Akerna Joins Forces with solo sciences to Create Transparency & Accountability in Response to Recent Vaping Deaths
Both companies are teaming up to enable brands to track seed-to-sale and engage consumers to easily verify the authenticity of individual product units

DENVER, Sept. 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Akerna Corp. (Nasdaq: KERN), a leading seed-to-sale regulatory compliance technology provider and developer of the cannabis industry’s first enterprise resource planning (ERP) software technology (MJ Platform®), announced today its exclusive partnership with solo sciences, inc., developer of the world’s first cryptographically-secure cannabis product authentication system. Together, they generate an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability to consumer packaged goods that drives product safety and consumer protection from counterfeit products by integrating the patented solo* tech platform with Akerna’s service offerings--MJ Platform and Leaf Data Systems.

The number of vaping-related casualties and illnesses continue to rise even weeks after the first headlines. There are now seven deaths and 380 cases in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The State of California alone has reported 73 suspected cases and is the only state to record more than one death.

“Product and public safety through reliable traceability drove the creation of MJ Platform. Cannabis product tracking down to the gram level provides built-in transparency into the growing, processing, distribution and selling of cannabis products,” said Jessica Billingsley, Chief Executive Officer at Akerna. “The integration of solo sciences’ elevated tagging technology provides the first robust method for communicating everything we know about cannabis through our tracking – ingredients, nutrients, additives and more – to the consumer.

solo sciences’ goal is to protect the entire supply chain, from seed to shelf, for the brands that have spent millions crafting products and packaging to the consumers using their products. Solo sciences mission is to protect the growing population of consumers and prioritize safety in the marketplace.

Akerna’s MJ Platform and solo*CODE™: integrated innovative technology for consumers and brands, brings a consumer-facing mark designed to highlight authenticity and signify transparency.

  • MJ Platform – Akerna’s seed-to-sale system, provides transparency and accountability throughout the product lifecycle, capturing every interaction with the plant or product from cultivation to sales. Visibility is now extended to customers with the integration of the solo*CODE.
     
  • solo*CODE (a unique graphic ID or “fingerprint” for each package) can be directly integrated into ready-for-sale products, scanned via a free mobile app available to the public to validate product authenticity and provide accurate information about the product’s life-cycle while enabling the consumers to earn rewards across retailers and give feedback directly to the brand.
     
  • solo* mobile-first, patented tech platform leverages the power of today’s mobile devices by allowing the solo* app to scan the proprietary solo*CODE graphic mark to create a cryptographically secure closed-loop authentication system.

Akerna’s Leaf Data Systems and solo*TAG™ – an innovative, next generation solution for state governments to securely track product and waste throughout the supply chain. Leaf Data systems track and trace software provides:

  • Real-time data to cannabis cultivators, infused product producers, dispensaries and collectives; tightly integrated with solo*TAG. 
     
  • More transparency and accountability with Leaf Data’s closed loop between governments and licensees that eliminates alternate data collection sources, which reduces error, improves security and increases accountability. The advanced technology is also assigned to each plant, batch, inventory item and provides a chain-of-custody from seed-to-self for detailed transparency.
     
  • Less cost to licensees through solo science’s patented solo*TAG, a unique digital fingerprint that eliminates the need for expensive technologies like holograms and RFID. The solo*TAG can also cost a fraction of the cost of current tagging technology, reducing some of the compliance cost burden for cannabis licensees.
     
  • Mobile capabilities with solo*TAG being mobile-app enabled, Leaf Data is now the first mobile-enabled, seed-to-sale government traceability platform for cannabis businesses and for regulatory bodies.

Leaf Data currently supports state cannabis program operations that generate $722-million in taxes.The solution provided between Akerna Corp and solo sciences has recently been selected by the Utah Department of Health and Department of Agriculture as the tracking software used statewide for the newly approved medicinal cannabis program. As part of the deal, all Utah licensees -- retail, wholesale, cultivation and manufacturing -- will be required to use Leaf Data and solo*TAG for seed-to-sale tracking. As partners, Leaf Data and solo*TAG ensure the instant traceability of cannabis products. The move advances state regulations and ushers in a heightened level of consumer safety.

“Together with Akerna, we have simplified the work regulators and brands must do to protect consumer health because we have the ability to follow the product from creation to consumer,” said Ashesh “Alex” Shah, solo sciences’ founder and CEO. “Akerna's creation of a transparent supply chain for one of the fastest emerging markets allows us to create trust in an industry that's historically been so murky."

To date, solo sciences’ has secured partnerships with 53 cannabis brands and is expected to ship more than 9M encoded units in 2019. Over the next year, the company plans to expand its reach, partnerships and packaging operations to become the new standard for cannabis authentication.

About Akerna Corp.
Akerna (Nasdaq: KERN) is a regulatory compliance technology company in the cannabis space. The cornerstones of Akerna’s service offerings are MJ Platform® and Leaf Data Systems®, which are highly-versatile platforms that provide clients and government entities with a central data management system for tracking regulated cannabis products—from seed to product to shelf to customer—through the complete supply chain. Since establishment in 2010, the company has tracked more than $16 billion in cannabis sales across 14 countries and has served clients in 29 states across the U.S. As part of its business strategy, Akerna intends to grow through targeted, strategic acquisitions that are complementary to its current business and organically by accelerating its product development efforts. Akerna is based in Denver. More information is available online at www.akerna.com.

About solo sciences, inc
Boston-based solo sciences provides next-generation anti-counterfeiting technology fused with a direct communication system between brands and consumers via solo*, its proprietary technology offerings, comprised of solo*TAG™ for supply-chain validation, a consumer-facing solo*CODE™ cryptographically secure trust mark, solo* mobile app, patented solo*ID®, and AI-driven backend system.

