. “As marketers, you see exponential growth, a new category, great margins and strong demand from consumers, and we believe this shift is going to continue.”

Harrison says the alternative dairy industry is now valued at over $2 billion in North America.

In the four years since Harrison and Bayne met at the incubator, countless versions of the beverage have been created, a number of which were taken out for testing with large groups of consumers. The main tests took place in two waves: the first led to the conclusion that protein was breaking too strongly through the flavor matrix, thus causing consumers in the trials to report a slightly bitter taste.

"Protein doesn’t taste good," says Bayne, "so you have to mask it and we spent three months getting that right."

The next wave of testers liked the taste but said they would prefer the product to possess a little more body, “so we dialed up the texture to replicate a 1% or 2% milk,” says Bayne.

One might wonder how a vegetable-based drink manages its slightly off-white color. Bayne credits ingredients such as potatoes, organic potato starch, tapioca and a white-yellow pea sourced from Belgium for the milk-like hue. “It is not an artificial colour,” he points out emphatically, adding that genetically modified, or GMO, ingredients are similarly banned from the Veggemo recipe.

With the product perfected, the fourth quarter of 2015 was chosen for the start of an aggressive yet prudent roll-out.

“There are two things you measure in this business, and the first is distribution,” explains Harrison.

“We had set out to be in 450 stores at the end of the first quarter of 2016 and it appears the number is going to be closer to 800.”

Six months from the beginning of product roll-out the goal is to be in approximately 1,800 stores across Canada, including those run by several of the leading chains.

The roll-out continues in further stages to include chilled Veggemo (the first phase involves shelf-stable product, which is packaged in an environment such that the beverage remains fresh on the shelf for up to 14 months) and the addition of stores in the United States.

Looking a bit further out, Harrison says the company has its eye on the global marketplace, as North America accounts for only 18% of dairy alternative beverage sales volume worldwide. There are many attractive markets for Global Gardens to consider, he says, both for sheer size and, in some cases, high levels of lactose intolerance within the population.

A product can be fantastic, but if people don’t try it they will never know. Harrison and Bayne have already considered the appeal factor from multiple angles and have a game plan to ensure that consumers across the country find the product if not one way, then another. This, of course, drives the second metric Harrison was hinting at: sales per point of distribution, or how many units you are selling at each store.

Key to this is the brand and its character, which Bayne describes as “light-hearted, approachable and playful.”  A naturopath in Colorado that Harrison and Bayne refer to as a “guru” asserted that many healthy food choices brand in such a way as to appeal to hard-core health food consumers; because of this, however, they effectively alienate a large percentage of "average" consumers not drawn to a product branded in that fashion.

The packages for Veggemo’s three flavors – original, unsweetened and vanilla – are each different but share a common visual theme characterized by happy animals in fantasy-like nature settings. To say they stand out sitting amid rows of competitor’s containers, almost all featuring a white beverage splashing into a glass or cereal bowl, is an understatement.

Then there is in-store product demonstration, which begins this month.

“We will be doing product tastings at about 1,000 stores so that shoppers can come and try Veggemo before they make a purchasing decision,” says Bayne.

Prices for Veggemo, which at first will be offered only in the 946ml size, will differ from region to region and by retailer, but the company’s suggested retail price is $3.49. This is in the middle of the category and at a level that leaves a very nice margin both for the retailer and for Global Gardens, and the company’s margin can be expected to climb in later years as economies of scale and other efficiencies take root.

Research indicates that a consumer making a health and wellness purchase decision tends to be less price sensitive than an average consumer, and because Veggemo is so innovative it is essentially creating a new segment of non-dairy beverages. Indeed, at the recent Grocery Innovations Canada show, Veggemo was chosen as one of the 10 most innovative products, which is quite an accomplishment given that there were some 300 products at the show.

While one eye will always be on profit, Harrison understands that execution of the business plan is the most important thing as the company begins to establish the brand.

“The gross margin is great and the selling price is great, but it is really about the management team, the category growth and how we have positioned this product,” he explains. “We have a point of differentiation that is research-based and are selling an everyday consumer good resistant to recession.”

Investors seem to share Harrison’s belief. When the company went out to raise capital in the second quarter of this year, its target was $2.5 million. It ended up with $4.3 million.

A commitment to running lean and mean should help to make those funds stretch a long way. A team of just five people has brought the company to its current state, with an aversion to owning fixed assets serving to keep costs mostly on the variable side of the ledger. "We are a company that fits the times,” says Harrison. “Who wants to own fixed assets and a factory with lots of people when there are groups whose business it is to do that?”

Going onto shelves in the likes of Walmart, Save-On-Foods, IGA Market Place, Calgary Coop, Metro Quebec, Thrifty Foods and London Drugs there is bound to be at least one retailer close to most people in Canada carrying Veggemo no later than April. Try it. You might like it, and if you do…you can have as much as you want.

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Tue, 08 Dec 2015 13:42:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120506/global-gardens-veggemo-beverage-targets-fast-growing-dairy-alternative-space-with-fresh-approach-120506.html
<![CDATA[News - VirtualArmor leveraging experience, top talent as demand for network security takes off ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120505/virtualarmor-leveraging-experience-top-talent-as-demand-for-network-security-takes-off-120505.html Few themes in business news have more consistently made high profile headlines over the past few years than breaches of network security at large organizations.

Target, eBay, and even such technology leaders as Sony, are among numerous well-known entities to have suffered at the hands of individuals or teams bent on infiltrating their computer networks and making off with sensitive data.

Perhaps the most concerning thing is that we never hear about the vast majority of intrusions, either because the victims do not make them public, or because they are unaware that anything is even taking place.

The one thing we can be sure of is that the world of network security is changing at an ever-accelerating pace, with the result being that many organizations don’t even know what they don’t know.  If ever there was a situation necessitating expert, third-party support, this is it.

That being the case, it is hardly surprising that Colorado-based VirtualArmor International Inc. (CSE:VAI), which made its debut on the Canadian Securities Exchange on November 24, is seeing demand for its skill set rise at a furious pace.

Established in 2001, VirtualArmor started out by helping clients manage networks that were already in use but needed changes to enhance security.

“What we began to realize is that customers were getting the products they purchased up and running, but they really didn’t have clear insight into what that network of technology was doing and how to manage that network of technology to make it the best solution it could be,” explains Chris Blisard, VirtualArmor’s founder and chairman.

It didn’t take long for the company to conclude that the best way to help clients was to be involved right from the start so it could head off problems before they got the chance to take root.

VirtualArmor will still help new clients with existing systems if that is the support they need.  But what it would rather do is help a client design a system, sell them the hardware, set it up for them and then oversee operation of the system so that it not only serves core business needs, but does so in an environment of absolute security from day one.

“There is a whole portfolio of technologies out there that when used in concert create this beautiful architecture that really becomes the guardian of your network, and that is how we define what we do – we become the guardian of your network,” says Blisard.

Being in the security business, Blisard is discreet when discussing the specifics of work VirtualArmor conducts on behalf of clients.  He offers the example of a multinational company, which goes unnamed, that has been a customer for over 10 years to illustrate the depth of his team’s involvement.

“We became part of the client’s internal organization,” says Blisard.  “We attend their weeklymeetings to discuss challenges and changes in network protocols, we deploy and maintain all of their perimeter security, we report 24/7/365 on any anomalies, and we help them to find and design the security protocol for their network.

“For a company like that, which is managing a tremendous number of environments that are global and that are attack points for someone who might want to get information, we become the guardian for them and become an integral part of their organization and are outsourced as part of that team.”

Being “on” all the time is easier when you have personnel in more than one time zone.  VirtualArmor relies on its long-established office just outside of London to be there for clients when the team in the US is enjoying some well-earned rest.

Blisard explains that far from burdening VirtualArmor with extra expense, the UK office actually increases the company’s profit margin, so complementary is it to the team in the US both in terms of technical capability and cost-efficiency.

“The talent we have working for us in the UK is top-tier,” says Blisard.  “The gentleman who runs the office, Andrew Douthwaite, has been with us for over eight years and is an important member of our senior management team.”

On the topic of margins, VirtualArmor is generating cash flow from operations, before changes in operating assets and liabilities, and has maintained the prudence to grow only so fast as internally generated cash could support.  Sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2015 were US$4.9 million, with operating cash flow, before changes in operating assets and liabilities, of 8% of revenues.  The comparative period revenues were US$3.6 million.

