The cannabis industry is projected to reach C$22.6 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co., driven by the legalization of adult-use cannabis earlier this year. While Canadian investors have been voracious buyers, many companies have expanded their efforts to reach United States and European investors through dual-listings. These dual-listings offer the ability to increase liquidity, reach more investors, and ultimately, generate more value.

In this article, CFN takes a a look at why cannabis is leading the way in dual-listings and how companies like  us,  NexTech AR Solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) (FSE: N29), are capitalizing on these dynamics to build long-term shareholder value.


Where You List Matters

Most North American investors are familiar with U.S. and Canadian stock exchanges, such as the NYSE, NASDAQ, CSE and TSX, but these exchanges only reach investors in those countries. European investors don’t have an easy way to buy securities on these exchanges—just like North American investors can’t easily access European exchanges. These dynamics can limit investor access to public companies on a global level.

Dual listings, also known as interlistings or cross-listings, enable public companies to list their securities on two or more different exchanges. These listings provide access to greater liquidity, more capital, and longer trading hours. For example, many Australian and Canadian resource companies list their shares on European exchanges because there’s substantial investor interest due to the lack of local resource companies…

Cannabis Leads the Way

Many small-cap companies have leveraged dual listings to help build a more diverse shareholder base and raise more capital at less cost. In particular, small-cap companies that operate in industries that aren’t necessarily available overseas have an opportunity to attract a large number of investors and raise more capital. The most prominent industry meeting these criteria is Canada’s nascent cannabis industry…

Many Canadian companies have sought dual listings to capitalize on these dynamics. For example, NexTech AR Solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) recently announced its new listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE: N29), which is the largest European stock exchange. The company’s plans to combine augmented reality with the cannabis industry could open the door to significant long-term growth opportunities…

Continue reading the Full Article on Cannabis Financial News

For more information  contact us.

Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A group of Apple networking engineers who had worked on a secret internal project to break the company’s reliance on cloud services from outside vendors has left to start a new networking startup called SnapRoute.

Apple is not involved with the creation of the new company. But sources familiar with the startup’s origins say its founders worked on part of a project that Apple had dubbed Project McQueen.

The project, which Recode first described in March and VentureBeat later elaborated upon, took its name from actor Steve McQueen’s 1963 film “The Great Escape.”

Its goal was to end to a rarely-acknowledged fact about Apple’s iCloud service: It relies heavily on outside vendors, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud. (Apple first disclosed its reliance on AWS and Azure in a 2014 paper.) The McQueen team’s assignment was to develop and design new equipment and software that would allow Apple to rely on its own internal cloud services and wean itself off AWS, Azure and Google.

One group of Apple network engineers led by Jason Forrester, now SnapRoute’s CEO, was detailed to a skunkworks effort to, as one source familiar with the assignment put it, “build something they couldn’t get from any existing networking vendor” — software that was powerful enough to meet Apple’s industrial-grade networking needs, but also flexible enough to allow frequent on-the-fly changes to respond to shifting demands.

As the work progressed, Forrester and his team chafed at their hidden role in the behemoth project. “Slowly, our desires to share our ideas with the world began to overshadow the thrill of working for Apple,” he wrote. They left their jobs last year and started SnapRoute.

SnapRoute makes software that helps companies manage their cloud systems, whether those systems are internal or external. Right now, if a company is overwhelmed with a sudden demand, such as a suddenly popular new app bringing in unprecedented numbers of photo uploads, it’s expensive and slow to change how the network works. SnapRoute’s software makes that switch quicker and cheaper.

The 20-person startup emerged from stealth mode last week with $4.5 million in venture capital investments led by Lightspeed Ventures. It’s one of a handful of startups focused on what has come to be called software-defined networking. Others include Cumulus Networks and Big Switch Networks.

Apple declined to comment, and SnapRoute declined to comment on any connection to the McQueen project inside Apple.

However, in a post on SnapRoute’s website, Forrester describes how over four years the demands on Apple’s network intensified, sometimes causing service outages.

