The team at Elevated Signals spent the last few years working with licensed producers to build a software platform that would address what they saw as gaps in the industry’s inventory tracking and environmental monitoring solutions.
Amar Singh, the company’s founder and CEO and, at the time, a graduate student at UBC studying water engineering, began working with BC’s Tantalus Labs in 2016, initially to help address water usage issues that the producer might face with the space-aged greenhouse it was building in Vancouver.
Singh says he, along with the company’s co-founders, Benn Mapes (CTO) and Hardeep Shoker (CPO), quickly recognized that Tantalus’ vision for modern cannabis production went well beyond water efficiency, so they began building out Elevated Signals to help address those needs.
The team has spent the last several years working with Tantalus and many other licensed producers in Canada to build a specialized manufacturing execution system (MES) that combines batch production, quality compliance, and environmental data into a single platform. Today Elevated Signals is used by some of the largest producers in North America, as well as a growing wave of innovative mid-size and craft facilities emerging across Canada.
The team behind Elevated Signals
The team is led by a mix of experienced developers and science enthusiasts, all who are passionate about the intersection between natural science and IT. Singh—with a background in research infrastructure project delivery, has degrees in environmental science, water engineering, and business—was general manager of the Biotron Experimental Climate Change Research Centre, which is a lab made up of a variety of advanced controlled environment growth chambers to study food security.
Shoker studied computer science at Simon Fraser University, before becoming a lead developer at Adobe and Mapes, who was also a developer at Adobe, has a degree in cognitive systems – computational intelligence & design, from the University of British Columbia.
Software built alongside producers
In addition to Tantalus Labs, Elevated Signals’ early partners included Anandia Labs, a cannabis breeding and genetics company (a subsidiary of Aurora); Blissco, an indoor producer in BC (a subsidiary of Supreme); and Pure Sunfarms, one of the single largest cannabis growing operations in the world.
Singh says those early relationships were key in helping his team gain an intimate understanding of the needs of the cannabis industry and the gaps in existing seed-to-sale software and other available solutions.
“At the time, these businesses were start-ups keen on rapidly iterating with their processes and technology – just like us – and these early relationships really helped us get a detailed understanding of what was happening in the facilities, how LPs were evolving and what technology could do to help them succeed,” explains Singh.
“Pretty early on in our conversations it became clear that there were areas of the operation – particularly granular environmental monitoring, quality assurance record-keeping, and inventory tracking – that would benefit from a fully digital, integrated software solution.”
Being based in BC and working initially with several licence holders in the vicinity of their Vancouver office, gave them a chance to spend a lot of time on the ground at facilities, tweaking and adapting the software side-by-side with users.
“What we have heard from our partners, in terms of differentiating ourselves, is that in addition to the software not living up to expectations, support offered by software companies in the cannabis space is often inadequate,” says Singh. “We really pride ourselves on being a trusted partner and keeping an open line of communication with our customers.
“We’re always on hand as our customers go through their training, as well as their first Health Canada audits and their monthly inventory reports. We know how stressful these can be so we aim to provide the best support possible.”
For Singh, Elevated Signals is the next evolution of data tracking in the cannabis industry, improving upon earlier seed-to-sale systems, merging environmental monitoring, quality batch records, and real-time inventory tracking into one flexible system.
Customizable software for Cannabis 2.0
“The majority of our competitors are old school seed-to-sale (S2S) software companies that emerged from the original medical cannabis market,” explains Singh. “S2S only provides inventory tracking, so producers end up using a lot of paper binders and spreadsheets to track, and join the dots between their inventory, current work in progress, and QA programs. Elevated Signals digitizes and connects all of these, essentially making S2S software obsolete for production.”
“We’re taking things to the next level with a manufacturing execution system (MES) that gives cannabis producers a real-time view of their facility’s performance and enables them to run their operation digitally up to a standard as robust as GMP.”
The value in this customizable and intelligent system, he says, is that producers of any size aren’t locked into using one static system, but can build forms to capture whatever data the company needs, while it is still being integrated within the rest of the system.
“Out of the box we have, basically, all the standard forms you need to meet your SOPs for Health Canada quality compliance such as sanitization of rooms, approved pest and biocontrols, inspections of plant health, but we also made them completely customizable,” says Singh. “This means removing ourselves as a potential roadblock for companies to build their own forms and iterate their processes. So if they want, for example, to create a new daily startup checklist for their staff, they can do that with the software, and it’s still integrated into our system and all that data is still captured in real time.”
No long-term contracts
Lastly, unlike some other seed-to-sale platforms, Singh emphasizes that they don’t impose any long term contracts or heavy up-front costs on their clients.
“We don’t lock our customers into long-term contracts with startup and cancellation fees, like many in the industry do,” he explains. “We have immense faith in our software, our customer references are rock solid, and know that once people start using it they won’t want to change.
“Whatever software you choose should be tied to your business and operational goals. If you plan to scale up in the future, want to reduce operating costs, or simply grow the best quality cannabis ever – make sure you know exactly how the system will support this.”
Sponsored By: Elevated Signals