This month starts a new multi-part series focusing on leading managed services providers that take care of the technology needs of cannabis entities, from seed to sale and beyond.
This month, I’ll look at DanTech, an MSP based in Anchorage, Alaska, that serves clients across Alaska and the West Coast. Founder Dan Foote launched the company in 2009, starting with block time services and then switching in 2011 to, predominantly, recurring revenue contracts and fully managed services.
I first met Dan a few years ago as I was exploring cannabis technologies. I consider him to be one of the top 10 MSPs in the cannabis space.
Harry Brelsford: What verticals do you serve?
Dan Foote: We’re more of a horizontal player as we like to work with small businesses that are often ignored by larger MSPs. One vertical that we’re working now is the cannabis vertical here in Alaska. And as we grow with that, we find it very exciting, because it’s such a progressive vertical. And participating in this industry is really good for everybody: businesses, consumers, law enforcement and for the tax base of a state or city.
HB: You provide technology services to the entire cannabis supply chain. What kind of cannabis clients do you have?
DF: We’ve got one client that is in the process of building grow rooms, but they haven’t quite finished that. And a lot of it has to do with the lengthy process of construction and dealing with the regulations. Most of our clients are retailers, and we have one client that also has a large in-house cultivation. They do manufacturing and they have a lab. They are what you call a fully integrated vertical.
HB: What are some of the unique technology challenges in the cannabis space?
DF: Security-wise, probably the number one challenge is that in Alaska you have to have 40 days rolling CCTV coverage of any place in the facility where cannabis is moved, whatever form it’s in. You can earmark areas that are strictly off limits for any cannabis in that section and not have to have cameras, but otherwise you’ve got to have 24/7/365 CCTV video coverage. In Alaska, 40 days of rolling coverage is required, but that number varies by state.
One of the things that we find interesting is that in our discussion with owners and employees at different shops is the need for more stable point-of-sale systems. We’re working to leverage that area of concern. There’s this belief that you can deliver everything wirelessly, and we’re finding that that’s not necessarily the best practice. Where we can take and move a company to cabled wired connections, we’re finding an increase in the POS stability that benefits sales, benefits the customer for the time that it takes to get a sale done and benefits the employees for the not having to deal with the frustration of a wireless network that is iffy.
HB: Finally, what’s next for DanTech?
DF: Aside from growing my small MSP technology business, we’ve launched Cannatech907. We’re pulling in RSS feeds from different cannabis community sources (including Marijuana Venture). It’s a community/ecosystem to take better care of more cannabis clients. We’re pretty excited about that. It’s really good that we’re getting to the point where we can make the cannabis vertical more clear to our site visitors and provide better information to our clients and our community. And as you’ll see on our landing page, we actually talk about something that nobody — except maybe me — likes to talk about: the tax benefits that states and localities get out of the cannabis industry.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.