“When I arrived in 2011, Apple had two data centers, mostly handling internal traffic and doling out songs and apps from the iTunes Music Store,” he wrote. “By the time we left, Apple had several more data centers stuffed with an incredible amount of network devices to handle billions of Siri and Map queries, iMessages and cloud services.”

The scale of the demand on its data centers from hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad and Mac users on the iCloud service led to problems that Apple and the companies selling it networking gear hadn’t anticipated. Those problems were a contributing factor that led to the Project McQueen research efforts.

One early success: Facebook’s Open Compute Project said last week that it has adopted some SnapRoute-developed software called FlexSwitch as an option on its OpenSwitch operating system.

network virtualization

New vendors continue to unveil products aimed at making networks better fit into an increasingly digital world that is more mobile and more cloud-centric.

Earlier this month, 128 Technology came out of stealth mode with its Secure Vector Routing technology, a session-based networking solution that company officials said is a fundamentally new approach to routing that will reduce the complexity and improve the performance of networks.

Last week, two other new vendors—Apstra and SnapRoute—unveiled their own technologies that they said will make networks easier to program and configure, more dynamic and responsive to changing demands in the data center, and more affordable. They will improve the lives of network engineers, many of whom still have to go from one piece of networking gear to another to manage their infrastructures.

Another message from these vendors is that their offerings move the market beyond software-defined networking (SDN), which with network-functions virtualization (NFV) have roiled with networking space with promises of creating more programmable, agile and scalable networks. SDN has yet to follow through on those promises, according to officials with both Apstra and SnapRoute.

“Network Engineers are still managing their networks manually box by box; they are unable to use the hardware of their choosing; and they still lack the tools to prevent or debug outages effectively,” Mansour Karam, founder and CEO of Apstra, wrote in a post on the company blog, noting that the results are network administrators under pressure and CIOs without networks to meet business needs. “With SDN came a promise that all those problems would be fixed, yet these early approaches either argued that the physical network ‘didn’t matter’ or that the protocols network engineers have used for the past 20+ years were the problem and needed to be replaced by some new magical protocol. Practice demonstrated that, despite all the hype, none of these approaches panned out and the network engineers were left holding the bag.”

In a post on his own company’s site, SnapRoute founder and CEO Jason Forrester wrote that few companies are actually changing how they build their networks despite “an explosion of innovation in data center networking in recent years including SDN software controllers, white-box switches, tools for melding corporate-owned networks with public cloud services from Amazon and others.”

Apstra officials rolled out the Apstra Operating System (AOS), which they said brings a different view of networks. In recent years, businesses increasingly have been demanding that both their physical and virtual network resources from vendors be programmable through published APIs, particularly as their network infrastructures have become more distributed and more multivendor. However, such moves have made network engineers’ jobs more complex, forcing them to become expert in software programming and in the various differences between different vendors’ APIs, Karam wrote.

“They should not have to build automation systems using scripting tools that were designed for server automation,” he wrote. “The network is a distributed system, and pushing different configurations to hundreds if not thousands of devices, each with a different role in the network, without any feedback can lead to serious errors.”

The company’s AOS is designed to address these challenges. The software sits on every network device and runs the network as a system rather than a collection of individual boxes, taking a distributed approach to the infrastructure. Network engineers then are able to communicate what services they require from the network—which officials call the “intent”—and AOS ensures those intents are met. Users can track network configuration and performance from a single site, and maintenance is driven by intent-based specifications.

“Network Engineers must maintain choice and control of the network equipment suppliers,” Karam wrote. “They cannot afford to lock in their data center operational model based on the hardware vendor they happen to have deployed in their networks. Also, they need to stick to a horizontally layered architecture as much as possible—leveraging the protocols that served the industry well for the past 20 years is essential.”


SnapRoute CEO Jason Forrester
SnapRoute CEO Jason Forrester SnapRoute
For years now, we’ve heard Amazon Web Services partisans saying that most, if not all, corporate software will eventually run in a public cloud (Amazon’s public cloud.)

