Dane Stevens is an entrepreneur with 12 years experience in international product sourcing, development, manufacturing, and quality control, Dane is the founder of multiple successful wholesale and retail DTC businesses, and is currently President of Cavalier Jewellers LTD. After investing in several venture start-ups, Dane now concentrates his efforts on various philanthropic endeavours, and on the science-based benefits in the rapidly evolving world of fungi through his work with Optimi Health.
What got you personally excited about psychedelics?
For me, psychedelics represent a unique opportunity to unlock value that can prove beneficial through its perceived medicinal and healing purposes. To that end, we are really excited to be gearing up to begin our first clinical trials - Now, we may not be the first company to head down this path, but we are one of a small minority dedicated to focusing solely on natural psilocybin mushrooms capsules - which we created in partnership with Numinus Bioscience. We hope to unlock how best to employ natural psychedelics to treat an array of human disorders and conditions, and also to enhance or elevate human potential.
How will the new growth capital from Optimi’s recent IPO help you advance Optimi’s mission of becoming a globally recognized brand?
Being a global supplier of both psychedelic, and functional mushrooms, is our primary goal, and the influx of capital is being invested wisely to achieve that aim. Upon approval of our dealer’s license, we are ready to efficiently scale our two 10,000 square foot production facilities, and are forecasting revenue this summer from our nutraceutical enterprise. Optimi is always looking at ways to improve our cash position to capitalize on future opportunities, and strategically build- out our existing IP portfolio to support our upcoming clinical trials.
What is your strategy to build brand awareness for Optimi in the near future?
Optimi’s strategy is three-fold. We are working to expand our shareholder base, which now includes Canada’s CSE exchange, the Frankfurt exchange in Germany and our pending listing on the US-based OTC markets. We are constantly looking to strike strategic partnerships with other industry leaders, in order to develop similar working relationships to what was accomplished with Numinus. Once licensed, Optimi is extremely well-positioned to be an integral part of the alternative mushroom supply chain, and we’ve created the framework to serve as a go-to supplier for natural psychedelic mushrooms globally. Our investor awareness campaigns, and concurrent analyst coverage is coming, alongside various material and commercial developments and milestones.
Can you share what your flagship brand of Optimi nutraceuticals will be and what health benefits they offer?
Unlike psilocybin-based products, functional mushrooms offer an abundance of health benefits without psychedelic effects. We are commercializing products that aim to provide notable cognitive and physical benefits in humans, all of which intend to optimize the whole body and mind. We seek to strip away the complexity and uncertainty consumers face when purchasing mushroom supplements by using premium, natural and simple ingredients. For instance, our mushrooms are high in beta-glucans, and use only the fruiting body as a primary ingredient, and while that sounds complex, it really isn’t - and it's decidedly better for you and the outcome you seek.
Can you elaborate on Optimi Health’s diverse approach to psychedelics, functional mushrooms and also cultivation?
It’s our belief that if people are given the choice between a natural product, and the synthetic alternative, that they will choose the natural serving every time. Our business is built to control the entire supply chain ensuring quality and quantity by implementing GMP standards throughout our operation. Our approach starts with Optimi Farms and our state-of-the-art, purpose built mushroom cultivation facilities. We designed our facilities to include room for a generous built-in research and extraction lab to create evidence-based formulations to help advance various targeted outcomes. This continues right from extraction through to human-based clinical trials. The technology, controls, and operating systems we’ve implemented ensure the highest quality of mushrooms are grown with precision, whether they are functional or psychedelic. Our research indicates consumer demand is focused on for the future development of pharma-grade psychedelic mushrooms, and we are positioned to capitalize on this growing opportunity.
What is the focus for your new state-of-the-art cultivation facilities being built in British Columbia and how will that help Optimi expand?
In short, consistent dosing is probably the biggest issue with natural magic psychedelic mushrooms and one of our first aims is to solve this. Optimi’s facilities are being constructed to cultivate pharmaceutical grade psilocybe mushrooms with consistent high-level dosage capability. Optimi will also bring forward our harvests to encompass phased research studies and clinical trials to ultimately provide patients, therapists and doctors looking to access precisely controlled natural medicines as an alternative treatment as opposed to what’s available now. Again, we feel using natural mushrooms is the obvious choice here.
What advantages does Optimi Health have being one of the only Fruiting Body cultivators in Canada?
This is a great topic as it’s an excellent example of how we aim to differentiate our products and even our approach as a manufacturer. Using only the fruiting body means that our mushroom products will possess a much higher beta-glucan count, which is what matters most for functional mushrooms, versus so many competitors who are using “full spectrum” mushrooms which are proven to be less effective and full of starch. By lowering the starch, we can focus on improving effect and hopefully develop more effective strains in future. This is fundamentally why Optimi aims to be the pre-eminent grower of fruiting body mushrooms in North America.
What is the most common misconception you hear about psychedelics?
I think it’s important to start looking at all psychedelics as a form of medicine and not as “drugs”. Education is going to play a huge part in the proper roll-out and marketing of this medicine to not just the public, but the existing industry and its professionals as a whole. With strong guidelines, educational campaigns, and clinical data, misconceptions can be overcome. I’m optimistic that science will steer the industry and the public towards an outcome that will greatly benefit tens of millions of people around the globe.