Food waste startup backed by Oprah Winfrey snags $250 million

May 26, 2020 by  
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Food waste startup backed by Oprah Winfrey snags $250 million Heather Clancy Tue, 05/26/2020 – 06:01 While overall startup funding is down this quarter because of the economic disruption brought on by COVID-19, entrepreneurs focused on solving climate-related problems have been bucking the trend . This morning brings one of the biggest deals yet this year: an infusion of $250 million in new financing for food waste crusader Apeel Sciences . What’s more, the funding pushes the Santa Barbara, California-based company’s valuation to more than $1 billion — a status dubbed in VC circles as “unicorn.” Cumulatively speaking, Apeel has raised $360 million, including the new funding. The lead backer on the latest round is Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, which explicitly embeds sustainability considerations into its investments. Other “participating” investors are Viking Global Investors, Upfront Investors, Tao Capital Partners and Rock Creek Group. There are also two highly recognizable minority “non-participating” investors: pop star Katy Perry and media queen Oprah Winfrey, who previously invested in Apeel in 2019.  “I hate to see food wasted, when there are so many people in the world who are going without,” Winfrey said in the funding press release. “Apeel can extend the life of fresh produce, which is critical to our food supply and to our planet too.” Food waste is responsible for generating close to 6 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions: for perspective, that’s three times the amount generated by the aviation industry. The issue has been exacerbated by the pandemic: Farmers have been forced to bury vegetables and pour milk down drains, while livestock operations have been forced to euthanize animals with slaughtering capacity idled during the quarantine. Apeel, which got its start in 2012 with a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has attracted funding from many high-profile funds, such as Andreessen Horowitz, as well as several firms that have championed a focus on climate tech including S2G Ventures, DBL Partners and Powerplant Ventures. The startup’s product is literally a peel — made from fruit and vegetable matter — that can be used to coat everything from limes to avocados to mandarin oranges to apples. It’s applied in packaging facilities or warehouses using a water-based formula. That layer extends the shelf life of the produce so that it is less likely to spoil during its journey to the retailer and so that it lasts longer on display. The company says each item can last two to three times longer, because Apeel’s coating slows water loss and oxidation. What’s more, the coating is edible and because it’s made from plant matter, it can be used on organic products. One reason Apeel’s approach is so, well, appealing is that it’s intended to give nature a boost: fruits and vegetables already seal themselves with a substance called cutin; Apeel’s product helps make that seal last longer .   I think it gives confidence to put more product on the shelf. What we have seen is like a 50 percent [reduction] of waste, and then also a double-digit growth of sales. “I think it gives confidence to put more product on the shelf. What we have seen is like a 50 percent [reduction] of waste, and then also a double-digit growth of sales,” Adrielle Dankier, chief commercial officer for Nature’s Pride, a Dutch importer of fruits and vegetables that is applying Apeel to avocados, said in a customer video. Since 2018, the company has saved more than 3 million avocados by using the product, according to the testimonial. Other organizations featured in the customer video (below) are Cata Fresh, a Spanish exporter of everything from melons to onions, and Sage Fruit, which specializes in pears, cherries and apples. The company is working with suppliers, retails and growers — “ranging from smallholder farmers and local organic growers to the world’s largest food brands and retailers.”  Some of its partners include Kroger (the largest U.S. food retailer), Edeka (Germany’s biggest supermarket company) and Sailing Group (the largest retail group in Denmark). Apeel’s coating is being used in dozens of produce categories. This year, it could save up to 20 million pieces of fruit from going to waste in stores — it also can help extend the shelf life at home. The new funding will enable Apeel to continue is international expansion, especially in places such as sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and South America — places where there are higher rates of both food waste and food insecurity. The company operates primarily in the United States and Europe today. In a statement emailed to GreenBiz, a company spokesperson said interest in Apeel has grown since the pandemic. “Our capital raise comes at a critical time — making it possible to accelerate our efforts to improve resilience across the supply chain while it works to rebuild, and provide a better path forward now and into the future,” the Apeel spokesperson said in emailed answers to several questions submitted about the funding. “Food service organizations are also an integral part of the fresh food supply chain and another channel that has been greatly impacted as a result of the pandemic. Our efforts to improve efficiencies through the supply chain will absolutely include this sector, as well as work to help food service distributors and operators reduce waste.” Pull Quote I think it gives confidence to put more product on the shelf. What we have seen is like a 50 percent [reduction] of waste, and then also a double-digit growth of sales. Topics Food & Agriculture Climate Tech Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Apeel coats fruits and vegetables with an edible layer that can is designed to extend shelf life by two to three times. Courtesy of Apeel Sciences Close Authorship