They argue that’s because it’s A): cheaper B): more secure and C): frees up internal engineers to do more valuable work like write better software to run on AWS. Google’s (GOOG, +0.66%) enterprise chief Diane Greene recently made similar arguments. Microsoft (MSFT, +0.56%), the third major public cloud player, is less strident about everything-moving-to-public-cloud since many of its customers also run Microsoft software in their internal data centers.

Jason Forrester begs to differ with Amazon’s take. Forrester, formerly global data center network manager at Apple (AAPL, +1.51%) who also spent more than 10 years at IBM (IBM, +0.36%), says reports of the death of corporate data centers are not just exaggerated—they are flat-out wrong.

Will Amazon Get Into the Business Software Game?

Forrester and much of his infrastructure team left Apple last year to create SnapRoute to prove it. This Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup aims to bring the same sort of networking flexibility that public clouds claim to corporate data centers running important business applications. Facebook described some of SnapRoute’s work in a blog post, but this is the first time Forrester has spoken publicly about SnapRoute’s plans.

In Forrester’s view, it makes sense to rely on public clouds for what he calls the “easy stuff”—email, web apps, and other applications that are not time sensitive. But the real differentiating, strategic applications like Apple’s virtual assistant Siri, Apple TV, Uber’s mapping service that tells your driver where you are and vice versa run on internally owned and operated data centers. And he thinks they will continue to do so, despite the best efforts of public cloud purveyors to convince us otherwise.

“Most enterprise applications are highly customized for the company’s needs, which means they don’t fit neatly into the public cloud mold,” he noted. That’s why most companies’ big accounting and inventory tracking systems aren’t on a public cloud, he said. When it comes to their money-maker software, companies need “complete command and control of their infrastructure,” he noted, adding dryly that “It’s hard to have that command and control if you can’t even tour your public cloud data center.”

Amazon (AMZN, +0.90%) does not let corporate customers visit its data center

Forrester’s view is very controversial in this day and age, where even big security-obsessed banks are starting to talk openly about using public cloud. But if you really scratch the surface, hardly anyone says they’re offloading everything to a public cloud.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

One reason that companies feel better about keeping applications in-house is that the cost of the no-name server, storage, and networking hardware is much less than the old brand-name products that companies used to buy from HP(HPE, +2.24%), IBM (IBM, +0.36%), Cisco (CSCO, +1.07%), and EMC (EMC). That’s largely due to the Facebook (FB, +1.31%)-backed Open Compute Project, which helped design specifications for data center hardware that anyone can use.

“All of this commodity hardware was once reserved for the big guys but has trickled down to everyone else,” Forrester said.

After they’re on cheaper hardware, they need software that will let them reprogram and configure that hardware as needed, on the fly. SnapRoute is attacking that problem on the networking side with software called FlexSwitch, the technology that it will contribute to the Open Compute Project for others to use.

Nicira, now part of VMware, (VMW, +0.48%) was early entrant in this space, typically called software-defined networking. But Nicira was all about managing old-school hardware from many vendors while SnapRoute aims to manage all that inexpensive, unbranded network gear that companies are buying now.f

Public cloud advocates often joke that traditional tech execs are “server huggers” because they just can’t let go. “I’ve tried hugging a lot of servers and believe me, they don’t hug you back,” AWS chief technology officer Werner Vogels has quipped.

Maybe not, but SnapRoute’s take is that there are serious reasons companies will need to hold onto their servers—and their own data centers—for a long, long time.

In 2011, we founded the Open Compute Project (OCP), a rapidly growing community of engineers and companies around the world whose mission is to foster more openness, more innovation, and a greater focus on scale in the development of computing technologies. Then, in 2013, we launched OCP’s networking project, and one of our goals was to bring OCP’s mission to the networking industry by disaggregating the hardware and software of networking devices. This allowed us to grow the networking hardware and software ecosystem and enable engineers to build new systems that are more flexible, scalable, and efficient. Over the past few years, we’ve contributed both networking hardware and software to the networking project: Wedge and Wedge 100, our top-of-rack network switches; and FBOSS and OpenBMC, the software libraries that we use on those switches.

Now, looking back at the first half of 2016, we’ve been busy. We’ve already deployed thousands of Wedges into production, and Wedge 100 will go through a similarly rapid deployment as well. Given that, the developer community knows that Facebook network switches have been tested and hardened in our production data centers — thus, starting late last year and into 2016, we’ve seen several groups and companies start to experiment and develop on top of Wedge. The openness of the hardware and available software building blocks are pushing the networking developer community forward.

Late last year, Big Switch Networks helped start this movement by providing a version of OpenNetworkLinux (ONL) packaged with Broadcom’s OpenNSL and Facebook’s FBOSS that can be downloaded and loaded onto a Wedge. This allows other developers to start writing software on top of a Wedge and gain experience programming a networking ASIC — all while providing an example of working production code in FBOSS. This ONL-based platform was used by several other companies, outlined below, in their own demos and proof-of-concepts.

At the OCP Summit this March, a number of companies demoed the software that they built on top of Wedge:

  • Marcel Neuhausler and Julius Mueller from AT&T Foundry in their talk, “Applications, Microservices, VNF controlled by Top-of-Rack Controller (TORC),” showed how they took advantage of the full microserver in Wedge to allow it to provide higher-layer networking services for the rack. They dubbed this the “Top-of-Rack Controller (TORC),” and it provided resource-efficient and on-demand management of servers and VNFs at the edge of the network by running them on Wedge. At Facebook, we were pleasantly surprised the first time the AT&T team told us that they were running Docker, Mesos, and other open source packages on Wedge. All these packages provide the orchestration, measurement, and state management that the services in the rack need. Marcel and Julius are now starting to investigate whether other services, like PXE/DHCP, encryption, or auditing, are also candidates for the top-of-rack switch.
  • Junho Suh from SK Telecom in his talk, “Transforming Networks to All-IT Network with OCP and Open Networking,” showed how they worked with multiple networking stacks on Wedge. They started with the aforementioned ONL+FBOSS combination, but then ported the open-source OpenFlow agent, Indigo, onto Wedge so they could use OpenFlow-based control mechanisms with the Wedge. They even investigated how to make OpenSwitch available on Wedge. Supporting this variety of networking stacks and paradigms is exactly what we had hoped for when we started sharing these technologies.
  • Dave Duffy and Mark Shuttleworth from Canonical in their talk, “How app-enabled switches increase innovation for telcos and DC operators,” demoed how Wedge could be managed using their open-source server management tools. MAAS was used to deploy the initial software onto the Wedge. After that, Snappy Ubuntu Core was used as the platform for running different networking operating systems (NOS’s) as “snaps.” For example, FBOSS was loaded as a “snap” onto the Wedge. This demo shows that not only can you treat a switch just like a server for control services (see AT&T’s talk above), but you can also treat it like a server from a management perspective. Canonical also demoed this at the recent OCP engineering workshop in Austin.

At Facebook, we’ve also been demo’ing Wedge as a development platform at a couple of conferences, specifically SCaLE14x and the Embedded Linux Conference. We had a stack of Wedges running all open source software and showing some forwarding work based on open-source FBOSS and open source software.

Adam Simpkins demoing FBOSS on Wedge earlier this year.

Wrapping up the first half, at the recent OCP engineering workshop in San Jose, we were excited to share that a new networking startup, SnapRoute, announced and demoed their support of FlexSwitch software on top of both Wedge and Wedge 100 (as well as a Mellanox-based switch, another Broadcom-based switch, and the Barefoot simulator). FlexSwitch is all open-source software, and SnapRoute is contributing FlexSwitch to OCP. This contribution continues the move by the OCP networking project up the stack to higher layer networking software, and FlexSwitch is the first full L2/L3 open source networking stack officially available on top of Facebook Wedge (and Wedge 100, once it’s generally available).

