Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update March 16, 2018

WE DID IT! As I'm sure many of you heard, we closed a historic deal with Wheaton Income this week. You can find the press release here if you haven't seen it yet. Before I talk about the importance of this deal, I want to especially thank my co-founder, Jennifer Thomas, and Krina Merchant from our legal team, without whose tireless work and many sleepless nights this deal would never have happened. We are in debt to both of you.

Now, what does this mean for Province? In a nutshell, it means that we are not the same company we were last week. It means everything changes for us. It means we will soon be a Licensed Producer. Without getting into too much detail, what it means is that Wheaton Income will apply for a second site marijuana license. This license will be for our facility. The second site marijuana license process is many times faster than the normal licensure process, and the outcome is essentially guaranteed. 

Further, its not just any LP applying for the second site license. Cannabis Wheaton is run by Province advisor Hugo Alves and a team of former lawyers who ran the cannabis practice at Bennett Jones. Together they have been involved in dozens of licensing applications. No one in Canada - literally no one - understands how to get license applications pushed through more quickly than these folks. Once the second site license is approved, Province will have 99% ownership of the license and the business that applied for it (Wheaton will retain just ONE share). So it will be OUR license - a tremendously valuable asset for our company. LP's in Canada with no revenue typically sell for at least $15 million, often a lot more than that, so this is an incredibly valuable asset for the company. Most importantly, it's also a chance to work with a team we respect tremendously, and deepen our relationship with Wheaton Income, whom we believe will become one of the dominant players in Canada and globally in coming years. In exchange for the licensure services plus $500,000 worth of Wheaton stock, we sold the company a 10% stake in Province. This means they'll be with us for the long haul. I couldn't be more excited to have them as partners.

While Jennifer and Krina did most of the heavy lifting, nearly everyone on Team Province worked hard to make this happen. I want to also especially thank Caitlin and Ryan from our Productivity team who managed the Gantt Chart for the process and did their best to try to make the deal close on time. We are still awaiting TSX Approval for this transaction, so don't pop your champagne bottles just yet, but we can see no reason why the TSX would refuse to approve the deal.

On another note, we closed another deal this week (Please keep this confidential): We closed a deal with Trois Rivieres-based cellulose processing facility, Innofibre, to act as a CRO and help us further refine and develop our brewing process. Dr. Erin Johnson, Amal Bhandari, and I visited Innofibre this past week, and we were absolutely blown away by their STATE-OF-THE-ART $80 Million dollar facility. It had every piece of equipment we could possibly want for creating the wort we need to brew our beer. Touring their facility was literally one of the most amazing work experiences I've had. Here are some images of our tour of the cutting edge facility.

I am extemely excited to begin what I hope will be a long and fruitful relationship with Innofibre. We also have to thank the new head of our Product Team, Dr. Erin Johnson for finding Innofibre and for closing our deal with them. I think this is the start of something amazing.

This has been a fantastic week for Province, and I couldn't be more proud of all that our team has been able to achieve. Great work everyone!

Jennifer Dianne Thomas Founder's Update March 16, 2018

This week was pivotal for Province. We officially closed our seed round financing and closed a huge deal with Cannabis Wheaton. We are already moving forward to starting our application with Health Canada.  

It is easy to reach milestones like this and not take a moment to make note of how far we have come. I just want to thank our hard working and dedicated team for getting us to this place.  

Steve Jobs once said the following:

There needs to be someone who is the keeper and reiterator of the vision.... A lot of times, when you have to walk a thousand miles and you take the first step, it looks like a long way, and it really helps if there's someone there saying 'Well, we're one step closer.... The goal definitely exists; it's not just a mirage out there.

Achievements like the closing of the CBW deal are a great reminder that we are one step closer to our goal of extending and solidifying our current market leadership position.

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update March 16, 2018

It is very exciting that the Wheaton Income deal has gone through. We had been chasing them in order to finalize our press release, and we are proud that the news is finally out. Aside from that, we have mainly been concentrating on building and updating the business plan for next financial round.

Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update March 9, 2018

I am very excited to welcome Hanna Mohammed to our team. Hanna will be joining team Province as our 10th full-time team member and will be providing executive assistant help to all five of our team leaders. At Province we like to share the good news as well as the bad news on these updates, so I am very sad to share that our interim master brewer, Rob Kevwitch, who had just recently accepted the job of Chief Product Officer at Province ended up leaving the position for family reasons. We will continue to work with Rob as our interim master brewer on a part-time basis as we see him as an indispensable part of our team. Erin Johnson has volunteered to run the Product department in Rob's place and we are thrilled she is taking on this additional responsibility.

