Farther Farms, a sustainable food processing company founded by Mike Annunziata ‘11, MBA ‘17 and Vipul Saran, MPS ‘17, has received a $25,000 investment from Launch New York (Launch NY), a venture development organization promoting economic growth in western New York.
Farther Farms was founded in the fall of 2016 as Natural Cuts, when Saran joined with Annunziata to commercialize the patented food processing technology used to extend produce shelf life. The firm’s initial business produced fresh-cut French fries that could stay in stable condition for up to 60 days without preservatives or freezing.
The technology developed by Saran while a student in the Department of Food Science has the potential to “transform food processing with an innovative technology,” according to Launch NY, a non-profit that provides seed capital to investment-ready companies which have the promise to create economic impact and jobs in New York state.
“We’re seeking to make a big change in a highly competitive industry, and the local and regional support we’ve received thus far has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Annunziata, the company’s chief executive officer. “The backing of Launch NY is an incredible vote of confidence in what we’re building, and we couldn’t be more humbled by it.”
Annunziata and Saran won the Pillsbury Institute’s Cornell Hospitality Business Plan Competition in March, and placed first in the advanced technology track of the New York State Business Plan Competition. They joined eLab, Cornell’s student startup accelerator, and took part in Entrepreneurship Celebration 2017. The company rebranded as Farther Farms in September, and is currently established as a full member company at local business incubator Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.
Rev’s entrepreneurship mentors worked with the Farther Farms team to help develop a fundraising strategy and review Launch NY submission paperwork, said Brad Treat, Entrepreneur in Residence at Rev and the Southern Tier Startup Alliance. In addition, Rev endorsed the company’s application directly to Launch NY’s leadership, advised on details of the due diligence process, and provided guidance for the company’s formal presentation to the Launch NY review committee.
Farther Farms is currently working to expand its product offerings to include avocados, sugar-snap peas, carrots and more. By increasing access to fruits and vegetables, Farther Farms hopes to address the challenges of food waste and malnutrition, while reducing costs throughout the food system in processing, distribution and retail.
Noah Schumer, MRP ‘19 is a writer for Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.
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