Investment Round Entirely from Previous Investors in the Company; Funds to be Used Primarily to Manufacture Reusable RipeLocker Containers for Commercial Availability
Seattle, WA – RipeLocker, a leader in extending the post-harvest life of perishables, announced it has raised $5 million in series B capital from angel investors. The investment round is all from previous investors in the company, many of whom are renowned in the agriculture industry, including academics, agriculture executives, and growers/packers/shippers. The new funds will be used to continue to enhance the company’s RipeLocker containers, utilize the precise operating data the company has accumulated after years of trials, and manufacture the containers for commercial availability for select clients this summer.
RipeLocker’s patented, dynamic, low-atmosphere RipeLocker containers are used for storing and shipping fresh produce and flowers, and extend the post-harvest life by weeks, often months. They are pallet-size, made from recycled materials and are reusable. The company has already completed efficacy trials with several high-value commodities such as berries, pomegranates, cherries, papayas, fresh hops and flowers.
“Over the past few years, we have been actively working with some of the largest growers in the world to test our RipeLocker containers. We are the only company with the 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 of significant new capital enables us to leverage this data, begin manufacturing the commercial product and scale the company to meet the increasing demand from global and national produce and flower growers.”
RipeLocker also announced today that the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has started trials using the RipeLocker container as a chemical-free quarantine replacement.
The Technology Behind RipeLocker Containers
RipeLocker containers offer a unique, 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 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 RipeLocker container is the first solution that can be delivered cost effectively in mass volume. RipeLocker has patents on both the container design and method of operation.
Constraints to Reducing Container Cube for Backhauls
Asked about the opportunity to collapse or nest the containers for backhaul,the company stated that the unique requirements of the application have posed a hurdle. Since there is basically zero atmosphere inside the RipeLocker container, there is 18,000 pounds of outside force pressing against the sides. This situation makes it impossible to build a collapsible RipeLocker, explained George Lobisser, RipeLocker CEO and co-founder. “The problem with nesting is we lose too much valuable inside storage space,” he said.
The company is looking at opportunities to minimize empty container returns. “There are a number of situations we are working with where the RipeLocker arrives with a perishable inside, the perishables are removed, and a different perishable is placed inside,” he said. “We are currently working on a perishable going from the USA to Central America with a different perishable being loaded in Central America headed back to the USA.
Selected Recently Announced Trials of the RipeLocker Container
RipeLocker made the following public announcements in the last six months about successful trials of its RipeLocker containers:
- Flowers. RipeLocker containers held freshly harvested roses in beautiful condition for four weeks. The trials were with Queen’s Flowers, the premier breeder, grower, importer and bouquet manufacturer in the floral industry.
- Blueberries. RipeLocker containers held freshly harvested organic blueberries in pristine condition for eight weeks. The company used six of its pallet-size RipeLocker containers to store fresh organic blueberries from Blueberry Hill in the trial.
- Fresh Hops. RipeLocker containers extended the life of fresh hops by six weeks. Trials were conducted in collaboration 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, a well-known hop dealer, helped facilitate the collaboration.
All harvesting companies in the above trials plan to use RipeLocker containers when they become commercially available this summer. RipeLocker is also actively taking additional orders for use of its RipeLocker containers with produce and flower categories on which it has conducted significant efficacy trials.
RipeLocker is a leader in extending the post-harvest life of perishables. The company’s patented, dynamic, low-atmosphere containers are used for storing and shipping fresh produce and flowers, and extend the post-harvest life by weeks, often months. When RipeLocker containers are used, consumers benefit from better taste and shelf-life, and retailers experience less waste at their stores. RipeLocker, founded in 2016 and based in Seattle, WA, US, is a science-based and data-driven company. It has been testing the efficacy of its RipeLocker containers for several years with many of the largest growers in the world. For more information, go to www.ripelocker.com
Websites of companies mentioned in this news release:
Queen’s Flowers: https://www.queensflowers.com
Blueberry Hill: https://www.bhberries.com/
CLS Farms: https://clsfarms.com
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company: https://hookerbeer.com
Yakima Quality Hops: https://www.yakhops.com