APEEL Sciences, a US firm developing technology to tackle food waste, has raised US$250 million in a funding round led by Singapore's GIC, taking its valuation to over US$1 billion.
The funding round was also joined by US-based investors Viking Global Investors, Upfront Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Rock Creek Group. Crunchbase reported that the round brings Apeel's total funds raised to date to US$360.1 million.
Celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry also entered the round as "minority, non-participatory investors to support the company's mission in making sustainable food systems a reality for all", Apeel said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We are proud to team up with GIC to help create a better future with less waste. Food waste is an invisible tax imposed on everyone who participates in the food system," Apeel's chief executive James Rogers said in the statement.
Founded in 2012, Apeel specialises in extending the shelf life of produce by creating a barrier out of edible plant materials - a little extra "peel" - that would slow down the rate of spoilage. The company kicked off with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. From strawberries to peppers, every fruit and vegetable has a protective peel or skin that nature uses to keep it fresh.
This year, Apeel is targeting to save 20 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at retail stores, while also extending the shelf-life of produce in the home. The firm claims that US retailers that use its technology have experienced a 50 per cent reduction in shrink, and a 5 per cent to 10 per cent growth in dollar sales.