FlexSwitch is a package that can be installed on a Wedge running OpenNetworkLinux — see the uname output below:

snaproute@Wedge100:/$ uname -a
Linux Wedge100 3.18.25-OpenNetworkLinux #1 SMP Fri May 13 19:10:40
snaproute@Wedge100:/$ dpkg -l | grep flexswitch
ii flexswitch                                 

Overall, we see a huge opportunity for developers in this open and disaggregated networking ecosystem. And specifically, we can see it growing on Wedge and Wedge 100 — from large ISPs developing their own software, to large open-source projects, such as those from Canonical, to new startups like SnapRoute.

The future of networking is open and disaggregated, and we encourage everyone to try it out on Facebook Wedge and other forthcoming Facebook networking switches.

Meg Whitman

On Monday, a tiny startup called SnapRoute is expected to make a startling announcement.It is swooping in and taking over technical leadership on a project calledOpenSwitch  that was formerly created and spearheaded by IT giant Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

HP is not leaving the project but will continue to be a member, a HP spokesperson tells us.

Yet people close to the project are calling this a major coup for SnapRoute.

“OpenSwitch has been decimated,” said one person familiar with the situation. “HP killed OpenSwitch. SnapRoute is taking it over.”

OpenSwitch is an effort to take on market leader Cisco by creating an open-source Linux-based network switch. It’s part of a broader trend of companies doing similar work, including startups like Cumulus Networks, Pluribus Networks, and SnapRoute.

The launch of OpenSwitch was greeted with tepid interest from the larger market. Still, HPE had hoped this project would be a big deal with itself in the driver’s seat . HPE had lined up a handful of big names as major contributors including silicon maker Broadcom (a company that makes the chips that many network devices use) and Barefoot Networks, Nick McKeown’s latest startup.

McKeown is the Stanford professor that helped launch this entire “software-defined network” revolution with a startup called Nicira he co-founded with Martin Casado. VMware bought Nicira for $1 billion back in 2012, setting off a war with Cisco in the process and launching a frenzy of other SDN startups and activity.

HPE’s OpenSwitch had gotten a nod of support from VMware, Arista and Intel, too. And it had landed the public endorsement of one potential user, LinkedIn, who planned to contribute to OpenSwitch. LinkedIn is currently building its own networking hardware and software, as part of a bigger project to design its own data center.

Earlier this year, the Linux Foundation accepted OpenSwitch as one of their projects, which also gave OpenSwitch some credibility with the huge community of Linux developers.

A SnapRoute coup

But then a tiny company called SnapRoute burst into the scene in late 2015, joining OpenSwitch, as well as other consortia, like Facebook’s Open Compute Project (OCP).

Jason Forrester SnapRoute

As we previously reported, SnapRoute was founded by the network team at Apple. Apple had tasked them with building a network that never, ever went down.But the secretive Apple turned down their request to join Facebook’s OCP. OCP is a consortium of engineers all working together to solve similar tech problems and share technology. When Apple refused to let them join, the whole team quit the same week and, led by Jason Forrester, founded SnapRoute. (Later, Apple did join OCP after all.)

SnapRoute landed McKeown as an angel and raised another $4.5 million from Lightspeed. And it quickly landed a bunch of big internet companies as customers, we’re hearing, although SnapRoute won’t say who these customers are, and declined to comment on this story.

And that’s where the OpenSwitch saga comes in.

Some of those big SnapRoute customers were supposed to be on board to try out and anchor HPE’s OpenSwitch tech but they opted to use SnapRoute’s tech instead.

And so the people involved in the OpenSwitch project voted to ditch HPE’s software and replace it with SnapRoute’s instead, giving SnapRoute technical control of this project.

All of a sudden, it seems SnapRoute is everywhere.

Here’s a marketing video that HPE put out that discussed and promoted OpenSwitch last summer.

On Tuesday, Facebook made an announcement that should set Cisco’s teeth on edge.

Its second-generation computer network switch, called the Wedge 100, is now available for purchase though Chinese contract manufacturer Edgecore (owned by Accton Technology).

That’s the same company that manufacturers the Facebook-designed switch for Facebook’s own internal use.

This is a superfast 100G switch, and could be something that many other big companies — and certainly other internet companies — will want to buy.

