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Better Know a CTO - David Berg of Strainprint

December 5, 2017

 

When we overviewed the whole team behind the revolutionary app that’s making meaning out of cannabis consumption data, David Berg really stood out. Since Berg is the Chief Technology Officer and President of such a technologically intensive company, we wanted to pick his brain and learn more about the man behind the Strainprint tech.

 

DMO: What were you up to before hopping on board the Strainprint team?

 

BERG: I spent the last 20 years building big data software for fields including finance, military and beyond, all of which required a high level of compliance and security. I got tired of it and wanted to make a lifestyle change.

 

DMO: How did you decide to stay in the software space?

 

BERG: After looking in-depth at the cannabis industry with Andrew Muroff (Strainprint’s CEO) spending time with experts around the world, it was quickly determined that going the Licensed Producer route in Canada was too capital intensive and the U.S. market was just too risky - so I gravitated towards software. Go with what you know.

 

DMO: How did you land on the concept behind Strainprint?

 

BERG: There are tons of seed-to-sale softwares, but they are all enterprise-facing. There was nothing to track the patient experience. Steph (Strainprint’s Founder and Chief Strategy Officer) had been working on a personal cannabis usage tracking prototype and I thought ‘if you added data, that could really help the broader consumer market.’

 

DMO: You mentioned the patient experience - are you a medical marijuana patient?

 

BERG: Yes. As a patient, you could ask your physician questions about your consumption or usage optimization, but they had no data to help you with. They’d try to help, but had no real data to guide patients with. When you look at what the L.P.s are treating, of course you’ll see the more common ailments like pain, arthritis, nausea, and lack of appetite, but then you realize that over 320 different medical conditions have been shown to benefit from cannabis consumption with no real data to back it up.

 

DMO: So, how is the all of this valuable data collected?

 

BERG: After selecting the symptom you are trying to treat from our list, you can begin logging consumption sessions, allowing the app to collect real-time data regarding how a given strain or consumption method is affecting you. Strainprint user data becomes part of an anonymized global database by removing individualized identifier components. This allows us to see global trends as they pertain to a condition, strain, or specific chemical compound.

 

DMO: How does all of the condition, strain, and consumption data you collect help the users?

 

BERG: When it comes to users, we have patients, researchers, physicians, cultivators and more. The data allows patient users to improve their consumption habits. Beyond that, it allows researchers and physicians to keep moving the industry forward by allowing them access to such a large database of cannabis consumption data. The data can even help cultivators determine which strains they should grow more of based on the conditions its most effective for and the prevalence of the given condition.

 

DMO: Are you a believer in the concept of strains? Or are they just names?

 

BERG: Many people have become so used to buying their cannabis by strain name, but we all know that there’s more to a batch of cannabis than the name it’s referred to as.

 

DMO: Interesting, we certainly agree with you there. Can you give us a rough breakdown of the patients using Strainprint?

 

BERG: Sure, it’s about a 50-50 split between male and female users, a vast majority of which came to the app organically. Our ambassador program with researchers has allowed us to expand our user base even more rapidly. Geographically, we’re now seeing a majority of our users in Canada due to the integrations with the Licensed Producers, but we have about 30% of our users coming from the United States.

 

DMO: Are U.S. patients worried about sharing data with Strainprint related to their consumption of a plant deemed illegal by the feds?

 

BERG: That’s a good question, but the answer is no because of the way that we handle our data. Patient confidentiality is of utmost importance to Strainprint, so we collect and use patient data in the most responsible way. From a data-security standpoint, it’s all fully encrypted from the mobile app all the way to our servers in Canada. We do not host any of our servers in the United States so that we can keep all of our patients comfortable knowing it’s safe to share their consumption data with us. Additionally, no patient data is stored on the user’s device.

 

DMO: That’s pretty incredible! We’ve noticed that Strainprint is always improving with new features, updates and more. Can you tell us a little more about the most recent update?

 

BERG: Absolutely. We launched in February, and since then we’ve had 16 new versions released, not counting minor tweaks and bug fixes. Each update brings new functionalities and new features. We’ve recently added support for microdosing as well as oil consumption tracking by milliliter.

 

DMO: What can we expect to see from Strainprint going forward?

 

BERG: The mobile app is just the first product Strainprint is coming out with. The back end of Strainprint is a business intelligence platform for growers, researchers, and physicians to optimize everything they do with cannabis. We’re in alpha-testing mode now on this platform, and e expect to begin beta-testing in a few months.

 

DMO: Any final thoughts to leave us with?

 

BERG: It’s virtually endless what you can do with this data set. It’s living and constantly growing.

 

DMO: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and fill us in on everything going on at Strainprint. There’s obviously a lot more than meets the eye!

 

D/M/O

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