The solo sciences mission is to build confidence and establish trust among consumers, while enabling retailers and distributors to close the loop with creators and producers. For more information, visit solosciences.com.

Akerna Media Contact
Jeannette Horton / Kimberly Brock
press@akerna.com

solo sciences Media Contact
Kayla Abbassi
VSC on behalf of solo sciences
kayla@vscconsulting.com

 

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Source: Akerna Corp.

Released September 19, 2019

Jessica Billingsley

Akerna

Jessica Billingsley serves as Akerna’s Chief Executive Officer. In June 2019 she became the first CEO of a cannabis ancillary company to be listed on Nasdaq. She co-founded MJ Freeway in 2010, where she served as President until April 2018, and later as the CEO until MJ Freeway was acquired by MTech to form Akerna. In 2015, she was named as one of Fortune’s Most Promising Female Entrepreneurs, in 2018, she was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders, and in 2019, she was named to Entrepreneur’s inaugural list of 100 Powerful Women.

Prior to MJ Freeway, Jessica earned her degree in Communications and Computer Science from the University of Georgia and later became CEO and founder of Zoco, a technology services firm with clients across the United States. With 20 years of technology and systems experience in rapidly scaling businesses, Jessica is a highly regarded executive in both the tech and cannabis space.

Ray Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Ray Thompson is the Chief Operations Officer at MJ Freeway. He has 15+ years of corporate management experience including operations, sales, and talent management. From 2008 to 2016, Ray served as the Senior Vice President of VisionLink, a multiagency humanitarian software platform. From 2016-2018, Ray was Head of Customer and Sales Operations at Gloo, a people development platform. With 20+ experience in software systems, Ray specializes in the meeting the unique needs of high growth technology companies and helping them scale.

Ruth Ann Kraemer

Chief Financial Officer

Ruth Ann leads MJF’s financial operations. From 2012 to 2018, she served as CFO of Tempo Financial Holdings, Tempo Financial US Corp, and Unidos Financial Services, subsidiaries of Catalina Acquisitions. From 2010 to 2012, she worked for Linc Energy Operations as Divisional CFO. Prior to that, Ruth Ann was CFO for Allegro Multimedia, and has held various financial roles throughout her career. She was certified as a CPA in 1985.

Mark D. Iwanowski

Global Visions-SV, Inc.

Mark D. Iwanowski is the Founder, CEO and President of Global Visions-SV, Inc. He was previously a Managing Director with Trident Capital, Cleantech and served as Senior Vice Presential Global IT and CIO for Oracle Corporation. Mark also held executive positions with Raytheon and was principal at three successful startups—Applied Remote Technology, Quantum Magnetics, and Neohapsis. He earned his MBA from National University and California Institute of Technology, and B.S. in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Emery Huang

Batu Capital

Emery Huang is senior partner at Batu Capital, which is a multi-family office managed by Emery and Evan Huang. Batu looks for opportunities in cryptocurrency, cannabis, and big data that constitute either game-changing technologies or are late-stage/pre-IPO enterprises that have built wide economic moats. Prior to Batu, Emery was senior partner at Titan Capital.

Matt Kane

Green Shades Software

Matt Kane is the Co-Founder, Board Member, and former Co-CEO from 2005-2019 of Greenshades Software. He is also a Co-Founder and Board Member of Welltality, where he served as CEO from 2014-2018. Matt’s background is in building, growing and scaling software companies. He has been a member of the MJ Freeway Board of Directors since 2015 and earned his MBA from Warrington College of Business at University of Florida and B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Jacksonville University.

Roger McNamee

Elevation Partners

Roger McNamee co-founded Elevation, an investment partnership focused on the intersection of media and entertainment content and consumer technology. In 1999, he co-founded Silver Lake Partners, the first private equity fund focused on technology businesses. He notably was a key early investor in Facebook, and he released his insights on the social media site in a new book called “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe,” published by Penguin Random House.

Tahira Rehmatullah

MTech

Tahira Rehmatullah is President of T3 Ventures, Partner of Big Tent Ventures, and member of the board of directors for Akerna Corp. Tahira has previously held positions at Hypur Ventures, MTech Acquisition Corp., Marley Natural, Privateer Holdings, City First Enterprises, Perry Capital, and Ernst & Young. She is an investor and advisor to numerous cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs, including the advisory board of The Initiative and the Last Prisoner Project, and is dedicated to developing female and minority leadership in the industry. Tahira earned her MBA from the Yale School of Management and BS. in Finance from The Ohio State University. She resides in New York City.

Alex Shah

solo*sciences

Ashesh “Alex” Shah is the founder and CEO of solo*sciences, a leading anti-counterfeiting and supply chain validation company. Mr. Shah founded The London Fund in 2002 and continues to serve on its investment committee. In June 2018, Mr. Shah was appointed Special Advisor to the CEO of Eaze Technologies, Inc., a position which he continues to serve. Mr. Shah is also currently on the board of directors of RevolutionWear, Inc. and EdCast. Mr. Shah’s has 28 years of experience building, integrating, and leading technology-focused companies from concept to an initial public offering and has led successful exits across a range of sectors including: loyalty; category management; data analytics; high-performance computing; payment processing; human resources technology; consumer packaged goods; artificial intelligence and fashion. Mr. Shah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from Williams College.

Scott Sozio

Akerna

Scott Sozio serves as Head of Corporate Development for Akerna. He was the CEO of MTech Acquisition Corp., a Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company that merged with MJ Freeway to create Akerna. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Hypur Ventures, a cannabis-focused venture fund and a Partner at Van Dyke Holdings, a family office investment firm. Scott is Director of Hypur Inc., a banking compliance technology business, and Director of Simplifya Holdings, LLC, a cannabis compliance technology business. He received his B.A. in Architecture from Columbia University.