In the first of a two-part interview with Cannabiz, Medcan Australia managing director Craig Cochran recalls the journey from cash-strapped start-up to last month’s successful harvest of the company’s first crop.

It was all looking rosy for Craig Cochran and Gareth Ball when, in mid-2019, the business partners embarked on a capital raising expedition to Canada, then the undisputed investment centre of the cannabis world.

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For the best part of three years, the duo had self-funded the business activities of Medcan Australia, a Queensland-based start-up they had launched in 2016.

Craig Cochran had to liquidate assets to keep Medcan afloat

The time had come to seek serious Canadian cash. And the prospects were looking bright.

“I think it was in July 2019 when we were in North America and doing a deal with a Canadian company,” Cochran recalled. “But as it turned out, the timing was appalling.”

What had looked so promising was about to unravel. A month or two later, in August or September, the initially positive discussions collapsed amid an unfolding bloodbath in the Canadian market.

“It was right at the start of the Canadian capital market crash. They lost their funding, we lost our funding and we had to return to financing the business ourselves,” he said.

That involved the courageous but risky move of taking out second mortgages and, as Cochran described it, “liquidating assets to keep the business afloat”.