SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Apeel Sciences, recently honored as a WEF Technology Pioneer and a CNBC Disruptor 50, has announced $70 million in new financing led by Viking Global Investors with Andreessen Horowitz, Upfront Ventures, and S2G Ventures, with participation from others. Additionally, Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, will join Apeel Sciences' Board of Directors and advise the company as it scales to meet demand from U.S. and international fresh food suppliers and retailers.
"We were looking for partners who saw the long-term vision for Apeel fruits and vegetables in the U.S. and also abroad in countries that don't necessarily have the cold chain infrastructure," said James Rogers, Founder and CEO of Apeel Sciences. "We're honored to have Viking Global Investors and Walter Robb as new partners on our journey to help the fresh food supply chain gain efficiencies that will help put a stop to food waste and enable better quality food to come to market."
The financing comes after Apeel Sciences crossed major commercialization milestones in June, when the company introduced Apeel avocados at Costco and Harps Food Stores in the U.S. Since Apeel avocados were introduced at Harps Food Stores in May, Harps Food Stores has experienced a 65 percentage-point increase in margin and a 10% lift in sales across the Hass avocado category — the first evidence of food waste reduction driving margin and profitability for fresh food suppliers and retailers.
Apeel Sciences' new funding will be leveraged to accelerate the company's scale-up in response to supplier and retailer demand for programs across avocado, citrus, berry, stone fruit, and asparagus categories. The company recently introduced Apeel products for organic and conventional citrus, which will enable suppliers and retailers to improve quality and unlock new revenue opportunities. Additionally, Apeel plans to grow its team based out of its 105k square-foot facility in Santa Barbara, establish satellite facilities to service partners in U.S. growth regions, and continue its focus on developing new plant-based solutions with a wide range of applications across perishable categories.
"A great next generation entrepreneur has come along using food itself to naturally extend the life of food, heralding a new era of possibility and promise," said Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. "James and the team at Apeel Sciences are amazing and I am truly excited to be part of their efforts."
"As Apeel products continue to hit the shelves, the retail world is now beginning to experience what was clear from day one, which is that Apeel is a product with the potential to change the world," said Yves Sisteron, Founder and Managing Partner of Upfront Ventures, which first invested in Apeel Sciences in 2014. "We've been continually impressed with the scientific innovation coming from James Rogers and the Apeel Sciences team, and we're thrilled to continue supporting them on their mission."
The U.S. retail food sector generates eight million tons of waste annually in distribution centers and stores, or $18 billion a year in lost value for retailers1. What's more, Americans throw away more than 400 pounds of food per person, costing a household of four an average of $1,800 annually2. Apeel is the first plant-derived solution for extending produce shelf life which dramatically reduces food waste at the supplier, retailer, and consumer levels.
HOW APEEL WORKS
Every plant on earth has a peel or skin that protects it. From oranges to apples to tomatoes and raspberries, the materials found in the skins and peels of plants are ubiquitous and consumed in the human diet in high quantities every day. Made of these same materials, Apeel adds a little extra peel to the surface of fresh produce that naturally reinforces the plant's own peel and slows the rate of water loss and oxidation, the primary causes of spoilage. Produce with Apeel stays fresh two to three times longer, which promotes more sustainable growing practices, better quality food, and less food waste. For suppliers and retailers, Apeel is the only plant-derived postharvest solution that creates an optimal microclimate inside every piece of produce, which leads to improved quality, extended shelf life, and transportability — without requiring refrigeration, controlled atmosphere, or preservatives.
For more information, see the Apeel FAQ.
ABOUT APEEL SCIENCES
Apeel Sciences is a company that's fighting the global food waste crisis by utilizing nature's tools to prevent waste in the first place — a sustainable approach to the world's growing food demands. The company's plant-derived technology helps USDA Organic Certified and conventional fresh food growers, suppliers, and retailers improve produce quality and extend shelf life, minimizing food waste from the farm to the retail shelf to the kitchen.
Apeel Sciences was founded in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-financed by the UK’s Department for International Development to help reduce postharvest food loss in developing countries that lack access to refrigeration infrastructure (i.e., a cold chain). Today, Apeel formulations have been proven effective at reducing the rate of spoilage for dozens of USDA Organic Certified and conventional produce categories. The company works with partners ranging from smallholder farmers and local organic growers to the world's largest food brands and retailers.
Founded by CEO James Rogers, PhD, Apeel Sciences partners include Viking Global Investors, Andreessen Horowitz, DBL Partners, Upfront Ventures, S2G Ventures, Powerplant Ventures, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development and The Rockefeller Foundation. The company is recognized as a Friend of Champions 12.3 and a 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50, and recently won a 2018 AgFunder Innovation Award for its plant-derived technology.
For more information, please visit http://www.apeel.com.
Head of Marketing
1reFED, Retail Food Waste Action Guide, 2018.
2NRDC, Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill, 2017.
SOURCE Apeel Sciences