‘We use food to preserve food…’ Apeel raises $250m in series E to tackle food waste on a global scale with invisible edible skin

The round – supported by Mirae Asset Global Investments, GIC, Viking Global Investors, Disruptive, Andreessen Horowitz, Tenere Capital, Sweetwater Private Equity, Tao Capital Partners, K3 Ventures, David Barber of Almanac Insights, Michael Ovitz of Creative Artists Agency, Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube, and Katy Perry – will help Apeel​ expand its team and build its international footprint.

Apeel – which already works in eight countries operating 30 supply networks distributing Apeel-protected produce to 40 retail partners and tens of thousands of stores – plans to activate at least 10 additional supply networks by the end of the year​​said founder and CEO Dr James Rogers, who founded the business in 2012 with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Hyperspectral imaging technology 

It will also use the latest cash injection to integrate hyperspectral imaging technology developed by ImpactVision (a startup acquired by Apeel in May) to assess ripeness, nutritional content, and other indicators of quality and shelf life at future deployments to help partners further food waste.

While experienced growers might have pretty good insight into how their produce ripens/matures over time in the aggregate, there can be meaningful differences between, say two avocados harvested from the same farm – or even from the same tree – that cannot be determined though a visual inspection (by humans), Rogers told FoodNavigator-USA.

Avocado trees are not factories ​[producing uniform products], so even whether a fruit grew on the outside of the tree or on the inside of the tree makes a difference, what spot of the field it came from and so on.”

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