However, with opportunities for new business looking so plentiful that Blisard refers to them as “never-ending,” management concluded that now was the right time to seek capital externally, as doing so would enable faster growth without unduly pressuring the existing business to support it.

After many a long discussion as to which path was best, the decision was made to list the company on a stock exchange.

“We decided that if we could find the right venue to take the company public, that is the choice we would make,” says Blisard.  “Our team feels that security is something that everyone is concerned about today and is going to be concerned about forever.  We felt that by going public, because of the importance of what we were doing, and the types of investors out there today who understand technology, we were going to be a really wonderful fit.”

It is often a good time for a successful business to turn to the public markets just as it’s expecting significant growth that can drive strong returns.  Investors should be happy to know that while putting every bit as much effort into traditional services as it always has, the company recently launched a new service to take advantage of the explosive growth in demand for centralized data storage and management, or what more commonly is referred to these days as the cloud.

The name of the service is CloudCastr and it delivers to organizations a custom-built cloud featuring best-in-class security and network management from its first day of operation.

“CloudCastr was born out of multiple discussions with customers about how best they could move to the cloud,” says Blisard.  “There are many large cloud providers out there that you can load your files onto but a lot of organizations are trying to understand what it actually means when they do that, and what degree of exposure they have.”

“CloudCastr allows us to understand what the customer’s requirement is, how much of their infrastructure they are trying to move onto the cloud, and what their expectation is of what it is going to give them.  We work together to determine what their security requirements are and then we build them a customized cloud environment.”

VirtualArmor integrates its security and managed services platform with the new cloud so that the client has a full solution – from concept all the way through to maintenance once the cloud is in use.

“Today, our managed service business is growing rapidly and that’s because you are seeing this massive movement toward outsourcing cyber security,” says Blisard in discussing the various segments that make up total sales.  “Our cloud service will become another revenue stream that we are not seeing now, but that we feel will grow dramatically in the upcoming calendar year.  And then our hardware sales and professional services are more or less equal contributors.”

Also shaping the organization going forward will be new offices.  There is expected to be at least one established in Europe, largely to grow sales, but perhaps first one in Canada, with both Vancouver and Toronto in the running owing to their ability to serve as regional hubs.

Growth through acquisition is also on the table.  “We will look at acquisitions of companies we believe will get us to a place faster than we can organically, whether it is because of their intellectual property, their products, or their revenue,” says Blisard.  “We don’t want to define and build a discipline if we believe that in the long run it would be less expensive and we would get there more quickly if we could make an acquisition.”

When asked what sets VirtualArmor apart from the competition, Blisard is clear and concise in his answer.  “With every solution we have, we are extremely in depth and believe we are considered subject-matter experts in that solution.

We have a great track record supporting, managing and maintaining for our customers,some of whom have been with us for over 10 years.  We look at giving our customer the ability to see what’s going on in their network and to respond to an attack before it happens.  That is what Chief Information Officers are looking for today.  They’re looking for companies that are not only responding, but actually pursuing.  And that is what we do.”

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Tue, 08 Dec 2015 13:39:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120505/virtualarmor-leveraging-experience-top-talent-as-demand-for-network-security-takes-off-120505.html
<![CDATA[News - PUDO focus on “last mile” set to make missed parcel deliveries a thing of the past ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120509/pudo-focus-on-last-mile-set-to-make-missed-parcel-deliveries-a-thing-of-the-past-120509.html We've all been there...

You're waiting for an important parcel, which arrives on Friday when you're out and an impersonal note says it will be ready for collection at a depot miles away - but not until Monday, when you'll be at work again.

The benefits of online shopping in the fast-paced world we now live in are clear, but my goodness there are some logistical headaches too.

Working to plug these holes in the North American system are entrepreneur Frank Coccia and his team at start-up PUDO (CSE:PDO), which is disrupting the whole way retailers, couriers and consumers behave – and so far it seems to be doing a fantastic job.

Coccia has spent many years honing what he believes is the best "last mile" delivery solution and the vision is to create a network as big as Canada Post made up of thousands of so-called PUDO Point locations.

"We're truly a unique, courier neutral system. It's a win-win for everyone," he tells me. "Everyone has had an issue with the Post Office or courier parcel at some point in their lives," he says, adding that simplifying the system has been his main aim.

And it's a worthwhile system to get a handle on. Last year, 80% of Canadians and Americans made an online purchase and in 2015, it is forecasted North Americans will spend over US$376 billion online.

So how does it work? Well, with PUDO, the missed delivery becomes a thing of the past as you can have your parcel delivered to the nearest PUDO Point location - a convenience store or gas station, often open 24/7. So you can pick up your package where you want, when you want - not bad considering how vast and unpopulated parts of Canada and the U.S. are.

Establishing such a PUDO PointTM location is as easy as it comes and the upfront costs are minimal at US$200 per point, since the small business just requires a scanner and tablet and some basic training.

The small store also benefits from extra foot traffic when people come to collect their parcels and they also get a fee for every shipment they hold for pick up.

Coccia says PUDO has 'levelled the playing field' across the whole delivery ecosystem.

For the consumer, the advantage is obvious, but the courier firms also benefit as they have a known "landing space" to deliver to (rather than traipsing around making extra journeys when a parcel doesn’t get through, thereby saving costs). The online retailers benefit from reduced transportation costs and higher customer satisfaction.

The notion of being what Coccia calls "courier agnostic" is at the heart of the PUDO model and what makes it different from every other system, including those in the U.K., such as Collect Plus, though that firm's model has been a success.

When he started developing the concept in Canada, initially in supermarkets, Coccia says he "loved" the Collect Plus model, which has over 5,000 convenience store points, so he drew on it and improved it. However Collect Plus owns a courier service so isn’t a "true last mile" service.

"The U.K. model doesn't really give the opportunities of becoming an enabler for a retailer and becoming really as disruptive as the system has become for PUDO," he said.

"The last thing we (PUDO) want to do is become the courier and have the problem of getting stuff from the warehouse to the PUDO Point location – that is not our business," he explains.

"Rather than worrying about reducing costs for the couriers, we've partnered with the courier's customer (ie; the retailer). By giving the retailer a business-to-business address rather than a business-to-consumer address, it automatically reduces their costs for distribution of product. It allows small to medium sized retailers to now be in a position to offer free shipping because they lowered their delivery cost and have a reliable landing spot for the product."

Joining PUDO as an individual customer couldn't be easier. You sign up for a free membership on the website and enter a PUDO Point location instead of your home address when you buy from biggies like retailers like Amazon, Walmart and eBay or other retailers.

The firm is targeting 33,000 individual PUDO members by May 2016 (PUDO’s year-end) and 1.5 million by May 2018.

So PUDO is a great idea but to maximize its business potential and longevity, it must grow the network, which it has been working hard at since it was founded in 2013.

Coccia says the situation has been a little "chicken and egg" as "you can't get retailers onboard without a network and you can't have the network without retailers." But there's no doubt the company is moving in the right direction.

It now has 5,000 convenience stores signed up in North America, 2,200 of which are in Canada and it’s growing all the time. We are working aggressively to onboard and train our PUDO Point locations. The target is to have between 3,500 and 4,000 locations in Canada and 15,000 in the U.S., says Coccia.

Though he won't be drawn on revenue projections, Coccia says the potential is "massive" as obviously the network continues to grow and PUDO's share of last mile delivery grows alongside.

Revenues come from all angles, including an annual fee from the PUDO Point location, from couriers per shipment and from consumers check-out on its retailer affiliate program to name just a few.

There is also the big opportunity from the 'direct sell' industry, where people are selling from their own home, notes Coccia. There are 19 million people doing that in North America in what is a US$23 billion industry. "PUDO has become a very valuable proposition for them," he says.

The company expects to ramp-up considerably in the run-up to Christmas - a key time - and expects 1,200 to 1,500 parcels a day in Canada during the festive period - from 6,000 to 8,000 parcels a month now.

PUDO is also cleverly disrupting the "returns" business, because statistically between 5% and 20% of any online retailer’s products are returned to them, causing headaches for all parties and additional costs for the retailer.

