I am immensely disappointed today to announce my resignation from Ample Organics. For each of you who were part of this wonderful and life-changing journey over the past six years, please accept my most sincere thanks. I appreciate you more than you know.
We sold Ample to Akerna last year because we fell for the same promise Akerna made to stockholders when announcing the acquisition. CEO Jessica Billingsley promised that they had a "vision to create the preeminent global (cannabis) technology platform, addressing the entire supply chain and its regulatory bodies through accountability and transparency."
As all too often happens with companies like Akerna, it never had the vision or executive leadership to deliver on this promise, or many others. After deep reflection on the cannabis industry's evolution, and the type of commitment to planning and execution required to lead that evolution, I came to believe that Akerna's executive leadership is incapable of taking us there successfully.
I will have more to say in coming days and months, but suffice to say that I believe Akerna's current leadership is unlikely to make it a preeminent leader of anything. Except, possibly, serial layoffs, customer and revenue churn and dilutive deals that are bad for investors -- all of which are currently happening there.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies enjoy an exalted spot in our economy because of their business model simplicity and the value of their recurring revenue streams. When you have successfully acquired a significant customer base, as Akerna has, your job is to faithfully safeguard your investors' money and make it grow by continuing to deliver products and services customers want, engaging those customers, delighting them, and repeating. But when you call yourself a SaaS company to get that elevated valuation then turn around and disappoint customers, fail to capture acquisition synergies, or even to manage the company like a SaaS company, it is wrong. You can see for yourselves. I challenge anyone to look at Akerna's quarterly or annual reports and find even one instance where they explain to investors that they understand, manage or report on generally-accepted SaaS metrics like churn, LTV, CAC, CAC:LTV ratio and the like. You won't find it because they don't do it.
Failures like this begin at the top. Akerna has some great employees, it has awesome customers, and, with the right leadership, has massive potential. Unfortunately, I do not believe its current executive leadership has any likelihood of nurturing those employees, effectively serving those customers or capturing much of that potential.
After our transaction, each time I raised these issues internally I was rebuffed, and as a part of my final conversation with Jessica Billingsley, I politely requested that she do the right thing and resign her position as CEO. I asked that a rigorous search be started to find a candidate with the requisite experience and skills to lead this company forward and to correct a decade of bad decisions. She declined to do so.
While I may have resigned, I have not given up on my belief in Ample Organics and the potential of Akerna, and I intend to use every resource available to me to make sure that potential is realized.
John X. Prentice