GIC leads $250m funding in US-based food-waste play Apeel Sciences

A GIC signage is pictured during their results announcement in Singapore July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Anshuman Daga

Singapore state-owned investment company GIC led a $250 million financing round for the US-based Apeel Sciences, the developer of technology to extend the shelf-life of produce said in an announcement Tuesday.

The investment brings Apeel’s valuation to more than $1 billion, the statement said.

Other investors in the most recent round included Viking Global Investors, Upfront Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Rock Creek Group, while celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry also joined as minority, non-participatory investors, the statement said.

Previous investors in the company include Andreessen Horowitz, S2G Ventures, Powerplant Ventures, DBL Partners, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Department for International Development and The Rockefeller Foundation.

Apeel Sciences said its plant-derived solution adds an extra “peel” to the outside of fruit and vegetables, extending the shelf life without refrigeration by slowing water loss and oxidation.

Lost or wasted food generates around 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, according to the World Wildlife Federation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has estimated food wastage costs around $1 trillion every year, with an additional $700 billion of environmental costs and $900 billion of social costs.

“I hate to see food wasted, when there are so many people in the world who are going without,” Winfrey said in the statement. “Apeel can extend the life of fresh produce, which is critical to our food supply and our planet too.”

In addition to seeking business from the US and European produce suppliers and retailers, Apeel will use the funding for its initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America, which face greater food security and waste issues, the statement said.

Apeel said that the US retailers using its product see an average 50 per cent decline in shrinkage and a 5 per cent to 10 per cent increase in dollar sales.

The company was founded in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce post-harvest food loss.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.