Agro-technology startup Full Harvest, an online B2B platform that connects farms with food and beverage companies to sell surplus, discounted and imperfectly shaped produce, announced on Wednesday that it has closed a $2 million seed round of financing on Wednesday.
The round was led by Wireframe Ventures, with participation from BBG Ventures, Early Impact Ventures, Impact Engine, and Radicle. Astia, a network of angel investors that backs women-led ventures, and Joanna Wilson, founder of Gotham Girl, also participated as angel investors.
The San Francisco-based Full Harvest, founded by Christine Moseley, a former head of business development at Organic Avenue, has raised $2.35 million thus far, having brought in $350,000 from The Impact Engine, Astia and Wilson last May.
“We seek out visionaries who deploy transformative technology to create new markets or reinvigorate our most essential industries, and the produce industry is certainly ripe for change,” said Paul Straub, managing partner and co-founder of Wireframe Ventures, in a press release. “With an exceptional leadership team and a unique platform approach, Full Harvest is creating a lucrative marketplace for sustainable, affordable produce that makes the most of every harvest.”
Moseley told BevNET in an e-mail that the funds will be used to scale the functionality of Full Harvest’s online marketplace and further build out the company’s sales and technology staff. Since launching in January, the company has partnered to supply surplus and imperfect fruits and vegetables to beverage companies, including cold-pressed juice makers Juice Served Here, Urban Remedy and Project Juice, which recently launched a spring seasonal SKU called “Ugly & Awesome” made from 99 percent imperfect produce.
“If you are a food and beverage company that does not need to care what produce looks like for your products and you buy in pallet quantities, we want to work with you to supply more affordable, more sustainable produce,” she said, noting that the company has sold over one million pounds of produce in its marketplace that would have otherwise gone to waste.
With easy access to resources — produce from farms in North and Central California, investment from venture capital firms in Silicon Valley — the San Francisco Bay Area is becoming a capital of the food waste reduction movement. Along with Full Harvest, the region is also home to Imperfect Produce, which offers a subscription-based model where “ugly” fruits and vegetables are delivered direct to consumers.
Moseley explained that the company works with farms throughout California, Washington and Mexico that have been vetted for quality and food safety procedures, and that it will be expanding into Central and South America and the East Coast soon.
“Our approach can help buyers save 15-20 percent on average on their total produce inputs and farms increase their overall revenue by up to 10 percent,” she said. “We plan to be the market leader at the farm level to make a large dent in the global food waste problem and create a significant part of that value creation.