Greenlight Analytical Has Their Chemistry Just Right

James Wylde and James Dean-Moore at Enginuity’s engineering facility

We’ve all been there. Sitting around a table over a couple of beers with good friends on a random Thursday afternoon, and suddenly, inspiration hits. You know you’ve come up with a genius idea.

You grab a pen and the closest paper to hand, usually a napkin, and scribble it down. You know you are on to something! Everyone around the table is excited, you can feel the momentum of a great idea carrying you along. And then… the cheque comes. You tuck the napkin into your back pocket promising yourself you’ll keep working on the idea. And then you accidentally run your jeans through the wash with the napkin in your pocket and you can’t quite remember all the details without it and maybe it wasn’t quite as good an idea as you thought. It starts to fade away and it’s back to your regular 9-5 and whatever you were doing before inspiration struck.

For founders James Wylde, Simon Benwell and Nicole Wylde they’ve done what so many of us dream of. They took their napkin scribbles and turned them into a flourishing business. A business that is set to revolutionize the way the cannabis industry grows crops. Greenlight Analytical, the trio’s new enterprise, produces the Cannabis Analyzer. A system that allows Licensed Producers (LPs) to offer rapid, affordable, cannabis crop optimization and validation to the 100-billion-dollar legal cannabis industry. The technology is the only system of its kind that allows for on site testing and validation, enabling growers to tweak their crops in real time rather than after the crop is harvested. The system saves LPs time and money and enables them to deliver a consistent product every time – something that is incredibly important in the marketplace.

So how did Greenlight take their idea from a napkin scribble to a business that supports 10 employees and just closed its first investment round? Two things, the right ecosystem to help them grow and the right set of skills to execute on their idea.

“When we realized that we truly had something here we started looking around for the right place to set up shop,” says James. “The area we were in at the time didn’t feel conducive to starting a new business, but we had heard great things about Atlantic Canada.” It was on an early fact-finding trip to Halifax, that James was introduced to Margaret Palmeter and Dr. Clifton Johnston the founding Director and Academic Director respectively of the Dalhousie Emera ideaHUB. It was during that trip that they realized just how well structured the Atlantic Canadian innovation ecosystem is to help companies grow. “This is one of the most business friendly places in Canada. We would not be where we are now without the home base the Emera ideaHUB provided and the partnerships we’ve forged both at Dalhousie University and in the broader community.”

It was that “home base” that the Emera ideaHUB provided that has enabled the significant growth that Greenlight has seen. “Nothing replaces community, and the ideaHUB community is second to none. Even through a global pandemic when we couldn’t be in the physical space the ideaHUB team was there every step of the way to help us get connected to exactly what we needed at the right time” says James.

The ideaHUB has been a launching pad for many companies in the Atlantic Canadian startup community but as many in the ecosystem like to say, “it takes a village to raise a startup”. Greenlight is no exception. Once they arrived at the ideaHUB the team immediately began establishing relationships with the various funding agencies in the area and building strong research partnerships with Acadia University, Dalhousie University and Enginuity. Accessing and leveraging smaller grants and funding offerings from Health Canada, Innovacorp, Nova Scotia Business Inc, and NRC IRAP allowed James, whose background is in chemical analysis and Simon who is an expert in new technology development to start building out the physical product with the support of researchers at Dalhousie and Acadia and prototype development from Enginuity.

“We’ve been very lucky to attract some excellent partners and funders, people who are not only invested in our success but are interesting in seeing all the companies they help thrive. It’s an incredibly collaborative ecosystem, one that tries hard not to compete but rather collaborate.” shares James.

That spirit of collaboration is also present in everything Greenlight does. James and Simon are both experienced founders with knowledge to share. Something they do willingly with the newer founders in the ideaHUB community. They are giving of their time and always willing to join a discussion or share their knowledge. In fact, when asked what the most important thing is a new founder can do James had this to say, “Show up, and keep showing up. Show up to events, introduce yourself, show up for others, but most importantly, show up for yourself and for your business every day and keep putting in the work.”

It’s this willingness to keep showing up that has enabled Greenlight’s founding trio to succeed where so many fail; to turn a great idea into a great product. As the company graduates from the Emera ideaHUB BRIDGE Residency program to join a group of incredible alumni companies the future is bright. Building something brand new for the marketplace is a long road and companies that put the right tools in place to shorten their path to market as the ones that ultimately succeed. Greenlight excels at doing just that. So much so that they anticipate being in market with their first pilot by the end of the year; an exceptional timeline for a product as technical as theirs. There is alchemy in finding the right mix of idea, team, timely funding and technical expertise and so far, Greenlight have the chemistry just right.