As a native New Yorker who recently transplanted to California, I have spent my life around people who are into healthy eating. In the last few years, though, it has been hard not to notice a move away, for a lot of people I know, from produce and meat that is not labeled as organic. The thinking seems to have become: if I can’t pronounce what’s in it, I don’t want to eat it. And, honestly, it’s a philosophy that is hard to argue with.
Here’s the problem though: how do you know that what you are eating is actually organic? Or that it is fresh?
Well, as they say, there’s an app for that.
Redwood City, California-based YottaMark, whose HarvestMark app allows people to trace their food from its origin all the way to the supermarket, has raised a $24 million Series D round, the company announced on Wednesday.
With this round, YottaMark, which has been around since 2005, nearly doubled its total fundraising total to $53 million.
The round was led by Westbury Partners, with participation from new investor Fairhaven Capital, as well as from prior investors ATA Ventures, Thomvest Ventures and Granite Ventures.
YottaMark also announced two additions to its board: James W. Schubauer II, president and COO of Westbury Partners and Paul Ciriello, founder and managing director of Fairhaven Capital.
The company will use the money to hire new workers at HarvestMark, as well as to advance development on the company’s analytics platform, Aimee Young, Marketing Director at HarvestMark, said in an interview with VatorNews.
How does HarvestMark work?
HarvestMark allows shoppers to scan a code with the app, which is available on iOS and Android, or they can enter it into the HarvestMark website. The code will then give the customer the story behind what they are buying: where it was grown, who grew it and when it was grown.
What this does, Young says, is to allow both retailers and shopper to measure the freshness of their food, to improve overall quality for purchasers and to reduce waste on both sides.
The company is a software-as-a-service company, which means that it makes money from the over 300 companies producers, and retailers, who put HarvestMark codes on their products. These companies include major producers, such as The Kroger Co., Driscoll's Strawberry Associates, Sun World and Calavo.
Young says that given the overall trend toward health and wellness, the app has seen its customer base triple in the past two and a half years. The app currently has just fewer than 500,000 users.
“People care about their health more than ever before,” she says.
What sets HarvestMark apart, says Young, is that they are the only company that gives information about products to both retailers and consumers, whereas with other similar companies, “it stops at the loading dock.”
In fact, customers are encouraged to leave feedback, which will be seen by those supplying the food. It gives them a direct line to the farmers who grow the food in the first place.
“We provide peace of mind and incite transparency for shoppers.”
Right now HarvestMark has codes on produce, and protein suppliers, but is planning on expanding to seafood and dairy, as well as other parts of the market.