"We're guaranteeing up to a 30% discount to retailers that use PUDO Point locations to have their products returned, regardless of who their courier is," says Coccia.

So the potential for PUDO, which went public in 2015, and has a market cap of just C$27 million, is vast. Investors already seem to be tapping into this and the shares have risen 240% since September to where they are now at around C$2.05.

Indeed last week it was selected as one of Canada's top 20 most innovative public technology companies from hundreds of small and midcaps by the Canadian Innovation Exchange.

Make no mistake about it, this is one firm that could really deliver....

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Thu, 03 Dec 2015 13:58:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120509/pudo-focus-on-last-mile-set-to-make-missed-parcel-deliveries-a-thing-of-the-past-120509.html
<![CDATA[News - RIWI online survey platform quietly transforms the art of opinion gathering ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120508/riwi-online-survey-platform-quietly-transforms-the-art-of-opinion-gathering-120508.html RIWI (CSE:RIW) is being mentioned in the same breath as tech giant Google for the way it is revolutionising survey data and in particular the method by which RIWI’s market intelligence is collected.

Yet rather surprisingly Neil Seeman, chief executive and founder of the company, is keen to play down the analogy. The two models are different, though they share one common feature - their surveys are short.

RIWI uses patented algorithms to detect when a person has entered an incorrect or non-existent website name into the address bar.

It then sends them to a registered domain containing one of its short, easy to complete surveys.

While Google asks users to take short surveys in their entirety, RIWI’s method is to take long, 150 question surveys, condense them, and dispatch them all over the world.  Then it pieces the collected information together to get a completed survey.

“We deliberately ensure that the suite of domains in any given country is randomised and representative of the broad Internet user population,” says Seeman.

Part of the firm’s business model is that there is no researcher bias, no contact with the participant, and no personal data recorded.

RIWI admits it does not fully know why people choose to take its surveys, though its data show some users answer out of curiosity, while others do so to have their voice heard.

Whatever the reason, a growing number of us are seemingly willing to spend a few minutes answering the questions.

“There have been several hundred million people exposed to RIWI questions since 2009,” according to Seeman.

RIWI conducts these surveys for clients including the World Bank and a group of Fortune 500 companies, and will reach the 100 million surveys landmark by the end of this year.

The rich seam of information mined for customers in the private, non-profit and government sectors, allows these organisations to test ideas about what’s hot and what’s not all over the world.

Put simply, if you want to know if teens in all cities of China are following the same fashion trends as their counterparts in the US, RIWI can tell you.

One of its most significant and impressive accomplishments to date was the in-depth voter read-out it collected in the run-up to the recent Turkish election.

While in-market pollsters were predicting a hung parliament, RIWI produced evidence that there was increasing support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Republican People’s party (CHP).

This was reflected in the results, burnishing RIWI’s reputation as a quality, reliable data collector.

It has also completed surveys for Procter & Gamble, helping it understand how changing economic conditions affect the affordability of goods in India, the Middle East and Africa and how people are adopting online purchasing in the region.

“Global companies understand that they need to make really important decisions based on factual circumstances of the crowds, not just what highly opinionated people are saying on social media sites,” explains Seeman.

Until now, the most efficient way to compile this data has been through panels, surveys offering prizes or to reward participants for time filling out a form.

But RIWI’s business model means respondents are coming to them randomly rather than for pay-outs or incentive programmes.

From a financial perspective, this means the profit margins are “very high”, according to the chief executive.

“Our business model means we do not advertise to recruit survey takers so a number of costs are kept lower, enabling our margins to be greater than our competitors,” says Seeman. “Our upfront costs are extremely minimal.”

In a global market where a completed survey costs an estimated average of US$3, keeping costs low is imperative.

“However, this is general and in some markets the price is much higher and some it is much lower,” the RIWI CEO says of the costs other businesses incur.

The company prefers to offer multi-survey discounts in order to help build long-term relationships, making RIWI “an incredibly cost-effective solution” for global multinational companies.

Some clients are looking for complete surveys while others only need partial results, given to them in stages.

Similarly, pricing can change based on a number of factors, including the amount of data collected and difficulty obtaining it.

The ‘incidence rate’ is also important in determining price. In simple terms this refers to how easy or difficult it is to find a relevant survey participant.

So, for example, if the survey is about smoking in Canada, and 25% of the population smoke, the odds are quite high of finding a relevant participant. But if it requires a more of a “needle in a haystack” approach, prices will be higher.

At conservative estimates, 25 million surveys are due to deliver partial data this year, with around 10% of these having being completed in their entirety.

And next year, Seeman expects the number of surveys delivered to “vastly exceed” the figures quoted above.

Additionally, the firm is moving towards a more tracking-based model. This simply means publishing a survey that remains active 24/7, charting responses over a period of time.

So it might be available 24 hours a day in 229 countries, allowing the group to constantly analyse and update data.

RIWI is streets ahead of the competition, having launched this active model in 2007 and winning peer-reviewed validations and patent approval in 2011. It means that even the cashed up major market research firms will have to sprint hard to catch up with this sort of innovation.

“We have proven that we can do these global trackers which are very high value and are cost efficient,” he says, “something the company is looking to build on aggressively in the future.”

RIWI listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange on August 27, but unusually did not use the IPO to raise any cash.

But with only 14.8 million shares in issue, any investors looking to join the company in its future might need to contact RIWI directly.

“We did not need the cash,” Seeman explains.  “It was a natural consequence for us and allows us to be able to scale and grow very quickly.  Our ambition is enormous and we are in the interest of growing this into an extraordinary company.”

Perhaps this is another thing it shares in common with Google.

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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:50:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/120508/riwi-online-survey-platform-quietly-transforms-the-art-of-opinion-gathering-120508.html
<![CDATA[News - CSE increases number of listed issuers by 35% in 2014 as growth accelerates ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/105092/cse-increases-number-of-listed-issuers-by-35-in-2014-as-growth-accelerates-59313.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) is coming off a banner 2014, with the exchange finishing the year with a total of 244 listed companies, a 35 percent increase from 2013.

Total trading volume for the year was 2.3 billion shares, up 165 percent from the previous year. CSE-listed companies also conducted 211 financings, raising a total of $155 million, $76 million more than 2013.

The company said the figures reflect its success in reducing the cost of capital for Canadian public companies, making the process of accessing Canadian public markets easier. 

For 2015, the Canadian exchange expects growth to remain strong, as it introduces several new initiatives aimed at further strengthening its competitive edge, it added.

The stock exchange not only offers lower listing costs than other exchanges in Canada, but the process to getting approved is much easier. Despite pretty standard regulatory and disclosure requirements across the Canadian landscape, the real difference between CSE and others is the business oversight at the exchange level. 

The CSE requires a monthly update from each issuer, which is not required on other exchanges, making up for the fact that upfront business diligence is not conducted by the CSE, dramatically reducing the time frame from application to listing as well as advisory and legal fees.

Companies from a wide range of business sectors listed on the CSE in 2014, including pharmaceutical, health care, technology, mining, clean tech, oil and gas and financial services.  Approximately half of new listings came in the form of public companies transitioning to the CSE from other exchanges, the CSE said.

Among those stand-out performers last year, Pivotal Therapeutics (CSE:PVO) and Helius Medical Technologies (CSE:HSM) each raised more than $7 million, while medical marijuana company Supreme Pharmaceuticals (CSE:SL) also completed a significant equity raise.

Supreme was also an exchange volume leader in 2014, alongside other companies in the medical marijuana sector such as Abattis Bioceuticals Corp. (CSE:ATT) and Affinor Growers (CSE:AFI), according to CSE's statement.

“Technology was a standout on the financing front, with issuers in the sector accounting for around half of all capital raised on the CSE in 2014,” said CSE chief executive officer Richard Carleton. 

“But fundraising challenges remain and this makes our operating model attractive for companies at the early to mid stages of development.  With no immediate relief on the horizon, our low-cost, highly efficient listing model will remain an important incentive for fast growing companies to work with us.”

The Canadian stock exchange's efforts to remain ahead of the game this year include a new program designed to enhance issuer liquidity, as well as new order routing, compliance and risk management tools to assist dealers and more resources to support existing issuers.

