Rachelle Gordon December 10th, 2018 The birth of the cannabis industry has led to a dire need for accurate information in order to... CFN Media Exclusive Interview with CB2 Insights CEO, Prad Sekar

Rachelle Gordon

December 10th, 2018

The birth of the cannabis industry has led to a dire need for accurate information in order to build businesses and help consumers get the right results for their desired outcomes. CB2 Insights provides advanced analytical data with a patient-focused approach through their unique family of software and service brands, including medical evaluation centers, practice management programs, and customer loyalty apps. The rapidly-growing firm is planning on becoming a go-to resource in the medical marijuana space, already operating in 12 states with an additional 8 on the horizon.

CFN Media sat down with Prad Sekar, CEO of CB2 Insights, to learn more about the company’s dedication to data and simplifying the medical cannabis journey by delivering actionable insights across the entire value chain.

CFN Media:  How does CB2 Insights help the end consumer?

Prad Sekar, CEO of Cb2 Insights

Prad Sekar:  We’ve always felt like our place in this industry is to help cannabis mainstream into healthcare. Working with outpatient medical centers for so many years, you get to see how new therapies or new products come to market, how they get adopted by clinicians, and ultimately, the “rinse and repeat” model of the big pharma world. The challenge with cannabis is that it’s one of the only medications that come to market without clinical evidence. It’s very difficult for the healthcare community to buy into a product that doesn’t have efficacy behind it from a proven perspective using the regular means that most medications go through.

As we’re trying to develop a market for a product that’s not yet ready to be adopted, there’s a huge amount of barriers by clinicians, healthcare practitioners, and by colleges. Our goal was to say, “if we can build the type of empirical data that would help to validate cannabis as a medication, good, bad, or otherwise, you would be able to start to create adoption within the medical community.”

When we look at data utilized in making better decision by clinicians, you’re talking about software applications; platforms that can summarize vast amounts of complex information that’s ever changing down to simplistic decision trees, or information that doctors get when they’re at the bedside table with a patient. Generally, when you’re making these types of tools, you benefit from the fact that there’s already so much data in the industry. Most of what cannabis had, and still has today is, based on anecdotal, self-recorded data. Although the quality of self-recorded data has become better because nowadays people can come out and actually talk about it, the validity of the data is still not rooted in actual clinical evidence. We believe to generate the data that would drive the future adoption by healthcare, we need to build the necessary baseline measures upon which you can base your anecdotal data. That’s really what CB2 Insights is: it’s about building real world, evidence-based data that’s clinically led, and then finding ways to have that data drive better resources for the healthcare community to make better decisions in cannabis.

CFN:  What sets you apart from others in this space?

PS:  We talk a lot about big data in our pitch, and we see big data having 4 Vs:  velocity, veracity, variety, and volume. Each of those has a various aspect as to what you want to collect, and how you want to use it. We focus primarily on data that we collect, therefore, veracity being the case that we can trust the data that we collect, and variety in the fact that we’re not limited to any one market. Today, we play across four geographies internationally, and each of those markets allows us to capture data from different applications from various patient subsets. We have built  a database of over 250,000 patient files worth of clinically-led data sets utilizing over 60,000 patients on an ongoing, recurring basis. Our operation in the US is probably the largest multi-state operator of cannabis evaluation centers and we’re expanding rapidly.

People will talk about retail data, but it doesn’t link into an actual patient’s health condition. If you think about a diagnosis of a patient, it’s almost like a tip of an iceberg. Underneath that is all these conditions that affect that diagnosis and a diagnosis by itself is not valid enough to treat. Our technology allows us to focus in on the exact data parameters that we want to collect and study as part of building these analytical software tools. In doing so, within reason and within regulations, it makes us unique in the fact that there aren’t many organizations that have that set of data available to them today. While they might have tools that are being used to power decisions, it’s not being used with the same level of insights that we’re gathering.

CFN:  What does CB2 Insights have in store for 2019?

PS:  2019, for us, will be a year of expansion and growth. We’ve invested a lot in building both the infrastructure and the teams to get us to managing our current operations of 20 locations across 12 states in the US. We’re also going to focus on taking a leading charge on the rest of the legal markets in the US, hopefully expanding to a total of 20 states. We’re looking to do international expansion, so stay tuned for news on that.

I think Europe, as a whole, will really start to define what cannabis is as a medicine. Most of these markets outside of North America are true prescription-based markets where we see pharmacy involved at a very early stage. I think all these things are only going to help drive the efficacy, and the adoption, of cannabis as a medicine and, therefore, our business.

CFN:  You’re currently developing your go-to market strategy. Why should potential investors consider you?

PS:  We benefit from having a company that actually drives real revenues and profits and we’re able to survive on existing cash flow. We don’t exactly look to raise capital to cover our operational overhead, but there are tremendous growth opportunities in North America and beyond. For that reason, we’ll continue to look for the right strategic investor. What’s more important for us, at this point, is to find the right partners that will continue to help the business grow.

CFN:  What makes a perfect investor for CB2 Insights?

PS:  The right partner(s) for us helps the business get to the next stage, whether it’s helping us expand geographically, helping us find the next set of customers, or helping us build and strategize towards where we want to see the business go in the next five – ten years. You need to work through collaboration in this industry. Some of our upcoming international expansions are all through partnership opportunities and we are interested in seeking more out.

CFN:  How do you stay true to your core values in this ever-changing landscape?

PS:  Above all else, we view cannabis as medicine, but worldwide, that’s something that’s going to take society years to evolve. There will always be markets that are harder to penetrate and problems that are difficult to solve. We’ve been at this for four years now. It’s not overnight that we built this platform, the datasets, and the access to information that can help everybody else. At the core for us is patient care. What we’re doing, ultimately, is increasing access to patient care. Whether it’s CannaCare Docs doing it through our evaluation centers and opening up centers to see more patients so they can get more access, or building technology like Sail to help doctors feel more comfortable prescribing cannabis and gaining more access to patients, we are going to keep the patient at the heart of everything we do.

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Rachelle Gordon

About Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a Minneapolis-based writer. Find her online at www.rachellegordon.net.

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