MIT’s Startup Accelerator The Engine Leads $4 Million In Cambridge Crops To Fight Food Waste

By Amit Chowdhry ● August 14, 2019
  • Cambridge Crops announced it raised $4 million — led by MIT’s startup accelerator called The Engine — to fight food wastage

Cambridge Crops recently announced that it raised $4 million in seed funding led by The Engine, which is a startup accelerator launched by MIT in 2016 to invest in early-stage Tough Tech companies. This round of funding also includes participation from Refactor Capital, Closed Loop Ventures, Bluestein & Associates, SOSV, and Supply Chain Ventures.

More than one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted. So Cambridge Crops is pioneering silk-powered technology that is applied to food to slow the exchange of gases that cause decay. And it is based on a natural protein that is extracted from silk through a water-based process, once the solution is applied to the surface of a food item, it forms an imperceivable protective layer that prevents oxidation, improves water prevention, and slows microbial growth. The earliest iterations of the breakthrough technology was born out of Professor Fiorenzo Omenetto’s silk lab at Tufts University and co-invented with MIT Professor Benedetto Marelli.

The protective layer is edible, tasteless, and does not alter the food yet it still delivers drastically longer shelf life. And the solution can be easily implemented at a wash or coating station in the supply chain — which has proven efficacy across a broad range of food products from whole produce and cut produce to meat and fish and everything in between. The technology enables food producers, food processors, and retailers to extend shelf lives, reach new markets, and reduce waste — and to do it all in a cost-effective manner.

“Our team is focused on improving how we interact with our food supply,” said Cambridge Crops CEO Adam Behrens. “The technology we’ve developed has far-reaching impact, from minimizing our reliance on single-use plastics to expanding global access to safe and nutritious foods.”

Cambridge Crops will be using the funding to complete FDA and USDA regulatory milestones, invest in production scale-up, and continue developing meaningful commercial partnerships in the food and agriculture industry.

“We are excited to help advance Cambridge Crops’ efforts in building and bringing to market a technology that can reshape how the food system works,” added The Engine general partner Ann DeWitt.