Invictus MD is a cultivator that is striving to establish an expansive suite of cannabis businesses from a variety of verticals. In this edition of C-Suite, we speak with Dan Kriznic, the CEO and Chairman for the past three years.
What makes your company different from others in the cannabis space?
We’re unique in a number of ways. First, we have the largest land package in Canada for building cultivation facilities as demand increases. Secondly, our production facilities are in diverse locations currently in Alberta and Ontario, which may play a role in provincial regulatory matters related to cannabis. Finally, we’ve demonstrated a disciplined but agile execution of our business strategy.
How did you get into the cannabis space?
I'm a CPA/Chartered Accountant by trade. Initially started out working for Deloitte & Touche for a period of 10 years where I gained experience in many different industries and a general background in business and the importance of cash flow. After Deloitte, I was a CFO and Executive Vice President of an Investment Group in Vancouver that was involved in private education, real estate and care homes. We built Canada’s largest for-profit education company in a period of four years with more than 1,300 employees and 42 locations spanning many cities across Canada. We exited on some of the assets at which time I left to incubate Invictus MD. Initially Invictus MD was set out as a licensed producer applicant back in early 2014 but later went on to invest in various verticals in the cannabis space.
What has been your biggest lesson about working in cannabis, and in business in general?
The biggest lesson seems to be more of a perpetual need to do a better job of overcoming. The cannabis sector is a space ripe with boundless potential. It’s also an industry still clouded with a few stigmas. For many investors, it’s still something that they’d need to come to grips with. We’ve realized it’s our responsibility to educate every single investor, and each and every broker.
What do you see as your biggest opportunity?
The cannabis market is real and early entrants with speed to production will have a key advantage. The demand of 600,000 kilograms by 2020 under the adult use market plus 150,000 kilograms for the medical side is far greater than the current supply.
Do you have any thoughts or concerns about Sean Spicer’s statements indicating the Administration’s intention to crack down on recreational cannabis?
Invictus MD is focused on the Canadian cannabis market so there is no bearing on our market. We want to focus on being Canada’s Cannabis Company.
What sets you apart to make you a potential leader in cannabis?
We have the largest land package in Canada for building cultivation facilities as demand increases.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the cannabis space?
Be patient, be unique. Carve out a niche for yourself. Get a good team and be ready for the long run. Learn all you can from the early movers. There is going to be a number of very large producers out there, and that continues to grow and it’s not going to go away. However, there’s going to be an audience and a loyal client base for companies who do it a little different, for those that have a unique value proposition and for smaller growers who aren’t one of the large producers.
What would you say to those who are considering investing in your company?
The cannabis market is very real and early entrants with speed to production will have a key advantage. The demand of 600,000 kilograms by 2020 under the adult use market plus 150,000 kilograms for the medical side is far greater than the current supply. Investors have recognized this and are playing the upside in a big way. The initial 1/3 acquisition of AB Labs and AB Ventures was a stepping stone into the LP space. We raised $12 million on the backing of that deal in December 2016 which included some anchor investors that were also involved in the $16.2 million bought deal.
We are a fairly new Licensed Producer focused company but not new in the cannabis industry. The strategy since early 2014 has always been to be a dominant company in the cannabis space. Our team has done this before in other industries. This is key in my opinion. We have recognized a window of opportunity that will likely never present itself again in our lifetime. This is not a dot com bubble. Cannabis cash flow has been around for decades. We are now finally going to capitalize on this legally and give back to communities in a positive way and our investors will benefit also.
Do you see any big changes coming in the future of cannabis?
If cannabis becomes legal in Canada by July 1, 2018 it will drastically change the landscape of the market overnight and it’ll be very good for both Licensed Producers and Canadians.
Who are some of the key players on your team?
Phillip Haig is our Chief Science Officer and Horticulturist who has built over 1 million square feet of licensed grow facilities in the US. Currently Phil is working on a 500,000 square foot build out for one of the five licensed in New York. He has been featured on '60 Minutes', 'National Geographic' and many other publications. Our goal is to build very large facilities and Phil will be key in designing and helping construct those facilities built for purposes of cultivating cannabis.
Larry Heinzlmeir is our VP of Marketing and Communications. We worked together hand in hand for a number of years in building Canada’s largest education company where he was the Chief Marketing Officer. Branding and sales will be key as we get down the path to production and sale of cannabis. We are both very operational from that perspective and have operational pasts that work well together - myself in financing and Larry in sales and marketing. Larry is also heading up our communications strategy for investors which is key to getting our message out there and telling the story to as many people in the world as possible.
George Kveton recently joined as a director for Invictus. George is a founding partner of LOGSCALE Venture Partners; focused on early and growth stage companies in healthcare. He has in-depth strategic and corporate development experience in fast moving consumer goods. As VP at Japan Tobacco he led M&A transactions valued at US $1.5B, expansion into in the US and Latin America, and deal origination and execution for emerging products. At Philip Morris he led two major acquisitions (up to US $1 billion), readied businesses in Central and Eastern European for EU accession, and facilitated new market entries into Croatia and neighboring countries. His multi-billion dollar private and public company deals are global spanning five continents. He’s a grad of Queen’s, the executive studies program at Berkeley Haas and HBS.
Every hire we make and directors we appoint is strategic to the overall vision of becoming Canada’s Cannabis Company. I find that it’s key to have an operational team that has done this before in other industries. All of the team members offer a different and complimentary skill set. We will continue seeking and acquiring top talent to work with the team.