Medical Cannabis in BC is undergoing a massive shift and a local Vancouver startup is one of the few handpicked companies that has been awarded a license to construct their facility, meet Tantalus Labs.
Who are you? Tell us about your business and what inspired you to create it.
My name is Dan Sutton, and I represent Tantalus Labs: the first of a new generation of legal and technology driven greenhouse cultivators of medical Cannabis. The legitimization of this contentious plant will be the single defining societal shift of this decade. The days of black market bunker grow-ops are numbered, and a new dawn of BC Hothouse-inspired infrastructure is imminent for quality-assured, legitimate Cannabis cultivation. Teams like us have the first opportunity in modern agricultural history to lift this compelling species out of the shadows, and into the light.
How does such a new business like this work economically, socially, and politically and how will this change in the next five years?
Right now, we are one of very few producers licensed for construction of our unprecedented facility under stringent requirements from the federal government. I believe as firms like ours pave the way, more firms will join this exciting movement. I look forward to a day where there are hundreds of craft growers across Canada.
How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of Tantalus Labs?
We thrive on the support of community. Although our space is somewhat novel, there are hundreds of acute problem solvers, engineers, and designers facing and conquering analogous challenges within the Vancouver startup ecosystem. To have been born and raised in Vancouver, and share touch points with so many incredible teams, is an inspiration and a powerful resource.
What core problem is your company specifically solving and/or what’s the main value you provide?
We believe that indoor Cannabis cultivation is obsolete. The product quality, carbon footprint and environmental control can simply not compete with the modern greenhouse. Bunker growops were relevant 10 years ago, high-tech greenhouses will be relevant 10 years from now. Our mission is to advance the frontier of Cannabis cultivation.
How did you end up becoming an entrepreneur and what challenges did you personally overcome to succeed?
I have always enjoyed taking on creative ideas and business notions in various contexts, from DJ nights in university to screen printing t-shirts for my buddies. The challenge is to find the focus and drive to take the next step, building dreams over what can be years and years. Attention span can be a problem for me sometimes, so I have to focus on organization and discipline.
What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
Mike Macquisten and Steve Thorp of the Van Urban Winery and Settlement group of companies are unreal. Those guys are detail obsessed in a way that gets me stoked every time I interact with their brand(s). They deliver beautiful experiences consistently and have a ton of fun doing it. They keep their gaze on the horizon while never diluting what they have going on in the moment. Mad props.
What Vancouver celebrity/influencer would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Seth Rogen, for obvious reasons.
If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
Stand behind your beliefs. Also: stock tips.
What are some accessible resources used and winning habits you have developed to learn and grow as an entrepreneur?
Organization, administration and bookkeeping cannot be outsourced efficiently. It is the duty of every company builder to learn and hone the business of business. A chef opening a restaurant needs to manage her whole organization, not just her menu. Organization makes workflow more efficient, and life a lot easier. Resources like Siri, Asana, Quickbooks and Evernote are daily tools that enable me to transcend my sometimes frantic excitability. We need to train our weak points, not avoid them.
What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
Pick yourself and do it now. Invest yourself unilaterally in the problem you want to solve, and don’t stop until the job is done.
*End of interview*
Tantalus Labs is pioneering an industry that as Dan mentioned, could be the societal shift of the decade. It’s extremely exciting and also, will be very unpredictable on how it all takes shape so I am excited to follow their progress and see how the whole industry develops. You can follow their progress and get educated on the movement by reading their populace.
*Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to paul(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit.