CRITICAL SERVICES PROVIDER

Mexico 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Zachary Venegas, Executive Chairman and CEO of Helix, on the medical cannabis market, strategies for Mexico, and goals for 2019.

What drove you to create Helix TCS?

My professional background has been highly invested in frontier markets. As these develop, there are necessary components that must be put in place to enable a truly open and transparent marketplace. This is especially critical in the cannabis sector, as there are social equity, law enforcement, and social cost concerns that do not exist to the same degree in other markets. We recognized very early on in the development of legal cannabis that this type of integrated critical infrastructure platform would be needed in order to create a global marketplace, which is our vision.

What is the main added value you offer to the growing Latin American medical cannabis market?

We provide critical infrastructure services such as seed-to-sale tracking, security, transport, and wholesale marketplaces that are necessary to facilitate a global B2B cannabis marketplace, and allow Latin American countries to realize the full economic and social potential of their competitive advantages. We are facilitating the transition from the black market to the legal market, which means billions of dollars in revenue to governments, communities, entrepreneurs, and employees. As the global market matures, product manufacturers or dispensaries in large consumer markets like the US will begin seeking ways to import products from competitively advantaged markets. They will demand a means of verifying that the product was grown legally and carries verifiable test results, all of which must be backed by a government stamp of approval. Our critical infrastructure platform provides all such services in a single place, supported by the data analysis that gives business, governments, and investors the ability to track financial, operational, and other market outcomes.

How can you help new companies overcome the biggest challenges of the market?

One of the biggest challenges is certainly the ever-changing compliance requirements. All of our services are tailored to the unique operating requirements in any given jurisdiction. We currently provide seed-to-sale tracking services for dispensaries and grow facilities as well as government traceability through BioTrackTHC, our leading technology services provider; security and transport services through Helix Security, which is the largest cannabis-focused security operator in the industry; and the oldest and only fully compliant wholesale marketplaces through Cannabase and Amercanex. All of our businesses function together to create an unmatched data source for the global industry.

What are the main advantages that the Mexican market offers the industry, and what strategies are you using to enter the country?

Mexico possesses a climactic advantage and is capable of producing massive amounts of legal cannabis and industrial hemp year-round at a lower cost than the US or Canada. In addition, Mexico will have a significant medical cannabis patient count that could result in a lucrative market. We already have a strong foothold in several Latin American and Caribbean markets including Colombia, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. In the latter, we provide the government cannabis traceability system to oversee the island's entire medical cannabis supply chain. We provide a Spanish user-interface for seed-to-sale tracking through BioTrackTHC, supported by Spanish-speaking technical support agents across multiple time zones. As soon as there is a legal product and thus, a need to track it, we expect to enter Mexico immediately.

What are your main goals for 2019?

Our performance has kept pace with the rapid growth of the industry. Helix TCS was established in 2015 and since then it has reached quarterly revenue of USD3.45 million, with 199% revenue growth in 1Q2019. We are the largest provider of security services in Colorado, and BioTrackTHC has been publicly identified as the leading provider of dispensary POS software in the US. As the industry expands, we are poised to grow alongside it.