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Company

The CubicFarms edge: Born out of a Dutch heritage of world-class greenhouse growing

CubicFarms’ technology for growing leafy greens was developed by Jack Benne (right),
founder of Bevo Farms, one of North America’s largest plant propagation businesses, and his son Leo (left).

Few people on earth have grown more plants from seed than Jack, born and trained in the Netherlands. Bevo’s decades of world-class growing experience have culminated in the next generation of growing technology with the CubicFarm.

South Dakota rancher inspired to grow livestock feed at a touch of a button

CubicFarms’ HydroGreen technology for growing nutritious livestock feed was developed by Dihl Grohs for his ranches in South Dakota, Utah and Missouri. Dihl was first inspired to develop the concept of a low-maintenance feed growing system during his time spent raising cattle in Idaho. Limited precipitation in that area made supplying feed for cattle a challenge, exacerbated by competition from other dairies for quality feeds.

With the HydroGreen system, Dihl achieved his goal of creating a straightforward, sustainable land substitute for producing feed in a manner that preserves farm profitability.

Board of Directors

Jeff Booth, Chairman

Jeff has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, responsible for growing innovative online marketplace BuildDirect.com to over $120 million in annual revenues. He is a recognized thought leader on entrepreneurship, technology and e-commerce, featured in major publications such as Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. In 2016, Goldman Sachs named him among its 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. He is a Founding Partner of OtioLabs, Co-Founder of addyinvest.com and NocNoc, and serves on the boards of Terramera, SPUD.ca, LlamaZOO, Synthiam and the Richmond Hospital Foundation.

John de Jonge

In 1995, John purchased Artex Barn Solutions and grew it into a global provider of cattle handling equipment, ventilation and cow cooling. He has deep expertise in establishing and scaling up multiple manufacturing facilities in China and North America. As Chief Design & Installation Officer at CubicFarms, John is responsible for leading the engineering and installation team.

Dave Dinesen

Dave is an expert in global operations management and corporate client acquisition. He leads growth at CubicFarms since inception, raising over $18MM in capital. He is the former CEO of BackCheck, where he advanced the company from a small business to an industry-leading company operating on three continents with over 500 employees.

John Hoekstra

John currently is Controller of Bevo Agro Inc. He joined Bevo in 2004, shortly after Bevo went public. Prior to joining Bevo, he worked as a Supply Chain Manager at Air Liquide Canada, and at Unitor Ships Service as Branch Manager. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) and holds a Business Administration degree from Redeemer University.

Leo Benne

Leo currently serves as CubicFarms’ Chief Product Officer, overseeing the R&D of machines and produce. He gained advanced knowledge of modern horticultural methods in the Netherlands, and has been instrumental in the development of the CubicFarms technology. Formerly the head of Bevo, Leo grew Bevo to become the leading plant propagator in North America.

Michael McCarthy

Michael is the Principal at McCarthy Pacific Group, consulting and advising on strategic business development, enhancing business-to-business marketing and enabling a culture of high performance. He has extensive leadership experience in the technology sector with companies such as Telus, IBM and Silicon Graphics, where he aggressively grew the business while developing future leaders.

Daniel Burns

Daniel is the first certified director in British Columbia (ICD.D) and one of the first in Canada. He is a member of the Law Society of BC and the Certified Professional Accountants of Ontario. He holds MBAs from University of Toronto and St Gallen, Switzerland. He is well versed in public markets, having created a capital pool company on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Executive Team

At the intersection of experience in engineering, cultivation, manufacturing and global entrepreneurship, our management team has been assembled to drive growth at an international level.

Dave Dinesen

Chief Executive Officer

A seasoned CEO, Dave Dinesen founded his first venture, BackCheck, in 1997 and took it from a start-up to the largest background screening company in Canada and a leader in the UK. With over 500 employees in three countries, BackCheck served over 15,000 corporate customers and screened millions of people in Canada and the UK. A successful sale and merger with a larger US competitor, Sterling Infosystems, was completed in 2012. The merged business became Sterling BackCheck and Dave joined the New York executive committee and led the global business units for Canada, the UK, and Philippines. SterlingBackCheck was acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2015 and Dave left the organization and founded WideOcean Strategies Ltd., a boutique venture capital and consulting firm. In late 2015, Dave was tapped to lead the CubicFarm Systems team as CEO and bring this revolutionary technology to market globally. CubicFarms is quickly becoming a global leader in the controlled-environment-agricultural vertical farming space. Dave also serves on several for profit and non-profit boards.

Rodrigo Santana

President & Chief Operating Officer

Rodrigo is a senior executive with over 20 years of international managerial experience within global best-in-class technical services providers, focused on financial and operational management, strategic growth planning and execution, engineering, project management and operational efficiency. Previously, he held several leadership roles in growth-oriented companies, such as Dow Agrosciences, SGS and Commercial Testing & Engineering, with operations in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. He co-founded and operated the cultivation of hydroponic lettuce at the beginning of his professional career. Most recently, he served as Chief Operating Officer at Sacré-Davey Engineering, where he doubled the size of the company through strategic business and corporate development as well as geographical expansion across North America. He coordinated the implementation of business systems and processes to support the company’s growth objectives. Rodrigo has a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering from the Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management from Chicago, US.

Leo Benne

Chief Product Officer

Leo is credited for developing CubicFarms’ technology for growing fresh produce along with his father Jack Benne, who is founder of Bevo Farms – one of North America’s largest plant propagation businesses. He gained advanced knowledge of modern horticultural methods in the Netherlands and subsequently through his involvement in Bevo Farms for almost 30 years. He has been a key figure in CubicFarms due to his extensive experience in the application of computer technology to the production of healthy, high-yield plants. Leo is responsible for the R&D of machines and produce as CubicFarms’ Chief Product Officer.

Jo-Ann Ostermann

Chief Customer Officer

Jo-Ann joined CubicFarms in 2016 as one of its earliest employees, and helped build the company from the ground up, with oversight across multiple departments including farming operations, R&D and machine installation. As Chief Customer Officer, she is responsible for overall customer experience, encompassing account management and customer support. She also oversees the Company’s subscription program, which includes software updates, new crop growing protocols, optimization data, training and grower support, as well as the consumables program, which includes the supply of seeds, nutrients, substrates, and packaging to customers. Jo-Ann is one of the few people in North America to have opened and operated a vertical farming operation on a commercial scale. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing with distinction and an MBA from the University of Calgary.

Tim Fernback

Chief Financial Officer

Tim has over 25 years of finance experience as a director and officer of public and private technology, natural resources, health and biosciences companies. He has held senior executive positions within the investment banking and venture capital industries, as well as progressively senior executive officer positions within growing businesses, including ModoHR Technologies, Upstream Biosciences and Ronin8 Technologies. He has also successfully worked as a consultant in a variety of industries including biotechnology, SaaS, software, hospitality, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, and real estate development. Tim has served on the board of numerous companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. He currently holds directorships in TSXV-listed Deep-South Resources and Tri Capital Opportunities. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from McMaster University and a Master of Business Administration degree specializing in Finance from the University of British Columbia. He is also a designated Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.

Jacqui Noftall

Head of People

Jacqui has 25 years of experience as a seasoned human resources leader specializing in implementing people programs and services for recognized top employers. She has held executive and senior leadership positions in the finance, higher education, and real estate sectors and has experience building global human resources and operational infrastructure for start-ups, including Citizens Bank (now Vancity Community Investment Bank) – one of Canada’s first online banks. Jacqui has consulted for a variety of industries including technology, environmental and social justice, legal, sports and tourism. She holds a Masters in Leadership and Change Management from Royal Roads University.