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Food waste startup backed by Oprah Winfrey snags $250 million

There’s not enough money to save the West from an increase in blazing wildfires

August 28, 2015 by  
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This just might be the most cataclysmic forest fire season in history. So far this year, the Forest Service has spent $800 million trying to keep the blazes from raging too far out of control. This cost amounts to more than 50 percent of their budget, draining coffers so much that they can’t perform other critical services, like forest management. Adding insurance costs, damage to buildings and infrastructure, and further damage caused by flash floods and mudslides, this year’s fire bill is estimated to ring in at around $2.5 billion. Read the rest of There’s not enough money to save the West from an increase in blazing wildfires

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There’s not enough money to save the West from an increase in blazing wildfires

This floating survival shelter rises above floods

August 28, 2015 by  
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The alarming pace of rising sea levels has inspired designers Zhou Ying and Niu Yuntao to create a floating emergency shelter that could save lives during floods and tsunamis . Instead of conventional exposed life rafts, survivors can use the Duckweed Survival House as an enclosed floating shelter that protects people from large waves while trying to get to safety. Read the rest of This floating survival shelter rises above floods

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President Obama Proposes $2 Billion in Funding to Replace Fossil Fuels

March 15, 2013 by  
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Now that the sequester is in full swing, President Obama is proposing new sources of funding to finance his clean energy ambitions. The White House is urging Congress to divert $2 billion from oil and gas leases over the next ten years to pay for research into ‘breakthrough technologies,’ like advanced batteries for electric cars. Following the statements Obama made in last month’s State of the Union address, the goal is to begin to wean the county off of fossil fuels and stimulate the economy by investing in cutting-edge technology. Read the rest of President Obama Proposes $2 Billion in Funding to Replace Fossil Fuels Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , advanced vehicles , argonne national laboratory , chicago , Climate Change , congress , energy security trust , eric d isaacs , fossil fuels , funding , leases , legislation , oil and gas revenue , president obama , sequester , state of the union address , stimulus package

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President Obama Proposes $2 Billion in Funding to Replace Fossil Fuels

A call for $700 billion in sustainable infrastructure investments

January 23, 2013 by  
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Targeted public investments in infrastructure projects could bridge the funding gap in sustainable investments.

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A call for $700 billion in sustainable infrastructure investments

eRecyclingCorps Takes a Bite out of Phone E-Waste with New Funding

December 20, 2011 by  
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The three-year-old company that offers instant incentives for cell phone buyers to trade in their old devices has just landed a $35 million investment from Kleiner Perkins, and is working to expand its partnerships with Sprint and Verizon.

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eRecyclingCorps Takes a Bite out of Phone E-Waste with New Funding

87% of Americans Want BP’s Fines Paid to Gulf States Not US Treasury As Planned

April 19, 2011 by  
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photo: Deepwater Horizon Response / Creative Commons With the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill tomorrow, there’s no shortage of commentary and analysis going on.

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87% of Americans Want BP’s Fines Paid to Gulf States Not US Treasury As Planned

World’s Biggest Wind Farm Gets US Funding, Coming to Oregon

December 17, 2010 by  
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Image: Zunal It may only be a matter of time now before Oregon is home to the world’s largest wind farm — a massive, 845 MW project just received a partial guarantee for a billion-plus dollar loan from the US Dept. of Energy. Furthermore, the site for the project, in Eastern Oregon, has been finalized

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World’s Biggest Wind Farm Gets US Funding, Coming to Oregon

New Cycle Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Invest $12.2 Million in PACE Solar Renewable Funding

November 4, 2009 by  
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Renewable Funding’s PACE solar funding, begun by Cisco DeVries with Berkeley First was a breakthrough in making solar affordable. Now VC high-flyers Draper Fisher Jurvetson, New Cycle Capital, and RWE Ventures have just invested $12.2 million in a first round of financing to make this sober and sensible solar funding available to more homeowners. Renewable Funding is a business in the Common Good

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New Cycle Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Invest $12.2 Million in PACE Solar Renewable Funding

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