Plans also call for a broader foreign markets strategy, it said, after the CSE became a designated exchange with the leading operator of over-the-counter markets in the US in early 2014. Companies had greater trading liquidity as a result, as US investors gained access to CSE stocks through domestic broker platforms that were able to provide quotes denominated in US dollars.

The CSE is now looking to explore this model with exchanges in Europe and the UK in 2015.

“We put a lot of effort into raising our profile with key segments of the public finance community in Canada and internationally in 2014,” said Carleton. 

“Our goal is to build on those achievements throughout the current year, ensuring easier market access to enhance liquidity, reaching out to institutional investors to explain the merits of the CSE," he added.

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Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:07:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/105092/cse-increases-number-of-listed-issuers-by-35-in-2014-as-growth-accelerates-59313.html
<![CDATA[News - CSE hits record number of issuers as expansion ramps up on all fronts ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/103878/cse-hits-record-number-of-issuers-as-expansion-ramps-up-on-all-fronts-57718.html The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) says that its number of listed issuers rose almost 24 percent in September from the same time last year as companies increasingly look to tap into the junior exchange's many benefits.

The stock exchange not only offers lower listing costs than other exchanges in Canada, but the process to getting approved is much easier.

Despite pretty standard regulatory and disclosure requirements across the Canadian landscape, the real difference between CSE and others is the business oversight at the exchange level. The CSE requires a monthly update from each issuer, which is not required on other exchanges, making up for the fact that upfront business diligence is not conducted by the CSE, dramatically reducing the time frame from application to listing as well as advisory and legal fees.

The total number of issuers reached 250 for the first time on September 18. At the end of September, it had 253 listed issuers, a 23.5 percent increase over the same time last year.

Total equity capital raised by CSE issuers since the beginning of the year has also surpassed $100 million. As of the end of September, 87 issuers, spanning from oil and gas to pharma, had conducted 160 financings, raising a total of $109.9 million.

Trading volume also increased in the third quarter --- quite a feat amid a challenging landscape for Canadian juniors --- rising a whopping 252 percent compared to the same period in 2013 to 549 million shares.

"The accelerating expansion we see on all fronts illustrates clearly that entrepreneurs looking to tap the public markets for growth capital are increasingly aware of the advantages offered by the Canadian Securities Exchange," said CSE chief executive officer, Richard Carleton.

"Our streamlined compliance process, low listing costs and issuer support initiatives are proving the right fit for more and more businesses in an environment where cost of capital is more paramount to the success of small-cap companies than ever before."

Of the financings conducted so far on the CSE in 2014, notable ones included medical device developer Helius Medical Technologies (CSE:HSM), which raised some $7.62 million in May, and real estate social network RESAAS Services (CSE:RSS), which took in $4.0 million in July.

Tech sector financings contributed 51.4 percent of capital raised by CSE issuers in the first three quarters of this year. 

"Trading volume at record levels and issuers finding receptive audiences for financing efforts shows that a growing number of investors, both individuals and institutions, are coming to appreciate the opportunities to deploy capital available on the CSE," said James Black, VP of listings development at the exchange.

"Our services are attracting early stage businesses as well as companies that are already established in their respective industries." 

So far in 2014, the CSE has welcomed a record 60 new listed companies, and says it will continue to build on this number during the remaining months of this year, with a large number of applications in hand from prospective issuers.

In 2013, the CSE recorded a total of 37 issuers for 2013. The TSX welcomed 108 new issuers in 2013, down from 132 in 2012, while the TSX Venture listed 76 companies last year, far below the 161 in 2012.

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Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:30:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/103878/cse-hits-record-number-of-issuers-as-expansion-ramps-up-on-all-fronts-57718.html
<![CDATA[News - Chlormet Technologies gets best of both worlds in North American marijuana market ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/103152/chlormet-technologies-gets-best-of-both-worlds-in-north-american-marijuana-market-56671.html Unlike other Canadian junior entrants in the marijuana space, Canada’s Chlormet Technologies (CSE:PUF) is looking to beef up its exposure to the burgeoning marijuana space on both sides of the border, with a producer license application pending for a medical marijuana facility in London, Ontario and an LOI with a license holder in the legal recreational marijuana industry in Washington State, U.S.A. 

While both markets share similarities, the difference in commercial potential is vast after Washington recently became the second U.S. state after Colorado to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. 

Canada’s new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), while quite promising, has led to a surge of new entrants in the sector that has bogged Health Canada down. The Canadian health regulator has been inundated with MMPR application requests, as the department has predicted the explosive industry will be worth some $1.3 billion by 2024 and that the number of users could increase 10-fold within five years. 

But the number of licenses granted so far by Health Canada, as of September 9, is just 13.

Hence Chlormet’s good idea to diversify its operations and bring itself exposure to a market that could bring in billions at a much quicker pace. 

The potential for the market in Washington State is evidenced by Seattle’s first recreational pot store having to close after running out of stock just three short days after opening. As of July, the state had issued its first 25 licenses to outlets under a heavily regulated and taxed system approved by voters in November 2012.

The state of Washington has allotted a total of 2 million square feet of growing space for the licensed production of marijuana. Under the new initiative, a licensee can manufacture as much product as they are able, with no limits on the amount of plants that can be grown within a defined foot print.

This backdrop compares to a federal court injunction in Canada in April that gave a coalition of people who use the drug for medicinal purposes an exemption from the new Health Canada rules, which were designed to eliminate 30,000 licenses for homegrown marijuana on April 1, and force patients to buy quality-grown pot from approved commercial producers.

The simple idea behind MMPR was to put licensed growing into the hands of a much smaller number of large commercial operations, as the old regime proved difficult to monitor owing to the many thousands of small-scale growers it covered.

“Our eyes are open because of the Canadian federal court granted injunction in April, and thought it would be best to start looking outside of Canada,” said interim chief executive of Chlormet, Yari Nieken in a recent interview with Proactiveinvestors.

Nieken also indicated that the potential market size of the legal recreational marijuana space in Washington made it very attractive. While in Canada there are between 32,000 to 40,000 registered medical marijuana users, Washington State’s has roughly 350-400,000 regular marijuana users, who can now access their recreational marijuana legally.  

Adding to this, due to Canada’s uncertain regulatory footing, the licensing process has slowed since the winter/spring of 2014. But Chlormet’s chief executive says there have been encouraging signals, with Health Canada recently sending two companies notices that they will be receiving licenses in the next 30 days, after not having granted a license for the past two and a half months.  In addition, the level of communication from Health Canada to Chlormet has dramatically improved as well, says Nieken, with the company receiving confirmation that it had reached the ‘enhanced screening stage’.

Chlormet earlier this year announced an exclusive option to acquire 100 percent of AAA Heidelberg, a private Ontario company that currently owns a secure 8,800 square foot commercial building and is located in London, Ontario. Since December last year, AAA Heidelberg has had an application pending with Health Canada for a new MMPR license for the production of up to 1,320 pounds of marijuana in the first year. 

The facility interior had been built out as per regulatory requirements, says the CEO, with Health Canada to be called on site to perform a final inspection of the building.

As a result of the early application, the licensing process is well underway. The facility will include four grow rooms, labs, offices and secure storage for the product. AAA Heidelberg is also armed with an experienced grow professional, who is currently a designated grower under the MMAR licensing, or old regime. The current crops from the facility, which are thriving and being grown under the continued MMAR licensing owing to the injunction, include 10 different strains of marijuana that range from high cannabidiol (CBD) content to high THC content. 

The product is expected to fetch between $5 and $15 per gram, depending on the strain, according to Chlormet.

Currently, Chlormet has a 16.5 percent equity stake in AAA Heidelberg, after having invested $120,000 in the business in March. It has an option to acquire the remaining 83.5 percent, subject to the grant of the MMPR license, by issuing up to 16 million common shares of Chlormet. 

In June, the company also signed a letter of intent with Babcock Bench Farms of Washington to lease property, building and equipment in support of its state-approved marijuana production and process license. 

Chlormet is not permitted to directly run a growing facility due to state restrictions and would therefore operate in the U.S. as a company that leases facilities, equipment, security and expertise to licensed growers. Indeed, the Babcock deal will be facilitated through a long-term facility and equipment lease agreement.