This was a productive week for Province as we are getting closer to finding a building we can move into, and we completed our financial model. We hit several other internal milestones as well. I couldn't be more proud to be part of this team. Keep kicking ass everyone!

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update March 9, 2018

A lot of things are happening which is really exciting on a company level! In the marketing department we have been working on organizing and have started to build both an internal and external database for all our design assets, logos, and guidelines etc. This will make our process a lot easier for sharing everything both internally and externally.

Jennifer Dianne Thomas Founder's Update March 9, 2018

During New Years my Founder’s Update said:

Happy New Year. This year we are more ready than ever to make Province a success. We are looking forward to getting our beer in stores, working on the LP partnership, moving into a proper office space, and going public. It is going to be a great year.  

We are working on all of those items but this week we are truly ramping up to find an office.

We could really use help and advice in this area. Our goal is to find a short term lease space until we build our brewery which will house our permanent offices.  


Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update March 2, 2018

Before I say anything else I want to welcome Dr. Rob Kevwitch to our full-time staff as Province's chief product officer. Dr. Kevwitch has been working for us part-time for the past several months in the role of interim master brewer. Dr. Kevwitch has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Arizona and a Bachelors in Chemistry from University of Northern Colorado. He has more than 10 years experience in research and lab management positions for major corporations including Intel and Nalco. In 2013, he turned his chemistry skills to brewing phenomenal beer and founded Grist Brewing - which became one of Colorado's best known microbreweries. Grist now has two brewery locations including a very popular brewpub in Denver. Immigration work to help move Dr. Kevwitch to Toronto is underway.

One more thing I wanted to point out is that our very own head of Bioprocess Science, Dr. Erin Johnson, was recently named an adjunct professor at the University of Western Ontario. She will be overseeing research in Biobutanol Production and other areas. This is a huge honor and we are incredibly lucky to have someone with her pedigree, experience, and leadership skills on our team.

This was one of the better weeks since we started Province. We achieved so much and are so much closer to so many of our goals. Each team made some huge steps forward. The product team is close to closing a deal with a CRO based in Quebec which will greatly advance our research and will get us valuable information we need to finalize our patent applications. Erin Johnson built out a fantastic gantt chart laying the groundwork for the first four months of research to carry out our experimentation at Loyalist and with this new CRO. Amal Bhandari consolidated the results of the team's literature review into a well written and easy to digest Powerpoint. Ryan Naphin took the lead on efforts to find a building we can rent or buy as the deal we had been negotiating to occupy space in a licensed cannabis facility looks like it is falling through. Jennifer and Krina in the legal department made great strides towards wrapping up our efforts to close a deal to purchase a license from an existing LP. This project is behind schedule but hopefully almost finished. Business Development and Fundraising Team has nearly concluded its efforts to complete needed paperwork to close the last funding round - we just need a signature or two from one of our advisors and that will be done. Also, Elad made tremendous progress towards completing our financial model for the next round. Marketing Team finished work on the can designs for Rokt Lager - great work Oscar and Gustaf Wollin! Finally, the Productivity Team took a leading role in finalizing everything needed to close the last funding round and still had time to complete onboarding for Rob Kevwitch and begin onboarding for Hanna Mohammed who will be joining our Province soon. Some weeks a company like ours hits big milestones and everyone feels good about themselves. Other weeks, we just make incredible progress towards future milestones. This week we made greater progress towards future milestones than in most past weeks.

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update March 2, 2018

A fun, exciting, and very productive week. We have been working a lot on the Røkt Lager can, and I believe the result has turned out really well. You can see a sample of the can in the Marketing Team weekly update. We are also excited to start to working with Duet PR in Toronto. They will help us to build up publicity and company awareness through press releases and media processing over the next three months.

Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update February 23, 2018
 At the Cannabis Private Investment Summit last week

At the Cannabis Private Investment Summit last week


We couldn't be more excited to welcome Dr. Erin Johnson to our team. Erin is a hugely accomplished Ph.D. bioprocess scientist who will help run our bioprocess team and help us brew our beer. Her first day is February 26th. I will paste below her publications. She will be working with Amal at Loyalist College while we get that project up and running. We are still looking very hard to find a location to set up our brewery. If anyone has any suggestions of where we can find space we'd love the help.

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update February 23, 2018

This week has been extremely busy and very productive. We have now finalized what we hope is the 3D design for Cambridge Bay and sent it to our mould and bottle manufacturer. We have also finalized the design aspect of the 0.5L cans for Yandi Gold. This means that except for the legal text and factual information needed, all the SKU’s for this specific product are done. 

