Sorting Robotics Inc. was founded in 2018 by Nohtal Partansky, Cassio Santos, and Sean Lawlor. Nohtal and Sean were both engineers with NASA’s JPL laboratory in Pasadena, CA and Cassio Santos was in his PhD program at UC Riverside in Computer Vision when they founded the company.
Tell us about your products
Sorting Robotics creates automation and robotics solution for cannabis manufacturers. Our current products focus on the pre-roll manufacturing segment: the Jiko Automated Pre-Roll Infusion Machine and the Jiko+ Donut Maker, both of which infuse any meltable concentrates including fresh press rosin, hash rosin, badder and more, into the center of a finished pre-roll; and any form factor cones, straight tubes, and blunts
What was your mission at the start of your company?
We want to automate the mundane tasks so people can enjoy doing what they do best, being human.
How many employees do you have?
We currently have 12 full-time employees.
What made you choose to start a company in this industry?
My cofounders and I were working at NASA back in 2018 and eventually found ourselves bored of the slow bureaucratic world of academia. It was then that we decided to spice things up and start a company for ourselves that was actually in e-commerce inventory automation, not cannabis. It wasn’t until 2019 that we decided to get into cannabis because we loved the plant and identified a massive pain point with the lack of automation for cannabis manufacturers.
Why do you feel your business is important to the community?
In 2020 we actually started a plant touching entity that did contract manufacturing in trimming, flower, and prerolls for brands in the Oakland area of California. We ran that company for three years and deeply understand the struggles that come along with building brands and manufacturing cannabis products — we lived it. I think it is important that the suppliers in plant touching entities deeply understand the problems of their customers so they can give them the best solutions that allow them to optimize their business. Our company looks at every cannabis process as a way to save our customers money so they can grow their company and turn this industry into a respected global powerhouse.
How does your business give back to your community?
We have an internship program for students looking to learn about robotics. I think it is deeply important to stimulate the next generation of engineers and I know when I was young I would have killed for even the ability to mop the floors at a robotics company.
We deeply understand the struggles that come along with building brands and manufacturing cannabis products — we lived it.
—Nohtal Partansky, Founder & CEO