Babcock has been approved for a Tier 3 (the biggest category of license based on square footage) marijuana license in Washington State, with anticipated production of between 1,350 and 2,150 pounds of dried marijuana per quarter from the approved 21,000 square foot indoor facility.  This would generate revenue in excess of $6 million in the first year and revenue could start to be realized as early as May, 2015. 

To boot, the principals of the US-based company have already been growing for Washington State for the past two years, under a non-profit cooperative for approved medical marijuana patients.

Chlormet is currently conducting due diligence on this deal, with a definitive agreement required for the transaction to close.

“With AAA Heidelberg’s London, Ontario grow facility nearing completion and pending Health Canada's final approval for a MMPR license, the company has been actively searching for real, attainable and diversified opportunities to continue to bring shareholder value,” says Nieken, indicating that there may be additional deals in the near future.

The chief executive is expecting to complete due diligence in Washington within the coming few weeks. Its treasury has also been filled with the exercise of warrants from a March financing which has brought in more than $700,000.

“The exposure to the recreational space is a huge advantage to us given that Health Canada is currently inundated with applications and the injunction has, unquestionably, delayed the licensing process. 

“With the recent notice from Health Canada that we have passed through the enhanced screening process, we are convinced that we will receive a MMPR license.  The addition of near term revenue generation in the US puts us in a more viable position than other companies with MMPR applications in Canada,” adds Nieken.  

“We have a number of other opportunities that we are looking at - it is a great time to be in the marijuana sector.  It is going to be a fun ride over the coming years.” 

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Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:24:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/103152/chlormet-technologies-gets-best-of-both-worlds-in-north-american-marijuana-market-56671.html
<![CDATA[News - Newnote to raise brand profile among small cap investors with new marketing program ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/101533/newnote-to-raise-brand-profile-among-small-cap-investors-with-new-marketing-program-54391.html Shares of Newnote Financial Corp. (CSE:NEU) jumped over 23% Wednesday after unveiling an online marketing and awareness program through Agoracom, which it says will provide the Vancouver-based software and service company with significant exposure through millions of content brand insertions on the network over the next 12 months.

The company will also benefit from exclusive sponsorships of digital properties such as Agoracom TV, the Agoracom home page and the Agoracom Twitter account. 

Specializing in the development and acquisition of products and services specific to Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, Newnote aims for the creation of a self-contained 'eco system' of such services.

The company has already purchased its first Bitcoin ABM machine, a device that can convert fiat currency to Bitcoin in fifteen seconds and accepts notes from over 200 countries. The ABM – the first of many, according to Newnote – not only allows Newnote to make commission on withdrawals and trades, but the machine is also linked to the company's exchange. 

Just yesterday, the provider of crypto-currency financial products and Bitcoin financial solutions said that after selling out its initial mining capacity in just 12 hours, the company added another 100 terahashes to its cloud-hashing capability. 

Its cloud hashing platform allows the end user to mine for Bitcoins without having to deal with the expense of purchasing, configuring and maintaining expensive hardware, with the software distributing Bitcoin profits to users according to purchased hashing power.  A terahash is the speed of production of a trillion hashes per second, a hash being the smallest unit of mining work. Cloud hashing is expected to take off in the next few years in what is expected to be a global multi-billion dollar business.

Under the agreement with Agoracom, in exchange for the online advertising and marketing program, Newnote will issue shares for services, beginning with $12,500 in shares at the beginning of June. In total, it will issue to Agoracom $50,000 in shares in four tranches by March 1, 2015. The term of the deal is for 12 months, Newnote said.

Newnote's shares soared 23.7% in mid-afternoon trade in Toronto, to 47 Canadian cents. Since the beginning of the year, the stock has rocketed over 922%. 

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Wed, 28 May 2014 14:06:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/101533/newnote-to-raise-brand-profile-among-small-cap-investors-with-new-marketing-program-54391.html
<![CDATA[News - Lexaria rises on key manager appointments ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100961/lexaria-rises-on-key-manager-appointments-53643.html Lexaria Corp's (CSE:LXX) (OTCQB:LXRP) shares got a lift on Thursday after the company appointed new managers to help with its plan to buildout a medical marijuana production facility in Ontario, for which it has teamed up with peer Enertopia Corp (CSE:TOP). 

The company has named Greg Boone as its new human resources manager, who is tasked with placing key managers and execs in the new Ontario production facility and company-wide as necessary. Boone is currently the president of HEC Group, an executive search and management consulting company that specializes in building team to grow emerging companies.

Lexaria has also appointed Clark Kent as media manager to implement media needs for the new facility as well as broader company strategies. The company said he has more than 8 years experience in media management, communications and marketing, and has previously worked in fields including resources and medical diagnostics. 

“I welcome both Greg and Clark and I know their contributions will help position Lexaria for the success we are striving towards,” said CEO Chris Bunka. 

“Key appointments such as these, and the knowledge and experience represented by these latest members of our team, will continue to enable Lexaria to distinguish itself in this rapidly emerging industry through the quality and dedication of its people.”

Earlier this month, Lexaria said it teamed up with Enertopia to co-own and co-operate a marijuana grow facility, which is currently 30,000 square feet. The parties have a right of first refusal to expand the site by another 45,000 square feet to accomodate future growth. 

Site renovations are rapidly moving forward, and the phase one buildout for production space has been increased from 6,400 square feet to 14,000 square feet. Enertopia will own 51% in the production facility, and will pay 45% of all initial and ongoing expenses related to the project, while Lexaria will own a 49% stake and pay 55% of the costs. 

The companies have agreed to an initial five-year lease, with options to renew for another 15 years. 

The medical marijuana business has been a booming sector for Canadian juniors lately, with one after the other making their way into the arena after new regulations in Canada commercialized the production of the controversial drug. Lexaria and Enertopia's facility has yet to be granted a license under the new regulations.

Shares of Lexaria rallied 12.5% on Thursday to 36 Canadian cents. 

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Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:22:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100961/lexaria-rises-on-key-manager-appointments-53643.html
<![CDATA[News - Newnote Financial: pioneering crypto-currency transactions as online currencies set to change the face of money ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100841/newnote-financial-pioneering-crypto-currency-transactions-as-online-currencies-set-to-change-the-face-of-money-53447.html Bitcoin 'mining', the process that produces the decentralized digital currency that is set to transfigure monetary systems, shares at least one commonality with actual mining, in that it is a capital intensive activity. For Bitcoin miners, the stakes are high. It is into this brave new world of virtual currency that Vancouver-based software and service company Newnote Financial Corp. (CSE:NEU) steps.

Specializing in the development and acquisition of products and services specific to Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, Newnote aims for the creation of a self-contained 'eco system' of such services. “Everything we have ties in together in an integrated platform,” says president, CEO and director Paul Dickson.

There's no doubt that Bitcoin is slowly but surely gaining traction, an acceptance signaled recently by the currency's use in the purchase of a $500 000 villa in Bali.

Dickson, who allows that “most people just don't understand [Bitcoin] yet,” says he commonly describes Bitcoin in terms of mobile devices and app stores. “Bitcoin protocol is like an app store and Bitcoin is an app. Right now developers like us are pioneering new financial tools and utilities that are going to be added to the 'app store' – financial services like escrow and contracts.”

The company has already purchased its first Bitcoin ABM machine, a device that can convert fiat currency to Bitcoin in fifteen seconds and accepts notes from over 200 countries. The ABM – the first of many, according to Dickson – not only allows Newnote to make commission on withdrawals and trades, but the machine is also linked to the company's exchange. 

“So someone who buys Bitcoin from the ABM purchases automatically from our own exchange, from a human on the sell side, creating more liquidity on the exchange.”

The exchange Dickson refers to is another near-term development in Newnote's rapidly-developing story, also known as the Puretrade Bitcoin exchange, due to be opened “any day now.”

Of the planned exchange, Dickson says traders will find some familiar aspects. “It's going to have a lot of familiar trading tools – it will be like trading a stock.”

The company recently achieved a major milestone in its rapidly developing story, as Winrock Resources Inc.(CSE: WR), the company of which Newnote Networks Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary, changed its name to Newnote Financial Corp. and had its common shares approved for listing in early April. Newnote’s shares commenced trading under its new symbol [need exact date].

“We're really excited about that,” says Dickson. “We did it without getting halted – we did it delicately with tons of disclosure and we're quite pleased with the results.”

