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Hazel Technologies, the USDA-funded ag-tech startup developing food waste solutions, has closed US$70 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing round. The funding will fuel the firm’s plan to expand its operations globally, bringing its shelf-life-extending products to new markets in Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.
Hazel Technologies has announced the completion of a US$70 million Series C round, co-led by Los Angeles-based Pontifax AgTech and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek. The oversubscribed round also saw participation from agri-food tech investor S2G Ventures, Vancouver-based Pangaea Ventures, hard science investor Rhapsody Venture Partners and Tokyo-headquartered Asahi Kasai Ventures.
San Francisco’s Jordan Park Group and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust of the nonprofit Grantham Foundation also participated in the round, which brings Hazel Technologies’ total funding to date to over US$87 million.
The Chicago-based startup says that the fresh capital will fuel its global expansion into major agricultural markets, including in Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.
We believe this financing will allow us to commercialise our successful solutions holistically from producers to consumers on a global scale.Aidan Mouat, CEO, Hazel Technologies
Hazel Technologies’ flagship product is a sachet that enables the controlled release of shelf-life enhancing vapours in bulk produce boxes, which slows down decay of produce at the time of harvest for commercial growers. Through its easily-consolidated supply chain solution, the firm says it is poised to save as much as 1 billion pounds of wasted produce by the end of 2021.
Read: Meet these startups capitalising on wasted fruit and vegetables
“We have focused on developing technologies that easily integrate with the existing supply chain to reduce waste,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO of Hazel Technologies. “We believe this financing will allow us to commercialise our successful solutions holistically from producers to consumers on a global scale.”
Since its founding in 2015, the startup’s product has been used with around 6.3 billion pounds of fresh produce from some of the biggest agribusinesses, including the world’s largest avocado distributor Mission Avocado, kiwifruit giant Zespri, and Canadian produce distributor Oppy.
Hazel Technologies says that more than tackling food waste, its patent-pending solutions designed for existing distribution chains help businesses save on costs associated with food loss. It’s one of the reasons why investors have jumped to back the startup.
“Hazel’s products stand out. They require no additional infrastructure, expensive machinery or training of staff. Use of the inserts is simple and low cost,” said Carsten Boers, managing partner at Rhapsody Venture Partners. “Together with the superb efficacy in keeping produce fresh, this makes Hazel a winner with growers, packers, and retailers all over the world.”
Read: 931 million tonnes of food sold is being wasted, new U.N. Food Waste Index reveals
“Truly, this is a world-changing idea because food waste is not just a human tragedy but an environmental tragedy, adding gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year,” added Jeremy Grantham, trustee of the Grantham Environmental Trust. “In the next century, as food demand continues to grow, agricultural resources become more stressed, and climate change accelerates, solving food waste will become critical.”
Hazel’s products stand out. They require no additional infrastructure, expensive machinery or training of staff. Use of the inserts is simple and low cost.Carsten Boers, Managing Partner, Rhapsody Venture Partners
Globally, food waste accounts for as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, representing a huge environmental disaster as well as a human health crisis, with hunger affecting more than 690 million people and 3 billion lacking access to a nutritious diet.
Hazel Technologies’ ambitions to bring its solutions to Southeast Asia will be particularly crucial to fight the issue, given the Asia region drives as much as 50% of the total wasted food globally.
Some of the other food waste solutions that startups have come up with include “ugly” produce pioneers Imperfect Foods, and Winnow, the tech firm behind the smart device that helps commercial kitchens slash food waste.
All images courtesy of Hazel Technologies.