Written by Stuart Foxman
In agriculture, software can be invaluable in tracking all sorts of processes. Yet systems aren’t always connected. That was the case for one specific crop. Andrew Wilson saw the need, and to fill it formed GrowerIQ (groweriq.ca). His Toronto tech company has a single niche: cannabis.
“We want to support Canadian producers, and they need to be technology first,” says Wilson, the company’s COO.
Technology has always been his passion. Wilson taught himself to code, and eventually became an enterprise technology consultant, creating custom software. In that role, he worked with a variety of industries, from aerospace to education. The common goal was using technology to boost efficiency and business processes.
Through work, Wilson met Shlomo Booklin, a master grower in the cannabis field. The conversations they had planted the seed of GrowerIQ.
Booklin shared his frustrations using software in a greenhouse. He told Wilson he’d have to use multiple computers, each with their own system, as there was no coordinated solution to cover all the needed functions.
So Wilson created one. He saw a great match between his tech experience and Booklin’s industry experience. GrowerIQ is an integrated cannabis cultivation platform. It covers seed-through-sale processes, including inventory, crop stages, harvests, regulatory compliance and packaging.
The results help Canadian licensed producers to lower operating costs, while improving the consistency and quality of their products.
Wilson says GrowerIQ is the first cannabis cultivation software designed in partnership with a master grower. That’s a differentiator. He says that with GrowerIQ, he puts himself in the shoes of his clients.
Other legacy providers, he says, tend to focus on reporting to the government. That’s an important part of GrowerIQ too, but “We focus on the health and quality of the plant, with cannabis cultivation knowledge and insights built right into the platform,” Wilson says.
The company also provides integrated hardware (to scan batches, log activities, view history, pick orders, send labels for printing, and more), as well as environmental sensors to monitor key metrics throughout a facility in real time.
As a greenhouse management platform, GrowerIQ brings all data together. The system integrates with various sensors and environmental controls, to create a robust platform for data analysis. GrowerIQ also tracks inventory down to the individual plant level, making it easier to forecast yield.
The company’s experience has led to a secondary function. For licensing, cannabis producers have to include a lot of record-keeping information. GrowerIQ can also help with that process, assisting companies with their application to Health Canada.
Regulatory compliance is table stakes, says Wilson. What GrowerIQ supports is a range of best practices that promote productivity and better strains. Wilson is also excited about the volume of data collected by the system and the machine learning capabilities. The more that clients use the platform, the more data the algorithms have to generate insights.
“Long term, we can uniquely identify the most optimal growing conditions per strain at a genetic level. No one has that data right now. The promise is there,” says Wilson.
With its expertise, GrowerIQ is helping plants – and cannabis companies – to grow.
Photo credit: Plexman Studio