(March 27, 12:45 p.m.) It’s full speed ahead for the California food safety and technology company, Purfresh Inc., Livermore, Calif., formerly known as Novazone.
A $5 million investment by Perella Weinberg Partners LP, a New York, N.Y. private equity firm, completed a $25 million Series C funding round, said Purfresh chief executive officer David Cope.
Cope said the funding will be used to grow Purfresh in three key areas: to geographically expand the company’s reach, to develop products for underserved links in the food chain and to continue to bring new products to market.
The fresh food industry is witnessing the public’s focusing on food safety and quality as never before, Cope said. Consumers and retailers are concerned about the use of fungicides, chlorine compounds and other chemicals on their food, he said, and are making demands.
“Of course, they want food safety,” Cope said. “But they’re also saying they want it through the use of fewer traditional chemicals, and by the way, they’d like you to eliminate or reduce the use, residue and disposal of those chemicals.”
To complement the Purfresh ozone-based system for large cold-storage operations, the company recently unveiled an ozone transport device that snaps into refrigerated shipping containers, Cope said. It may be used with trucks and with seaborne containers, he said.
Another new Purfresh product, released last year, is Eclipse, a pre-harvest film that is sprayed directly on produce.
“The micro-crystalline film acts as a sunshield film, reducing sunburn damage and product losses for many commodities while increasing quality and reducing a crop’s irrigation water needs,” Cope said.
The infusion of funds also enables Purfresh to continue to attract top industry veterans, Cope said. Two of those veterans were just added to the Purfresh staff, he said.
Allen Smith, formerly an executive with Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Mo. and The BASF Group, Ludwigshafen,Germany, is the company’s new manager of preharvest products, Cope said. The new manager for the eastern region is Tyler Carson, who comes to Purfresh from the crop management software industry.
“A fundamental part of the Purfresh culture is to be very scientific in our orientation,” Cope said. “We make no claims unless we can back them with real science. We deliver no products until they’re scientifically proven.”
Among the company’s latest products is Intellipur, a satellite communications system with Web-based application. Using the system enables exporters or importers to track shipments all over the world in real time and to obtain a comprehensive trip report at destination.
Purfresh has more than 300 customers in 22 countries, he said.