“Everything's coming to fruition at the same time. It's going to be an exciting next couple of weeks.”

Among the plans aborning is one that takes advantage of the capital intensive nature of the mining process for Bitcoin. 

Newnote's data centre, in full operation now, which has “six 10 tonne AC units and virtually unlimited power”, currently boasts capacity of “6 or 7 terahashes”, says Dickson – that is, a speed of production of a trillion hashes per second, a hash being the smallest unit of mining work. An order due in the next few weeks is set to bring the total to more than 10 terahashes, with further plans to get to 50 by December.

These machines can be bought or rented such that individuals can buy gigahashes (which correspond to a million hashes per second) for a set amount of time, with the resultant Bitcoin going straight to their Bitcoin wallet.  

Once again, the practice has a tie-in to other Newnote products. “When [a client] creates an account on the cloud hashing service, they automatically get an account on the Bitcoin exchange and vice-versa. So if you're trading on our exchange, you can go buy gigahashes; if you’re mining Bitcoin, you  can trade on the exchange. 

“We're creating an eco-system of Bitcoin services.”

The data centre is also a revenue stream in itself in that it currently hosts 12 of “other people's machines that rent the space from [Newnote]. We charge per kilowatt hour.”

Newnote has other ambitions beyond this, including its own crypto-currency currently under development for the explicit purpose of philanthropy.

The currency, called CryptoAid, is produced by a customization of the Bitcoin software. But unlike Bitcoin, which goes exclusively to the miner, CryptoAid is mined with the intention that a portion be redistributed.

While the miner gets the lion's share of the currency, a random amount within a range is sent to a manifest list of beneficiaries of that coin. The list, developed through votes cast by the CryptoAid community, is broken down such that a different level of importance and thus a greater amount of currency is awarded to those closer to the top of the list. 

“Unlike other charities, it doesn’t end,” says Dickson. 

“With CryptoAid, we continue the charity until you say stop.” And unlike Bitcoin, it can be efficiently mined currently with consumer-grade hardware.

It is a project close to Dickson's heart, and in the same vein with the youth entrepreneur program he founded. CryptoAid, says Dickson, is important to him “because there's no charity coin out there.” Ultimately, the chief executive is planning to form a CryptoAid foundation that will eventually be spun off from Newnote.

With the launch forecast for later this month, CryptoAid will be tradable for Bitcoin on the Puretrade exchange to start.

The process of inventing CryptoAid and the “technical knowhow” it conferred gave Newnote the inspiration for another revenue-stream based on the Bitcoin model, what Dickson calls “a vanity coin, or a marketing tool we offer other companies.”

Under this scenario, Newnote would pre-mine the coin in the quantity stipulated, supply a QR code to put in or on the company's product – under a bottle cap in the case of a beverage company for example – for the consumer to then scan with a mobile device in order to collect the coins, which could then be redeemed for products and prizes.

Another application could be a vanity coin that takes the name of a pop star with a large youth following, which could then be redeemed at concerts for branded. 

The marketing campaign “can last as long as you want,” says Dickson.

“Crypto-currencies are neat because you can trade them. They're unique, and you can create as many as you want. If it's a five year campaign, we will have to run the data centre for five years for them.  There's the potential for it to be a long term source of revenue.”

Certainly, Dickson sees the future as one in which acceptance of crypto-currencies is commonplace, pointing to such tacit endorsements as eBay's (NASDAQ:EBAY) recent launch of a crypto-currency section, and the acceptance of Bitcoin in payment for subscription to old media stalwart The Chicago Sun-Times. 

“Acceptance and the valuation in the short-term are going to continue to grow. Crypto-currency is going to be accepted as all it takes is for merchants to accept it. There are companies developing their POS [point of sale] services, and someone's going to add that to their existing infrastructure.  

“Once that happens, we're going to see Bitcoin acceptance will become just like using a debit card, but on your mobile device.”

It is a future Dickson sees as being wide open, and constrained only by imagination. 

“There's just so much you can do.. It's going to change things just like email changed communication forever. This is going to change money forever.”

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Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:05:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100841/newnote-financial-pioneering-crypto-currency-transactions-as-online-currencies-set-to-change-the-face-of-money-53447.html
<![CDATA[News - Brisio Innovations to capitalize on explosive mobile app growth with multi-dimensional platform ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100746/brisio-innovations-to-capitalize-on-explosive-mobile-app-growth-with-multi-dimensional-platform-53313.html Brisio Innovations (CSE:BZI) (OTCMKTS:NTCEF) has a game plan in place to reap the benefits of the mobile app space, which analysts worldwide are categorizing as one of the fastest-growing industries yet. 

The company’s strategy is to acquire, develop and market software applications for smart devices, which include phones, tablets, and wearable computers, among other items set to dominate the mobile device industry. 

Its goal is to become the destination site for users to discover the latest and best apps across multiple devices, as well as find related editorial content and reviews. 

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company is certainly moving fast. 

In the last 90 days, Brisio, which launched its business plan to aggregate mobile apps in December, managed to list on the Canadian Securities Exchange and complete 43 mobile app acquisitions. 

These apps, which are compatible with Android and iOS systems, increased the company’s overall installed base from zero to nearly 1.3 million, and hiked its combined daily downloads from zero to over 100,000 across its whole portfolio. 

Importantly, Brisio signed a game-changing preliminary deal to acquire an interest in the largest independent app store in Canada, known as OakBranch Media. If all goes according to plan, the platform, which currently attracts over 2.5 million users per month and is growing rapidly, will become the Brisio App Store. Right now, the curated app store has over 35,000 apps to its name.

“We’re not focused on any specific area for the apps. We’re driven by certain financial metrics and strategic ideas,” says president and CEO Paul Andreola, noting that one of these metrics is rapid payback, with expectations for this on some of its apps in as little as four to five months. 

The OakBranch independent app store is just another mechanism that Brisio will have to market its own apps and those of other developers, in the process helping consumers find the right type of apps for themselves.

“[OakBranch] has their own video studio as well as 13 journalists on staff and a YouTube channel, which will help build out the whole discovery process with our ability to market online,” adds Andreola. 

The YouTube channel attracts over 320,000 views per month, while the website draws in 230,000 unique visitors, in addition to the traffic the app store brings. Under the current terms of the deal, Brisio will pay C$130,000 for a 30% interest, with the option to boost its stake to almost 50% for an additional 250,000 shares and a cash payment of C$75,000.

“Within the mobile app space, which is one of the fastest growing industries ever, the discovery space is growing even faster. The challenge is to be able to get in front of everyone else in such a rapidly expanding market.”

Indeed, Andreola is speaking of the invariably high costs for developers to build and market an app, with many mid-size developers struggling because “big players are spending so much money”. 

“We have more than 1 million installed users that have proven they buy and use apps, giving us the ability to promote other products to these users.”

Andreola says that according to recent stats, there are 2 billion smartphone users within the next three years that are looking to download 50 apps each on average. “This is a staggering number. The question is how do you get in front of that and help people find what they are looking for. We are looking to solve that.”

Brisio’s value proposition is highlighted best by two recent transactions in the industry, the first of which is Baidu’s $1.9 billion acquisition of 91 Wireless, a Chinese Android app distributor. And recently, GetJar, the biggest open app store in the world with more than 3 million downloads per day, was bought out in what looks to be a $40 million transaction with China’s Sungy Mobile.  

The company’s chief executive says Brisio’s business is “relatively conservatively managed”, as it seeks to buy apps that already generate revenue and have “real solid business fundamentals”, including a growing user base and revenue.

“We expect to close on one significant acquisition every two to three months,” he stresses. 

The last app Brisio purchased, called Spermy’s Journey, is the most significant to date, according to the company’s president. “It has given us a lot of mileage. It was among the top 5 most downloaded apps in 19 countries and ranked as high as second most downloaded app in all of England.”

Indeed, the app, which was bought for US$130,000, was downloaded over four million times in the less than two months since its release. It also has potential franchise opportunities, as well as the possibility of multiple versions to accommodate for international languages and product placement.

Currently, the company’s apps, which are downloaded through its own website, or more often from the Google Play and Apple stores, are acquired with all the IP and source code. Brisio’s business model works by taking undercapitalized assets from developers that have not had much experience in marketing, and leveraging its own platform and installed user base to quickly solve this problem.

