Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey Back Apeel
|Katy Perry is an investor in Apeel.
Photo credit: Thomas Helbig on Flickr, under Creative Commons license
Apeel Sciences, a Santa Barbara-based company that’s developing technology to extend the freshness of produce and, in turn, reduce food waste, has announced it’s raised $250 million in new financing led by GIC, notably the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, with participation from other investors including Upfront Ventures, Viking Global Investors, and celebrity backers Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry. The new financing values Apeel, an eight-year-old company, at more than $1 billion. Apeel Sciences was notably kickstarted in 2012 by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Apeel has developed a plant-derived chemical solution that is applied to the surface of fruits and vegetables to help preserve them. Punningly, Apeel terms the plant-derived solution as adding an extra “peel” to the surface of fruits and vegetables. The company claims its solution is capable of doubling or even tripling the shelf life of many fresh produce types without the need for refrigeration. Apeel’s main aim is to reduce food waste, particularly in Sub-Saharan African and Central and South American regions where there’s a greater risk of food security issues and food waste. The company’s product is primarily marketed to food retailers.
With the newly announced financing, Apeel has now raised a total of $360 million in funding since its inception. Other notable investors in Apeel include Andreessen Horowitz, The Rockefeller Foundation, S2G Ventures, and Tap Capital Partners.
Apeel, which is recognized as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, was founded eight years ago by James Rogers, a materials scientist with a Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before obtaining a Ph.D. degree, Rogers completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science and Engineering at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University.