This week we sat down with PhenoLogic co-founder and CEO Traverse Jurcisin. We discussed his experiences in the cannabis industry and his time at MSU.
PhenoLogic is an expanding cannabis cultivation technology company focused on fertigation and data monitoring. They are currently developing a system called the Poseidon. This modular system also comes with custom software you can use to monitor plant nutrient and fertilizer levels and create customizable fertilizer mixes to be automatically distributed to plants. Users can set up zones with specific combinations and schedules, which is especially helpful in facilities with multiple strains of cannabis with different needs, and monitor key data of each zone. Alongside the Poseidon, PhenoLogic produces what they call the Mobile Poseidon, a rolling cart with built-in fertilizer mixing and a spray wand, along with touchscreen controls and data display.
Traverse, the co-founder and CEO of PhenoLogic taught himself C++, coded the first versions of the software, and designed the Poseidon system itself. Still, recently they have been able to bring on a professional C developer to streamline the software side of the business. PhenoLogic has seen recent success in their partnerships with Sente Foundry and Hatcher+, two investment firms that look for promising startups to invest in and help grow. These partnerships came after Traverse and PhenoLogic took first place in the Burgess New Venture Challenge, a competition between MSU startups for cash prizes and where winners can potentially make connections with startup investment groups. These partnerships come at a critical time for the company, as the product is fully developed besides some software needs. However, as Traverse shared with us, they are still experimenting with different pricing plans. Some plans under consideration include an option by which a grower could rent a unit on a subscription basis or a monthly charge based on total water consumption. Keeping in mind that the PhenoLogic systems are for smaller to mid-sized growers who cannot invest in expensive fertigation systems, a subscription or water consumption-based pricing system could be very beneficial.
Horticulture at Michigan State University
Currently studying horticulture at MSU, Traverse has had prior experience in the cannabis space before starting PhenoLogic. Before coming to MSU, he was a licensed caregiver with the State of Michigan, which allowed him to have a client list to grow for and sell to. Still, as more large-scale cultivation and distribution facilities came online, cannabis prices dropped. Lower prices meant that growing cannabis became a lot less economical for smaller growers. This change motivated him to go back to school for a horticultural degree, learn more about cannabis itself, and use related opportunities to get a foot in the door with the industrializing cannabis market. Traverse told us that overall, his experience creating and growing PhenoLogic has been incredibly rewarding as he can do something he is genuinely passionate about. Although the launching phase has been intense, he is excited to continue growing the company and working forward with Sente and Hatcher+.