Friday Fundings: Apeel, Pie, and SmartRent
Apeel Tackles Food Waste with Fresh Funding
Apeel Sciences, a company that coats produce with a layer of plant-derived protection to keep it from rotting, just raised $250 million in new funding. GIC, Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, led the round and valued the company at $1 billion. Apeel is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions, and on the list of Fast Company’s world changing ideas. It also previously raised money from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry.
Each year, $2.6 trillion dollars worth of food is wasted globally. That is four times enough food to feed the 815 million hungry people worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 30-40% of the food supply goes to waste. Apeel is trying to change that, and is slated to save 20 million pieces of fruit from being wasted this year. Customers who shop at Kroger (KR) or large grocery chains in Germany and Denmark are likely already getting avocados with Apeel coating. Plans are in place to use the coating on other fruits and vegetables soon.
Pie Insurance Gets a Slice of Funding to Help Small Businesses
Pie Insurance, a startup that provides workers’ compensation insurance to small businesses, just raised $127 million. Pie sells insurance to contractors, landscapers, janitors, restaurants, and other businesses through its website and independent insurance agents.
John Swigart, CEO and Co-Founder of the company explained , “Pie was the first company to offer workers’ compensation insurance that could be purchased online, and the company continues to innovate as the fastest and most data-driven insurer in the market.”
Gallatin Point Capital led the funding round, which was the second tranche of a Series B. This brings Pie’s total funding since its creation in 2017 to $188 million. Pie currently provides services in 34 states and plans to expand. Pie also hopes to create a new affiliated company called Pie Carrier Holdings, which will found and purchase licensed insurance companies.
SmartRent Creates Contactless Solutions for Multifamily Housing
The coronavirus pandemic has made people wary of touching doorknobs, thermostats, and other surfaces. SmartRent, a company that makes hardware and software to control smart devices in apartment buildings, is stepping in to help. The company just announced it raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Spark Capital with additional money from Bain Capital Ventures and the Amazon Alexa Fund.
Though the apartment industry was already making moves to install smart control systems, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. As SmartRent’s CEO, Lucas Haldeman noted , “The multifamily industry knew, ‘yes we need to do this’ but it was kind of slow to move. Now it’s ‘we have to do this.’”
Currently SmartRent employs roughly 230 people and has operations in 38 states. The latest round of funding will help SmartRent expand to all 50 states by the end of 2020 and launch pilot programs in Canada and Europe.
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