Green

Purfresh raises large financing round to make food safer

Purfresh is the new name of Novazone, a Livermore, Calif., company that disinfects and protects water and fresh produce, and which is expanding to cover more aspects of the food business.

Purfresh offers one of a number of companies rushing to find new, efficient ways to clean pathogens from food supplies. People and businesses are becoming less tolerant of harsh chemical cleansers that have been used for such purposes, in part because of sensitivity about the environment.

Demand has turned Purfresh’s business into a rocket ship. The company has existed since the mid-1990s, but over the past few years, it has picked up more than 300 corporate customers including giants like Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.

The company changed its name to reflect its growing product line, which now also includes water purification systems, sunshields for increased crop yield, and an informatics system called Intellipur which helps track food in storage or transit.

Those new businesses are where much of the investment is going. CEO David Cope told us that the company “could be profitable tomorrow afternoon,” if it stuck with its developed ozone equipment business, but that it will instead be focusing on developing its newer product lines. At its current rate, Cope expects the company to hit profitability in about a year.

Purfresh has a proprietary technology for using ozone, but other startups have their own angles. Ioteq, for example, an Australian company we recently wrote about, uses a unique iodine-based technology to purify water better than chlorine.

The $25 million Purfresh funding was led by Chilton Investment Co. Previous investors Chrysalix Energy, Grauer Capital and Foundation Capital also participated, alongside one unnamed strategic investor. Purfresh has raised $42 million to date.