Roughly 20 billion pounds of produce are thrown away at farms each year in the United States alone.
I’ll let that sink in for a second.
When we first heard this statistic at Spark, we couldn’t understand how this level of economic inefficiency could exist in 2018. But as we dug in and spoke with growers, we came to understand some of the deep structural challenges of the produce supply chain, an industry (1) optimized for stocking grocery stores and restaurants with perfect-looking produce, and (2) managed primarily through offline middle-men, phone calls, and faxes, but not a lot of good software. For most growers, throwing away ugly and surplus produce is simply less risky than spending resources to harvest it, store it, and sell it at the last minute to an uncertain buyer.
San Francisco-based Full Harvest is changing this market dynamic. Full Harvest has built an online marketplace to connect growers with produce buyers, focusing initially on fresh food & beverage companies. They work closely with growers to source their ugly and surplus produce — food that is perfectly delicious and nutritious, but might look a little bit funny or not be quite right for the grocery store shelves — and route it to food & beverage companies that desperately need fresh fruits and vegetables at the right price.
Full Harvest is creating an online marketplace where one didn’t exist before. By aggregating agricultural supply at scale, they can create an unbeatable offering for food buyers while generating meaningful incremental revenue for growers. Their motto: waste less, profit more.
We’ve gotten to know Full Harvest’s founder/CEO Christine Moseley and the rest of her team over the past several months while learning about this market, and we’ve been blown away by the feedback from their customers. Through this process, we learned how Full Harvest is moving the needle for their businesses, and we heard over and over again how much they love Full Harvest’s beautiful software, which is intuitive to use and saves them time.
Today, we’re excited to announce that Spark is leading Full Harvest’s $8.5M Series A round. I’ll be joining their board along with our co-investor Dan Phillips from Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.
We think this is a big opportunity, and we’re thrilled to partner with Christine and the rest of the Full Harvest team to help them on this ambitious journey. Scaling software to every corner of this industry will require a diverse set of skills, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in joining the team.