Brisio can convert apps from one platform and one language to many, and can also cross-market them to a global audience using its app store, giving developers access to “different marketing techniques” they otherwise wouldn’t benefit from to increase their app’s reach. 

“We maintain a relationship with the developer and can have them update the app on a contract basis if need be. With every acquisition, we also have a growing roster of app developers that we can use on an as-needed basis when we have our own ideas,” says Andreola.

Indeed, the company’s contractor base extends as far as Croatia and India, with these developers just a phone call away when Brisio has its own ideas of what to develop.

“We’re rapidly growing the business, and there’s no shortage of opportunities for what we’re doing. We surpassed all objectives with the first three months, and we will continue at this pace for the near future,” says Andreola, making the case that Brisio is undervalued given its current assets. 

Case in point: King Digital (NYSE:KING), the largest game developer on Facebook that is best known for its Candy Crush game saga, went public at $60 per user, and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) bought out WhatsApp for $42 per user. Brisio’s market cap is $5.8 million, and with its latest acquisition, picked up over 1.2 million installed users. 

“Using these metrics, the value for those users is extremely discounted right now.”

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Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:32:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100746/brisio-innovations-to-capitalize-on-explosive-mobile-app-growth-with-multi-dimensional-platform-53313.html
<![CDATA[News - Medical marijuana stocks take off as investors key in on first-mover advantage ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100258/medical-marijuana-stocks-take-off-as-investors-key-in-on-first-mover-advantage-52652.html The legal cultivation of medical and adult use marijuana is a field set to bring prosperity to a great many people due to changes at the regulatory level combined with a groundswell of acceptance for the idea of use itself.

In the U.S., 17 states have legalized medical marijuana, two states have legalized adult use marijuana, and many more states have ballot measures in place for the November 2014 elections, while on this side of the 49th parallel, the newly established Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) have both cut down on the red tape and plethora of forms that characterized prescriptions for medical marijuana heretofore and opened up the market to commercial–scale production. 

According to some estimates, the current market of 40,000 patients in Canada could grow at the rate of 35 per cent or more per year, such that the industry's value, at $1.5 billion today, is projected to outstrip the North American wine industry, which stands at $35 billion.

“So it’s going to see growth of several thousands of percent over the next decade or more,” says president of Enertopia Corp. (CSE:TOP) (OTCBB:ENRT), Robert McAllister.

The Vancouver-based company is bracing for a surge in demand, of which it aims to snag a national market share of 5 to 10 per cent.

McAllister, who cites numbers in the order of 25 to 35 per cent profitability, sees the market expanding markedly in years to come. “I believe we are in a new industry being transformed with the legalization in multiple states in the U.S., and federal government support for the new system here in Canada.”

McAllister's expectations for the next two to three years involve a rapid increase in political acceptance: “Already, the approval for medical use of marijuana is running from 70-85 per cent and even on the adult use side, it's at a 45 to 60 per cent approval rating. 

“Thirty years ago, the approval was under 10 per cent, so we've seen acceptance by the general public and once something is accepted by the general public, politicians will always fall in line.”

While the old system provided for the cultivation of enough plants for four patients, the new system points towards scaling up to commercial quantities, a change likely to have major repercussions for growers.

Crucially, under the old system, capital costs for the average grower ran from $10,000 to $50,000; while the new system demands more of growers --- security systems, qualified scientists, shipping and labeling departments --- all of which have added greatly to the cost. McAllister estimates start-up costs under the new system to range from $250,000 to $500,000 at the entry level.

Thus, chief among the changes the new regulations are set to bring about in Canada is a move from “up to 24,000 people licensed to grow on their own” to a system where “only several dozen new producers are likely” to qualify under the new, more stringent guidelines, says McAllister.

The question, as McAllister puts it, is “how many of those growers are astute business people as well?”

Enertopia's near term focus is on taking significant positions in producers that produced under the old system, with an eye towards “helping them get approved under the new system.”

“Our platform is to help producers get licenced under the new system. We have a direct equity ownership interest in their company, so as they build up their production facilities and grow, the revenue will increase over time as well and that will benefit Enertopia and our shareholders.”

To that end, the company looks for existing growers which had operations “larger than 15-25 plants in someone's garage,” those who were, for example, growing for co-ops, and thus had more licenses and could raise more plants.

“We'll support them on the capital side, using Enertopia to raise funds and invest those funds immediately into those operations to build them up and get to Canada Health standards.”

Enertopia's plan is to look towards locations that have municipal support for production facilities and at existing facilities that can be upgraded and retrofitted, as opposed to building new structures.

From there, McAllister plans to expand Enertopia's hold on the market by finding patient groups through the network that it’s building, which includes doctor's networks. “At the end of the day, we’re going to need patients.”

Enertopia's stock has had quite a wild ride this year, driven McAllister thinks, by investors’ realization of a new industry being created, which they are willing to dip their toes into with the knowledge that some companies are set to emerge as billion dollar entities.

For now, investors tend to be “small guys”. However, “as more and more barriers are removed, more capital will come into the sector at higher levels,” he says. “People are really excited about what's going on and how it's transitioning.” Enertopia traded most recently at 56 Canadian cents, up more than 830% so far this year.

Mike Withrow, president CEO and director of Abattis Bioceuticals Corporation (CSE:ATT) (OTC:ATTBF) too sees a world of opportunity opening up, but the company takes a different, more diversified, approach.

With an eye on capitalizing on the move toward marijuana legalization south of the border and towards wider-spread medicinal use in Canada and internationally, the Vancouver-based specialty biotechnology company has plans for the development, manufacturing, licensing and marketing of natural health and wellness solutions addressing chronic illnesses. It recently negotiated a deal with two top researchers to set up an analytics lab in Washington State.

“We have the ability to manufacture and market the most scientifically advanced natural therapeutic formulas based on proprietary technologies through multiple distribution channels,” Withrow says.

The company licenses and markets proprietary ingredients, bio-similar compounds, and patented equipment. It also provides consulting services to North America's medicinal and adult marijuana markets via its wholly owned subsidiaries and seeks to utilize its Grow, Dry, Extract, Refine, and Sell model (known as GDERS) to produce pharmaceutical-grade phyto compounds with its ultimate goal of taking the lead in the emergent botanical drug market.

Its strategy involves growing cannabis with its proprietary indoor mass farming systems, drying it with unique low temperature drying systems to enhance quality, extracting the active ingredients, refining the product, and selling it around the world. The company has two Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) applications in, and is looking to becoming one of the few licensed producers of cannabis in Canada that is publicly traded. 

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the company’s subsidiary, Biocube Systems, provide growers with an energy- and space-efficient cultivation system that generates high yields, enabling them to produce low-cost pharmaceutical-grade product. The subsidiary has just closed on acquiring the proprietary formulas from Green Gro Garden Supplies Ltd. and will build its customer base by marketing.  

But Abattis sees beyond the emergent medical and adult use marijuana industry, with Withrow noting that the company is looking to parlay its existing expertise into plants beyond marijuana. 

"Ultimately, we will be looking to what other medicinal plants we can fit into the model,” Withrow says.

But for now, marijuana cultivation provides a ripe opportunity, and one Withrow sees as the highest growth opportunity out of any sector in North America.

“The referendum in Colorado [which passed Amendment 64 legalizing personal use of marijuana for those over 21] changed everything. 

"Marijuana was already being accepted for medical purposes more and more, then when Colorado changed the law for recreational use --- that woke everyone up.”

The law kicked in January 1st of this year, and in the days that followed, Abattis' phone "started ringing like crazy".  On March 7th Washington issued its first licenses for cultivating marijuana for recreational purposes.

“We're positioned perfectly to capitalize on this rare opportunity. We've assembled everything needed to be at the forefront of the industry.”

Indeed, among Abattis' impressive roster of assets are 15 proprietary formulas, proprietary Flash Freeze Extraction equipment, two patent applications and one provisional application, as well as a five-year contract with a Canadian distributor, and exclusive worldwide rights to Mass Growing Systems used to construct controlled indoor pharma grade growing environments. 

It also has a lease on a $13 million dollar Botanical Drug Facility in Quebec, fully equipped to cut costs by using the only LED made in the US that it is currently testing with the manufacturer.

