RipeLocker announced yesterday it has raised $5 million in series B capital from angel investors. The investment round is from previous company investors, many of whom are renowned in the agriculture industry, including academics, agriculture executives and growers/packers/shippers. The new funds will continue to enhance the company’s RipeLocker containers, use the operating data the company has accumulated and manufacture the containers for commercial availability.
RipeLocker’s patented, dynamic, low-atmosphere containers are used for storing and shipping fresh produce and flowers and extend post-harvest life by weeks, often months. They are pallet-size, made from recycled materials and reusable. The company has already completed efficacy trials with several high-value commodities such as berries, pomegranates, cherries, papayas, fresh hops and flowers.
“We have been working with some of the largest growers to test our containers. We have data as to how perishables respond under low-pressure vacuum over long periods of time to delay senescence (aging) and decay,” said George Lobisser, founder and CEO of RipeLocker. “This infusion enables us to leverage this data, begin manufacturing the commercial product and scale the company to meet the increasing demand.”
Left to right: RipeLocker lead systems engineer Eric Levi, head of software Andy Harrah and CEO and co-founder George Lobisser with a RipeLocker container.
RipeLocker also announced yesterday the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has started trials using the container as a chemical-free quarantine replacement.
The containers offer a patented system to precisely manage the atmosphere (oxygen, pressure, CO2 and humidity) within the containers to extend the life of perishables. Based on the specific needs of each type of fresh produce or flower, RipeLocker tailors these operating parameters to optimize the longevity and freshness. The system also responds to changes in the storage or shipping environment, making precise adjustments to prevent damage and reduce decay.
The company designed its containers so that they can easily be deployed and used in the existing cold chain. They are pallet-size, stackable and 40 of them fit into an ocean or truck reefer (refrigerated container). Produced via injection molds, the container can be delivered cost effectively in mass volume.
RipeLocker made the following public announcements in the last six months about successful trials of its containers:
- Blueberries: RipeLocker containers held freshly harvested organic blueberries in pristine condition for eight weeks using six of its pallet-size containers to store fresh organic blueberries from Blueberry Hill.
- Fresh Hops: RipeLocker containers extended the life of fresh hops by six weeks. Trials were conducted with CLS Farms, which provided 240 pounds of its fresh Comet and El Dorado® hops, and Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, which ultimately brewed “Cultivate” beer with the fresh hops. Yakima Quality Hops helped facilitate the collaboration.