Oscar Holm, AllDooma Wendschuh
Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update February 16, 2018

You may have heard the unfortunate news from our industry. Canada is delaying first sale of legal marijuana products. Instead of July 1st, 2018, it now looks like sales will begin in August or (more likely given how slowly government works) September. If you’ve read the latest draft of the Cannabis Act (C-45) you know that the law requires Canada to permit sales of edibles and beverages within one year following legalization of smoked marijuana. This means that sale of our products will also be pushed back to August or September 2019. While many are seeing this delay as problem for the industry (Canadian cannabis stocks took a major dive when the news came out), it is an absolute miracle for Province Brands. Every single day we are racing around the clock to ensure we have a brewery ready in time for us to have products on the shelf by the first of July, 2019. The task is monumental and having another month or two to prepare will allow us to ensure everything is ready and free us from making unwanted compromises.

This past Friday I spoke about branding and marketing at the Yale Business of Legal Cannabis conference. The photo I’ve used for this week’s update is of cannabis industry fixture, Jeanne Sullivan, and me at the event.

Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update February 9, 2018

This week we received confirmation that Erin Johnson will join our team as a bioprocess engineer. We also received confirmation that Rob Kevwitch - who was consulting with us while running two substantial breweries which he founded in Colorado - will join our team full-time as our chief product officer. We really could not be more excited by this news. More about these two soon. We received a lot of great press this week with coverage in Forbes, CBC, and Hello MD this week - all without engaging a publicist. It's amazing that folks are taking notice of what were doing at Province!

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update February 9, 2018

This week has been a very productive week and it feels like the whole company has shifted into a higher gear. The team is growing and this week we are really happy to welcome Erin Jonson to our science team.

On the marketing side we have been working and studying aluminum can guidelines as well as thinking about different approaches for the bottle mold designs.

Oscar Holm, AllDooma Wendschuh
Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update February 2, 2018

This week was a difficult and emotional week for Province. It was difficult for me largely due to challenges associated with my personal lawsuit against Jon Cooper and my previous cannabis company and against Daniel Clemens who was a consultant to my previous company in the industry. It was a difficult week for Kim because her grandmother passed away.

A startup is always an emotional roller coaster. Everything is high stress with ups and downs. Every day feels like the best day of your life or the worst. Imagine layering on top of that real world stress from outside the business. I'm really proud of the way everyone at Team Province came together to take some work off my plate so I could focus on the outside matters which were pressing and demanded my attention. I'm proud of how everyone showed support for Kim. It's not always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. And I'm a big believer that Team Province is just that - a team, and not a family. To borrow from Netflix's playbook, we are a "Professional Sports Team." Our goal is to be the best at all costs. We exist to hire the best teammates in the world. And with these teammates we try to to achieve what others think is impossible. But there is more to all of our lives than business and when things intrude from the outside world into our business world a good team should at times do what a family does - provide support and help carry the load when one person is not able to operate and peak performance. That's what happened this week at Province. That's what makes me so proud of everyone on our team. Thanks all.

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update February 2, 2018

This week we started to work on the global guidelines for Cambridge Bay Grand. We also began preparing slides for the updated business plan and created stationary for our letter-head and updated business cards. In addition, have also been working quite a bit with the other founders on the business development side interviewing new potential team members.

Oscar Holm, AllDooma Wendschuh
Jennifer Dianne Thomas Founder's Update February 2, 2018

We have been using SmartSheet to help each team maximize productivity and increase the speed of our workflow. Based on my research about creating Kanban boards, I found a few principles that I really like. I think they apply to Kanban boards but could be very helpful just to think about when working on any project. Check out the principles below: 

  1. Copy wisely
  2. Think outside team lines.
  3. Start with (or get back to) the basics.

I plan to drill these concepts into my team’s daily workflow and mindset.

Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update January 26, 2018

I am thrilled to welcome Ira Levy to our team at Province. For those of you who don’t know, Ira is the brother of our Special Advisor, Ronan Levy. He’ll be joining as our senior vice president of finance. Ira will be helping us get our finances in order, prepare for tax time, and most importantly, he will be leading the efforts to take the company public. He will bring much needed balance to our team which often thinks in ideas and dreams and less in numbers and spreadsheets. It’s about time. Things at Province are shaping up very well as new members of our team are filtering in and it is starting to feel like a real business. I’m excited knowing this awkward team building phase is needed to get us to what really matters – revenue and creating products which will change the world for generations to come.

