Meet the Company That’s Automating Cannabis Cultivation – Interview with David Kessler SVP of TriGrow Systems
The art of cannabis cultivation has evolved into new territory given both legalization and technology. What used to lack in efficiency and consistency, is now carefully observed through tech and data. So much so that the entire supply chain is heavily relying on this for the market’s sustained loyalty to any given brand.
Cannabis Magazine had a chance to sit down with David Kessler, SVP of Horticultural Solutions at TriGrow Systems Inc.; a technology company providing precision cultivation solutions to the cannabis industry. David comes with 20+ years of cannabis cultivation experience including 10 years of CEA (closed environmental agriculture) indoor farm design and more.
TriGrow marries the latest agricultural technology with best practices from crop science, food safety, and biosecurity to deliver a smart, automated cannabis cultivation solution for the future that is completely new to the cannabis cultivating world. – David Kessler
TriGrow has multiple different aspects to the business..what was the starting idea that launched the company in the first place?
David: From the beginning, TriGrow’s core tenet has been that high quality and cost-efficient production are not mutually exclusive.
We recognized early on that conventional cultivation practices lacked efficiency, consistency, and data. Traditional indoor cultivation methods require large amounts of power, have too many touch points and lack consistency of the growing environment.
TriGrow is precision agriculture: applying technology and leveraging data to empower growers, giving them the tools to maximize quality at the lowest possible production cost.
Explain TriGrow Systems…have you seen this technology elsewhere in agriculture?
David: Traditional cultivation arose during an era of cannabis prohibition, where it was more important to be clandestine rather than efficient, and so the application of modern agricultural research and best practices was never adopted by most growers.
TriGrow marries the latest agricultural technology with best practices from crop science, food safety, and biosecurity to deliver a smart, automated cannabis cultivation solution for the future that is completely new to the cannabis cultivating world.
We focus on utilizing technology and automation to reduce labor intensive cultivation tasks, ensure biosecurity mitigating pest and pathogen issues, multi-layer cultivation to maximize the utilization of available real estate and the collection of close to 1 million data points per cultivation chamber per year to perpetually optimize the cultivation process and ultimately the quality of the flower produced!
TriGrow Cultivation Technology
Some of the technology we deploy is not exclusive to TriGrow, but we aim to deploy modern technology in new and innovative ways that have not been utilized before. For example, LED lighting is becoming more prevalent in the cannabis industry, but TriGrow employs overhead and inter-canopy LEDs at an industry leading performance of 2.8 µmols per watt, which maximizes light delivery, in turn maximizing overall consistency, quality and yield.
Water-chilled HVAC solutions are being used to reduce electrical consumption, which in and of itself is not unique to TriGrow; however, when paired with our environmental control system and software, this allows the independent control over temperature and humidity and a net reduction in electrical consumption.
Ultimately, TriGrow utilizes technology, both existing and novel, to cultivate high quality flower with repeatable practices to deliver consistency of process and product. We want to change the paradigm of indoor cultivation
Have you been met with any skepticism from growers, questioning the consistency or concerned that the “art” of growing is lost?
David: At Whenever something new is poised to disrupt the status quo, there is often resistance. Growers have looked at TriGrow’s technology with skepticism and doubt because it does not look like what they are accustomed to, nor does it function the way they are used to.
TriGrow balances a very hands-on approach to cultivation with technology and automation that afford a competitive advantage even in the most price compressed markets. What the TriGrow System does is provide the experimentation and analysis tools to elevate the quality of the flower cultivated beyond what traditional cultivation practices allow, a grower’s dream come true.
Our systems aim to empower growers, not replace them.
Source: Terpenes & Testing Magazine
Explain the purpose of TriGrow Capital – can businesses avoid expensive or limiting bank loans? What sort of financial hardships does TriGrow Capital address?
David: We formed TriGrow Capital to help solve a critical need we have seen in this industry: the lack of access to traditional financing. The vast majority of customers and prospective customers we encountered had one option to source capital, and that was equity issuance.
Bank loans for working capital or equipment financing does not exist with the Federal overhang in its current state. It is hard enough for many companies in this sector, both plant and non-plant touching, to even have deposit accounts. This division aims to address and alleviate some of these funding and growth challenges unique to the cannabis industry, by providing equipment financing options on TriGrow Systems equipment and enabling companies to scale rapidly with more balance sheet flexibility.
TriGrow Capital has recently financed $5.4M across two deals in Washington and Colorado, and on July 23rd we announced a new $30M term loan financing facility which will be deployed over the next 12 months.
With prices for cannabis where they are, paybacks are very fast and the ROI is incredibly compelling to make these needed capital expenditures. Cultivators of all sizes across the globe are seeking non-dilutive avenues to finance their growth plans and we are endeavoring to meet this need, offer the choices they deserve, and be as helpful as we can to foster their success.
What’s next for TriGrow?
David: In the near future, TriGrow will be the cultivation solution for both craft cultivators looking to grow artisanal flower, as well as commercial cultivators looking for consistency to drive their national brands.
TriGrow’s cost efficient production capability, combined with the ability to maximize specific chemical and physical flower traits, will put TriGrow at the forefront of the industry.
We strive to continue to meet growers’ needs and exceed their expectations – TriGrow aims to address all aspects of a successful business, from low operating costs to high quality consistent output, from supply to systems to capital to branding, and help turn it into a thriving business.
Thanks for sharing TriGrow with us David!
David: Thanks for having me!
David Kessler – SVP of TriGrow Systems