While Facebook isn’t a direct competitor to Cisco — it’s giving away the switch design for free, not making money on it — it is doing something perhaps even more astounding: It has created an entire ecosystem of companies that are, collectively, taking on Cisco, which owns 59% of the market, according to IDC.

This is all part of Facebook’s Open Compute Project, or OCP — arguably one of Facebook’s most important technology projects.

Facebook Wedge 100 switchThe new Facebook 100 network switch. Facebook

Joining the ‘cult’

“OCP has a cultlike following,” one person with knowledge of the situation told Business Insider. “The whole industry, internet companies, vendors, and enterprises are monitoring OCP.”

OCP aims to do for computer hardware what the Linux operating system did for software: make it open-source so anyone can take the designs for free and modify them, with contract manufacturers standing by to build them.

OCP allows the world’s best hardware engineers to collaborate and work openly together “without fear of transferring” their company’s secrets, this person said.

In its six years, OCP has grown into a global entity, with board members from Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Intel, and Microsoft. Famed network engineer Andy Bechtolsheim is also on the board. (Bechtolsheim is a cofounder of Cisco’s arch enemy, Arista Networks. He famously seed-funded Google with Arista’s other founder, David Cheriton.) OCP conferences draw in tens of thousands of people.

In fact, there’s a well-known story among OCP insiders that demonstrates this phenomenon. It involves Apple’s networking team.

Jason Forrester SnapRouteJason Forrester, founder and CEO of SnapRoute. SnapRoute

This team was responsible for building a network at Apple that was so reliable it would never go down. Not rarely — never.

Think about it: When was the last time iTunes or Siri or Apple Maps was offline?

Building a 100% reliable network to meet Apple’s exacting standards was no easy task.

Instead of going it alone under Apple’s legendary secrecy, the Apple networking team wanted to participate in the OCP revolution, contributing and receiving help.

But when the Apple team asked to join OCP, Apple said no.

“The whole team quit the same week,” this person told us.

Shortly afterward, Apple publicly joined OCP. But that was too late for the engineers who quit.

Instead, they founded a startup called SnapRoute, led by Jason Forrester, the former team leader. While Forrester declined to talk to us for this article, SnapRoute’s website hints at the story.

“Slowly, our desire to share our ideas with the world began to overshadow the thrill and pride of working for Apple. My team and I left in 2015,” he wrote. “Truth be told, I spent a few days crying on the couch. My mood only improved when we began to test our ideas with potential customers.”

While Facebook also gives away the software it designed to run its new switch as an open-source project, a whole list of startups and a few established players are standing by to sell commercial software that works with and improves upon the Facebook switch. That’s the whole point of doing this open-source.

For the Wedge 100, the list includes Big Switch Networks, Linux maker Ubuntu, and Apstra, the new startup from Cheriton, a billionaire Stanford professor. (Cheriton left Arista in 2014 and sued it over some disputed technology, though he is still a major shareholder.)

And the list includes that tiny startup, SnapRoute.

Word is that SnapRoute already has an impressive roster of customers, although it’s not alone in attacking this software-defined networking market. Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Arista, both OCP members, have partnered on it. And Microsoft, an OCP board member, is working on something called Azure Stack.

Meanwhile, Facebook will soon be upping its assault on Cisco by releasing an even faster piece of optical networking equipment currently in development, Jason Taylor, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure, told Business Insider last year.

Who knows what kinds of startups — or rebellions — that piece of equipment will inspire?

Apple could not be reached for comment.


CEO: Jason Forrester

“SnapRoute would give Juniper a lightweight and modular alternative to Junos [OS] and/or could run alongside Junos and would satisfy large network operators’ demand for a lighter weight and modular OS,” said CRN’s anonymous networking analyst source.

Founded in 2015 by former Apple engineers, Palo Alto-based SnapRoute offers a fully programmable,  open source software stack for enterprises, dubbed FlexSwitch, aiming to help companies manage their cloud systems. The startup has raised nearly $5 million in funding thus far.