Abattis has been a volume leader on the Canadian Securities Exchange on several of the past recent days, with the stock last week hitting an all-time high of 95 Canadian cents, currently sitting at about 78 cents. 

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Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:50:00 -0400 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/100258/medical-marijuana-stocks-take-off-as-investors-key-in-on-first-mover-advantage-52652.html
<![CDATA[Media files - CSE CEO speaks with Proactive Investors ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/stocktube/3696/cse-ceo-speaks-with-proactive-investors-.html Fri, 14 Feb 2014 14:26:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/stocktube/3696/cse-ceo-speaks-with-proactive-investors-.html <![CDATA[News - Simplified CSE offers faster and cheaper approach to listing in Canada ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/99354/simplified-cse-offers-faster-and-cheaper-approach-to-listing-in-canada-51203.html After a recent rebranding and trading system consolidation, The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) is set for a raring start this year with a new simplified trading platform and lower issuing costs offering competitive advantages to other stock exchange alternatives in Canada. 

Indeed, the proof is in the pudding. The CSE, formerly the Canadian National Stock Exchange, estimates that it accounted for 17% of the new issuers entering the Canadian public markets last year, up from 11% in 2012. 

These numbers are only expected to increase with the upstart exchange’s recent move toward simplification. All Canadian-listed instruments are now offered on a single trading system, providing a continuous auction market service, where bids and offers are displayed and incoming marketable orders are traded on a price, broker and time algorithm.

Previously, the company operated with two brands, the Canadian National Stock Exchange, the listing facility, and Pure Trading, a venue that traded TSX and TSX-Venture-listed stocks. “We operated distinct trading platforms for each venue. This wasn’t cost effective for the organization and our dealer and vendor customers,” said CEO Richard Carleton in an interview with Proactive Investors last week. 

“With the recent combination of Pure and CNSX into a single technical platform, it made sense to also present a single brand to reduce confusion.” The change will reduce costs for both dealers and vendors and increase visibility and investor access for CSE issuers. 

Carleton explains that the move was instigated on the back of growing concerns from the investor community in Canada on the complexity of the country’s current market structure. “It’s a legitimate concern that the industry does really need to address,” the chief executive says.

“Think about the number of different platforms trading TSX stocks at this point.”

Case in point: the TMX, simply on its own, operates the TSX and TSX Venture Exchange, as well as TMX Select and Alpha.  Two books trading TSX-listed stocks are also each on offer from Omega and Chi-X Canada, in addition to several dark pools operating in Canada. 

Carleton says the consolidation and rebranding might be “contrarian” compared to other exchanges, but the company wanted to introduce further simplicity. “We wanted to give a clearer idea of what’s going on and who we are.”

And the new single platform is anticipated to draw in even more issuers, with the CSE listing a record percentage of companies from those coming into the Canadian public markets last year. The exchange recorded a total of 37 issuers for 2013, with close to 20% of new companies coming into the market in the fourth quarter choosing CSE as their listing venue, says Carleton. 

“More and more, people are cost conscious and concerned with the amount of bureaucracy and length of time it takes to get on an exchange in Canada. [The CSE] provides a very attractive model for a public company, as although there is a heavier continuous disclosure burden, it does mean companies can get listed much more quickly than alternatives.”

Despite pretty standard regulatory and disclosure requirements across the Canadian landscape, the chief executive explains that the difference between CSE and others is the “business oversight at the exchange level”, believing that the broader investment community is better suited to value a given company. The CSE requires a monthly update from each issuer, which is not required on other exchanges, making up for the fact that upfront business diligence is not conducted by the CSE, dramatically reducing the time frame from application to listing as well as advisory and legal fees.

“We’re not second guessing management, but rather leaving decisions to be made in the public capital markets, where we believe they should be made.”

“We rely on the broader market to assess the business risk. From a regulatory perspective, it’s the same level of scrutiny.”

Going into 2014, Carleton is expecting an absolute increase in the number of companies and share capital being raised from public markets. He is also hoping for an increase in the amount of trading, with trading levels down quite substantially across the board in Canada from the peak in March 2011. 

“We hope to see a renewal of activity in this regard,” says the chief executive.

Although the CSE has seen an increase in its market share over the last year, this comes amid a backdrop where the total number of companies coming into the market has fallen quite dramatically from the peak due to declining commodity prices -- in particular, gold. The TSX welcomed 108 new issuers in 2013, down from 132 in 2012, while the TSX Venture listed 76 companies last year, far below the 161 in 2012.

“Against this, we’re very pleased with the increasing market share we are seeing. The feedback we get from issuers is that they’re very happy with the approach we take. It’s a faster and lower-cost trip to public markets.”

An overarching trend in 2013 was that a growing percentage of overall listings hailed from the tech sector, given the weak environment for miners. Carleton gives the examples of CSE-listed RESAAS (CSE:RSS) and Gener8 (CSE:GNR), which both listed last year and have had incredibly strong runs. RESAAS, a social networking platform designed for real estate professionals, saw its stock rise more than 620% in the past 12 months. Shares of Gener8, which provides 3D conversion services for the entertainment industry and has worked on such films as The Amazing Spider-Man, more than quadrupled in value. 

“We think the success of these companies is going to encourage a lot of other entrepreneurs.”

The CSE is also backed by some high profile names in the industry, which is sure to lure potential issuers and has given the exchange “tremendous credibility with the independent dealer community”, according to Carleton. Indeed, last September, the company got a boost from Dundee Corp chief executive Ned Goodman, who acquired one third of the then CNSX Markets and joined the board as deputy chairman. Goodman has long expressed his belief that the major exchanges are failing entrepreneurs. Tom Caldwell, chairman of Caldwell Securities, owns another third of the CSE and is the chairman of the organization, while the remaining third is owned by a mix of individual shareholders, dealers and institutions.

“Goodman is an extraordinarily important figure in his own right in financing a number of companies in mining, tech and clean tech. He’s been able to assist with a number of introductions and referrals and opened several doors with the dealer community,” says Carleton.

He adds that the independent dealer community in Canada, which provides the bulk of corporate finance advisory and trading services for early-stage companies, has a “strong attachment” to the CSE and what it represents. Meanwhile, the TMX Group is owned by a consortium of large banks and other financial institutions, which Carleton says doesn’t necessarily have “the interests of early-stage markets at the forefront.”

The CSE chief is looking forward to an active year in 2014, which will include the launch of a formal “market-making” program for CSE-listed stocks that will include technology features, such as the automated execution of odd-lot orders. An odd-lot is an order amount for a security that is less than the normal unit of trading for that particular asset. 

“We will continue to enhance services for companies to tell their stories to a crowded market, and will look to improve dealer relations by offering a lower cost of capital for Canadian issuers.”

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Mon, 13 Jan 2014 08:37:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/99354/simplified-cse-offers-faster-and-cheaper-approach-to-listing-in-canada-51203.html
<![CDATA[News - CNSX changes its name to Canadian Securities Exchange ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/99265/cnsx-changes-its-name-to-canadian-securities-exchange-51055.html Effective today, the Canadian National Stock Exchange will now be known as the Canadian Securities Exchange going forward, according to a statement released earlier this morning by the Canadian index. 

Its abbreviation will also now be changed to "CSE", with all of the stock exchange's web services now available at www.thecse.com.

The company said the choice of the new name reinforces three of the central characteristics of the organization, including Candian headquarters in Toronto, and the fact that it provides listings and trading services for more than just common equities. Convertible debentures, debt instruments, provincial government bonds, structured products and income trusts are also currently listed on the exchange. 

"We are looking to reduce complexity and cost in the delivery of exchange services wherever possible," said CEO Richard Carleton in the statement.

"Our recent trading system consolidation where all Canadian listed instruments are offered on a single trading system is a great example of this approach. We are also well known for our responsive and cost effective services for companies looking to raise capital from the public equity markets.

"By presenting all of our services under a strong, unified, brand, we are reinforcing our position as the exchange for entrepreneurs in Canada." 

The Canadian stock exchange provides a single, continuous auction market service, where bids and offers are displayed and incoming marketable orders are traded on a price, broker, and time algorithm.

The CSE will be hosting a number of events across Canada to introduce the new brand to investors in the coming weeks, it said. 

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Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:02:00 -0500 https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/99265/cnsx-changes-its-name-to-canadian-securities-exchange-51055.html