Jennifer Dianne Thomas Founder's Update January 26, 2018

Internally we have been mulling over the pros and cons of having an office in the Toronto metro area for administrative employees and a separate brewing facility outside of the city for the production team and workers. On the one hand, some people feel that having the workforce in two separate locations creates an “us” and “them” mentality between employees. On the other hand, the workplace cultures of the two groups might be quite divergent - clean room and science labs vs. suits and computers. Also, there are some that believe you can attract more candidates when they don’t have to commute to a remote production facility. Likewise, some believe that having the entire team in one place builds camaraderie and community.

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update January 26, 2018

Although things are moving slowly this week, I feel that they are moving in the right direction. We are all working very hard, and we have a lot of very exciting things in the pipeline like the DD process with our potential LP partner, new office discussions and negotiations, product development etc, etc.. I guess Rome was not built in one day!

Oscar Holm, AllDooma Wendschuh
Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update January 19, 2018

I’m very excited to welcome Elad Barak to Team Province. Elad will be taking the reins of the Business Development & Fundraising Team – which means I’ll only be acting as interim team leader for one team – the Product Team – and only until we can hire someone to take that stress off my shoulders. Beginning this week, Elad will be drafting our weekly updates for the Shareholder Update webpage. Elad has an amazing background having raised tens of millions for is last company, eCamion. He was also an officer in the Israeli Army. We’re excited and thrilled to have someone of his caliber joining Team Province and can’t wait to see what he’s able to accomplish. Currently, the Business Development & Fundraising Team includes: Elad Barak, me (Dooma Wendschuh), Yasir Bin-Riaz, Julia Romanski, and three of our advisors who are extremely involved in all things business development – Aman Chatha, Sonny Rai, and Ronan Levy. I look forward to seeing what this team can accomplish as we set out to change the world.

Oscar J-T Holm Founders Update January 19, 2018

This week we have been working a lot with our design team on our new can as well as ordering a trial glass bottle mold for Cambridge Bay. Quite a lot of time has also gone in to preparation for the work that starts next week on the Cambridge Bay Global Guidelines. We have also had many internal discussions in regards to our new offices - Are we better off in downtown Toronto or should we look for something out of the city where we might have our brewery? Should the offices be located at the same building as the brewery? How would it impact / affect us and all of our team members if we had to commute one hour outside of town every day? Etc...

Oscar Holm, AllDooma Wendschuh
Jennifer Dianne Thomas Founder's Update January 19, 2018

This is a huge time of growth for the company. Every deal is pivotal and time sensitive. The tight deadlines combined with a high pressure environment often makes our team tense and when things are not going as planned the natural human instinct is to point fingers and complain. 

This week one of our team members shared an excellent article about how complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable -- such as smoking or eating a pound of bacon for breakfast -- complaining isn’t good for your team. 

So the first part of the advice given by the article is a bit too touchy feely for our team because it suggests “cultivating an attitude of gratitude -- that is, when you feel like complaining, shift your attention to something that you’re grateful for.” But the second piece of advice is spot on for us and something our team can and will incorporate. This advice suggests that we engage in solution-oriented complaining. Basically, have a clear purpose. Before complaining, know what outcome you’re looking for. 

So why is all of this important? Well, when I was a firm lawyer doing M&A work one of our clients, who bought and sold hundreds of businesses, told me that intellectual property is important and you always need valuable intellectual property and branding, but he would never buy a company unless they had top talent that worked together well.

He said he could spot a winning company by following one guideline: It is not just the technology it’s the team. Always buy for leadership.

We have a great technology that is a no-brainer for investors, but we are also on a quest for greatness by living up to the other half of the equation: having a great team that works seamlessly. 

Dooma Wendschuh Founders Update January 12, 2018

I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Elad Barak to our team. Elad will be taking a leadership role in the Business Development and Fundraising team. He has a stellar background including a leadership position in the Israeli army. He raised more than $17 Million for his last company (an energy business) and appeared on national television speaking about the business and its potential. Elad’s first tasks will be to build Province a new bottom-up financial model showing all of our expected costs, etc, which will replace the old top-down model we have been using up until now. Following this, he will help us create the next Province Business plan and coordinate fundraising and key business development initiatives… so, next time you have an exciting and wild idea for a new direction for the company, he can be the one to tell you ‘it’s a great idea but we need to stay focused’ instead of me having to say that all the time. Personally, I can’t wait to have the help.

Province will be growing a lot in the coming weeks. We will have some very exciting announcements in terms of new hires coming up soon. With more people comes more opportunity, more capability… but also more responsibility. If we’re going to succeed we must keep in mind that we are a startup and stay true to the values and lean principles which have taken us this far. We must ensure the efficiency gained from the expanded team greatly surpasses the enhanced burn. This is a hurdle which a lot of early stage startups fail to clear. We welcome your thoughts and advice.