Justin Valmont is the founder of Think Tank Automation in Vernon, BC. Think Tank brings premium automation equipment to craft cannabis growers.
After a challenging climb, six companies, including Think Tank Automation, are now moving onward and upward to the 2022 OKGN Angel Summit Finale on March 16th. We connected with each of the finalists to learn what they would do with the investment, why they think they are the right choice for the investors and hear their insights on the Summit program.
What problem were you trying to solve when you started Think Tank Automation?
Agriculture, and specifically the newly legalized cannabis industry, is a labour-intensive sector with legacy in-line dosing irrigation systems which provide inconsistent levels of nutrients to plants. Our patented platform provides consistent pre-mixe and PH-balanced nutrients, a high level of quality assurance and reduces waste. Our real-time monitoring and automated government reporting also help to reduce human error and save up to 50% in labour costs.
What makes you and your team the best ones to solve this problem?
To deal with the pain caused by a car accident, I was prescribed cannabis and eventually became a licensed grower. That time working in the industry and experiencing the challenges they face gave us the credibility needed to launch and see $1.6M in sales from early adopters, as well as endorsements from Canada’s leading producers. Our team of developers and engineers continues to advance our solution to make Think Tank even better.
If you were to win, what would you do with the investment?
The funding will be used in part for working capital to support our $1.7M in orders, the next releases for our technology roadmap, marketing and sales. We’ve only spent $50K in marketing, so we are looking forward to bringing in a dedicated team to drive new business. On a personal note, it would be such an honour to be chosen as the winner from such a notable group of entrepreneurs and investors, especially for someone who is aboriginal.
Why should the investors be interested in Think Tank Automation?
I believe that investors in startups look at mitigating risk to a large degree—a validated business and product, traction with existing revenue, a pipeline of customers with purchase orders, credible brand-name industry customers, a scalable business in a large addressable market, defendable technology of IP. I believe we tick all these boxes.
What are key learnings that you’ve taken away from the experience?
I’ve learned to look at the business from a different perspective and pitch competitions are a good way to get out and network. The whole process has driven me to spend hours practicing and honing my presentation skills. Pitching and implementing constructive feedback from professionals in the industry has helped me see Think Tank in new ways.
Learn more about Think Tank Automation
Visit their website and see their tech in action.thinktankautomation
If you are just learning about our OKGN Angel Summit, it is a 10-week program where accredited investors and startup founders are introduced to the world of angel investing through a guided, hands-on process with multiple pitch events and training activities. This process provides participating companies with a chance to learn how businesses are vetted, complete due diligence, and make improvements to their pitch. At the end of the program, during a live public pitch event on March 16th, the investors will decide which company receives the $150K investment from the fund.
Who will take home the big investment? Find out at the 2022 OKGN Angel Summit Finale on March 16! You can register for the Finale now on Eventbrite. Tickets are free for students and members of Accelerate Okanagan.