Apeel Sciences raises $33 million to keep your food from going bad

Shriveled strawberries? Brown bananas?

Santa Barbara startup Apeel Sciences says it has the answer. The company, which on Tuesday announced it raised $33 million in funding led by prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, is producing a chemical coating that can be applied to fruits and vegetables to keep them from spoiling.

The coating is made from natural plant extracts taken from recycled agricultural byproducts, according to the company, and you can’t see, taste or smell it. The startup says it’s all-natural, and safe for human consumption. The science behind the product is based on the fact that spoilage is caused by water loss and oxidation — the Apeel coating keeps moisture in and protects the produce from air and microbial activity.

One-third to one-half of produce harvested in the U.S. ends up in a landfill, according to Apeel Sciences CEO James Rogers. Apeel seeks to change that by doubling the lifespan of fruits and vegetables.

Apeel announced its series B round of funding Tuesday, and said that Vijay Pande, the leader of the Andreessen Horowitz’s Bio Fund, and Ira Ehrenpreis, Managing Partner at DBL Partners, are joining the company’s board of directors.

“I could not possibly be more proud of the incredible scientific advances made by our team, or more optimistic about what the future holds for our company,” Rogers wrote in a blog post. “I feel grateful every day to have the opportunity to work with such talented people to solve such a meaningful problem in the world.”

Photo: Apeel Sciences CEO James Rogers in Africa. (Courtesy of Apeel Sciences)

Video: Strawberries with and without an Apeel coating. (Courtesy of Apeel Sciencs)

 

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