Courtney Forgues, President
The cannabis industry is proliferating, with no signs of a slowdown. In fact, reports estimate that the global legal cannabis market size will reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025.
Although such growth has opened up several opportunities for the players across the field and promoted the wide use of legal cannabis products, it has invited several major operational risks. Today, it is essential for cannabis businesses to rightly navigate this extremely fast-paced and ever-evolving industry while ensuring compliance with complex regulations, quality of products, and patient education. Further, with Covid, the overnight demand for an essential contactless delivery and pickup option for patients and customers has also increased. As a result, businesses are forced to revamp their existing business model with almost little or no preparation. What the cannabis industry needs is a comprehensive platform that can help them not only adhere to compliances but ensure a seamless customer experience.
Portal42 is a cannabis seed to sale software solution that allows provisioning centers, processing, and cultivation owners to track their data and be more effective and efficient. “Our mission from day one was to provide facility owners a simple yet compliant IT solution to help them address diverse customer needs,” says Courtney Forgues, the CEO of Portal42. “We talk to our customers daily and welcome feedback, conduct focus groups, and rely on multiple partnerships to evolve and deliver proprietary products. Unlike traditional POS solutions, our holistic software platform enables clients to increase brand value and reach,” states Courtney.
BEGINNING WITH A PURPOSE
Portal42 was born out of the idea of providing the cannabis industry with easy-to-use software that could assist in managing and growing their business. It was meant to be a simple to master solution for employees of all levels and a mine of accessible data for ownership. “We focused on an overall end-to-end experience that would promote the growth of their business,” adds Courtney. The story began in 2015, several years before Michigan started formalizing licensing. A good friend and neighbor of Courtney opened a provisioning center on the eastside of Detroit. “Knowing that cannabis was the inevitable future, we offered our services at his facility.
Unlike traditional POS solutions, our holistic software platform enables clients to increase brand value and reach
Though we did not know what we were getting into, it was a thrilling and amazing experience,” she mentions.
From that time, Portal42 was dedicated to becoming the cannabis industry leader in Michigan and focused heavily on building relationships locally while continuing to be a resource to everyone they encountered in the industry. The company’s vision of the industry’s landscape confirmed that many businesses would access this industry through portals using the software. And Portal42 was born.
THE PREMIER OPTION FOR FACILITY OWNERS
Courtney believes that Portal42has been fortunate with how its innovation trajectory has been ahead of the curve in the industry. She goes on to mention that Portal42 continues to have its finger on the pulse of state-of-the-art technology and products to enable the facilities to provide enhanced customer experience even during the pandemic. To elucidate, the company is ensuring robust communication between facilities and their patients and customers, even adding an online payment solution. Also, Portal42 has a pickup/delivery component in place, which is helping its clients provide a touchless solution, eliminating the need for human-to-human interaction and in-store queues in this new normal. “Our platform is geared toward providing answers to the new emerging needs due to the pandemic. We are confident that Portal42 will remain the premier option for facility owners moving forward,” Courtney mentions.
Furthermore, Portal42 continues to solidify agreements with other organizations that will yield very beneficial returns for customers and, subsequently, the cannabis Industry. For instance, the company has partnered with a local tobacco brand, which has expanded its business into the cannabis space. This brand (having 15 facilities) benefited greatly from Portal42’s online platform “Portal Online,” which enabled them to control branding footprint in the state rather than leaving it up to the map-based ‘Food Court’ weed marketplace. Courtney, in this context, says, “they can direct their marketing efforts to their own brand and app that keeps their customer base within their own ecosphere, allowing maximum capture rates throughout all capital avenues.”
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
Having carved a unique niche, Portal42 will continue to add new functionalities to its platform for addressing the growing needs of facility owners.
The company’s online platform and payment solutions will provide the bridge to the future as cannabis is finally becoming accepted within the banking and general business standards as a whole. “We are expecting that within a few years, cannabis will be nationally accepted in some form or fashion and we can provide solutions to our nation to eventually exhibit a leadership role throughout the world that the U.S. has exhibited time and again in the past,” informs Courtney. “The global expansion of hemp and cannabis has been a distant dream soon to be realized by so many of us who understand the magic of healing that this plant provides and it couldn’t come at a better time as our planet is in so much need right now.”
Portal42 also has multiple states on its horizon that they are looking to partner with and some international opportunities. “We are introducing several apps, both desktop and mobile, that will drive better interactions for staff, customers, and owners, including
Enterprise applications for multiple facilities. Also, being able to notify customers and interact with rewards will allow us to stay ahead of the communication curve with patients and customers,” says Courtney. With Covid-19 being such a driving force in determining the safety and health of businesses considered essential, Portal42 will be delivering a product that will add another layer of protection and process for facilities. The company looks forward to helping ensure a safe and productive work environment for all the facilities.
Courtney also shares her thoughts on the brave men and women who pioneered what the cannabis industry has become and how this sector will continue to innovate toward the future: “Due to our unique experience of being side by side with these business owners through those early years, we witnessed their fight to bring cannabis out from the shadows and into legitimacy,” she mentions. And rightly so.
The daily threat to their product, cash and data come in many forms - whether it is the struggle of working with the state to ensure their compliance with constantly changing rules or having to prove their worth to get approved for licensing only to find out that fees could approach six figures or more. Further, facilities constantly deal with forced closures and threats of forced closures, which weakens a business’s ability to stay open in the age of Covid. “Without these people who we greatly admire, we would not have a cannabis industry today. With the continued support of these owners, industry experts, investors and technology companies like us, the future of cannabis will continue to “grow” for many years to come,” Courtney concludes.