Global avocado industry provider Calavo Growers Inc (Nasdaq-GM: CVGW) announced that its subsidiary, FreshRealm LLC, has raised $10 million in new funding to support its fresh food distribution platform.
FreshRealm, which began beta testing its hardware and software systems in December 2013, is preparing for a commercial launch later in 2014.
The financial backing will help expand FreshRealm’s technology platform, purchase vessels, and prepare to launch food merchants into the marketplace. Calavo, a worldwide leader in avocado marketing and an expanding leader in fresh food and other fresh produce items, retains about a 50% ownership stake of FreshRealm, down from 70%.
The investment comes from Impermanence LLC, a group that includes Peter Hajas and other current FreshRealm advisors. Hajas, who will become chairman of the FreshRealm board, carries a wealth of experience in technology, data usage, and quantitative hedge fund analysis.
“The world-changing possibilities of data-driven food solutions are immense,” said Hajas. “For years, technology has only been hovering around the communication and distribution parts of the food industry. FreshRealm rethinks the entire process in a way that benefits food makers, consumers, and our society at large. I am excited to be a part of the creation and growth of this new industry.”
Officially assuming the position of FreshRealm chief executive officer is Michael R Lippold. He was formerly Calavo’s director of strategic development and spearheaded the initial FreshRealm project. Lippold will continue to manage the FreshRealm offices in Ventura CA and oversee development of software, hardware, and new business.
FreshRealm is a vision for the future of food made possible by a temperature-controlled, reusable shipping vessel and a B2B2C cloud-based technology platform. The result is faster distribution, fewer preservatives, reduced food waste, and nationwide eradication of fresh food deserts.
Founded in 1924, Calavo serves food distributors, produce wholesalers, supermarket retailers, and restaurant chains worldwide. The company’s Calavo Foods business segment manufactures and distributes guacamole, guacamole hummus, and salsa under the Calavo brand name. Calavo’s wholly owned subsidiary, Renaissance Food Group LLC, creates, markets, and distributes a portfolio of healthy-lifestyle products for consumers through brands that include Garden Highway and Chef Essentials.