CHICAGO, March 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Hazel Technologies, Inc. ("Hazel") a USDA-supported agricultural technology company, is developing new solutions to combat the growing global food waste problem by increasing the shelf life of produce. Today, Hazel announced the closing of a $3.26 million Series A investment led by Chicago-based S2G Ventures. Upon completion of this investment, Aidan Mouat, Hazel's CEO and Co-Founder, commented "with this financing, we will immediately quadruple our production capacity to reduce the current wait-time for our products. We are passionate about reducing food waste and improving consumer produce quality and now we're in a position to deliver." Other participants in the financing included previous seed round lead investor Rhapsody Venture Partners, as well as Serra Ventures, Valley Oak Investments, and Climate Impact Capital.
Hazel provides shelf-life extension technologies and services to combat the global food waste problem and improve profitability for its customers. According to a New York Times article published in 2015, there are approximately 60 million metric tons of food wasted each year in the United States, with an estimated value of $162 billion. The food waste problem persists today with few solutions despite the issues rippling throughout the food supply chain. Over 30% of produce harvested is never consumed, meaning that the labor, water, money, and energy put into cultivating this produce is also wasted.
Hazel's products are packaging inserts that release an anti-fungal shelf-life extending vapor. With Hazel's drop-in solution, the shelf-life of produce can be extended by as much as three times by preventing fungus and decay. For customers, this reduces spoilage during shipment and allows distributors to access new geographic markets that would otherwise remain untapped. Using Hazel products does not require material changes to supply chains or distribution processes and has been well received across the industry. Hazel has received a total of $700,000 in grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) SBIR program to further develop and commercialize their technologies.
"We have completed over 50 successful commercial pilots with some of the largest produce growers in the world. These customers cumulatively ship over two billion pounds of produce per year to over 30 countries," commented Mouat. Matthew Walker, Principal at S2G Ventures observed, "Hazel's technology has the potential to make a real impact on a massive scale. Food waste creates an incredible strain on our resources and Hazel's drop-in solution is already being used to reduce this strain by optimizing freshness across the supply chain from harvest to the consumer. We are excited about the partnership with Hazel and look forward to working with the Hazel team to reduce food waste and enhance the efficiency of the produce supply chain."
In 2017 and 2018, the company announced partnerships with major domestic and international produce growers, including Dresick Farms International ("DFI"), the 10th largest grower by acreage in California, and Agritrade Farms International, one of the largest growers of specialty vegetables in Latin America. DFI's Ross Van Vlack, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, commented that "we [DFI] saw up to a 49% increase in marketable product after 30 days, a potential savings of as much as $10,000 per load. We haven't seen something that works this well in our many years in the melon industry."
Hazel was a contestant on the Western Growers Association's AgSharks pitch competition, where the company received two million in Series A funding form S2G Ventures. Hazel is a proud member of the Western Growers Association and the Produce Marketing Association.
About Hazel Technologies
Hazel Technologies, Inc is a Chicago-based agricultural technology company developing new products to extend the quality shelf life of produce in the global supply chain. Founded by five Northwestern University alumni in 2015, Hazel Technologies has partnered with some of the largest growers, packers, and shippers of fresh produce in North America. Product development is funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) SBIR Program and product performance has been validated by 3rd party academic research institutions such as Cornell University.
About S2G Ventures (Seed 2 Growth)
S2G Ventures (Seed to Growth) is a multi-stage venture fund investing in food and agriculture in the U.S. The fund's mission is to catalyze innovation to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food. S2G has identified sectors across the food system that are ripe for change, and is building a multi-stage portfolio including seed, venture and growth stage investments. Core areas of interest for S2G are agriculture, ingredients, infrastructure and logistics, IT and hardware, food safety and technology, retail and restaurants, and consumer brands. For more information about S2G, visit www.s2gventures.com.
SOURCE Hazel Technologies, Inc.