Expands Imaging System Deployments, and Accelerates Development of AI and Insights Tools for the Food Processing Industry
WATERLOO, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AI–P&P Optica (PPO), a leader in automated inspection and insights for the food industry, has closed its Series B funding round. The round was led by Ag Capital Canada, with new investor Synovus Family Office as well as existing investors Fulcrum Global Capital, Export Development Canada (EDC) and others. The financing will be used to accelerate implementation of PPO’s detection system in food processing plants across Canada and the US. The funding will be also used to expand development of the company’s advanced software and insights for the food processing industry. This includes artificial intelligence (AI) tools that enable processors to collect, view, and analyze detailed information about food composition and quality in real-time.
PPO’s Smart Imaging System uses hyperspectral imaging to gather rich data on every product it inspects, down to the chemical signature. This means that the system can provide information on quality metrics such as the fat/lean ratio for products like bacon and sausage, measure tenderness of steaks, and identify muscle myopathies such as woody breast in chicken.
PPO’s system can identify a broad range of foreign material contaminants, including rubber, cardboard and clear plastics that are often missed by other detection methods such as x-rays and metal detectors. Using AI, PPO’s system “learns” from what it sees over time, making it very efficient at identifying new contaminants and delivering sophisticated analysis of trends.
“We are thrilled to have completed this new round of funding,” said Olga Pawluczyk, PPO’s founder and CEO. “Processors are the vital link between producers and consumers. PPO is laser focused on providing tools and solutions that increase automation, optimize production, and modernize this crucial industry. The pace of innovation in food processing is accelerating and we are passionate about transforming the industry with data and analytics.”
“We have been impressed by the quality of insights that PPO’s technology provides today and we are even more excited about what this could mean for the future of food production and processing,” said John Lansink, General Partner Principal at Ag Capital Canada. “This unique application of AI means we can start to analyze correlations between food quality and multiple variables going back to how crops and animals are raised and processed.”
“As one of the initial investors in PPO, we have seen how the fast evolution of its data and analytics has increased the intelligence available to food processors,” said Kevin Lockett, Partner, Fulcrum Global Capital. “Advances in imaging, computer processing and AI mean we can now gather vast amounts of data on food chemistry. This has enormous potential. By looking at trends in food composition, we can identify ways to optimize production across the entire food system.”
“PPO is a fantastic example of Canadian innovation in action,” said Jacqueline Ovens, Director, at Export Development Canada. “The company was named one of our CleanTech ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2018 and its technology has been proven to deliver important advancements in reducing food waste, while significantly increasing food safety and quality. We are pleased to support PPO as its technology evolves to provide a holistic view of food supply chains and we look forward to seeing the transformational impact it has on the global food processing industry in the long term.”
About P&P Optica
PPO’s mission is to help food processors make safer, higher quality food while reducing waste and increasing the sustainability of our food supply. PPO’s patented Smart Imaging System uses physics to understand the chemistry of food, telling processors exactly what’s in their products. The system automates food inspection tasks, assessing qualities such as tenderness; protein, water and fat content; freshness and more. The same system can identify and remove foreign objects such as plastics, bone and rubber, and detect product flaws like woody breast and hard tail in poultry. Using machine learning, all of this happens at line speed and in real-time, generating insights that processors can use to improve their products, manage their suppliers and optimize their production. PPO is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
About Ag Capital Canada
Ag Capital Canada (ACC) is a private equity fund that invests in Canadian ag and food innovation and small business growth. ACC aims to discover, develop and nurture Canadian agricultural businesses through capital investment, business-management mentorship and entrepreneurial expertise. For more information on ACC, visit www.agcapitalcanada.com.
About Fulcrum Global Capital
Fulcrum Global Capital (FGC) is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in companies and entrepreneurs disrupting the global food production industry through the agriculture, animal health, and agtech markets. FGC is especially interested in companies with technologies and approaches which increases yields, reduces food waste, and/or makes food safer and more transparent. Based out of the Kansas City area, FGC invests both within the U.S. and across the globe. More information on FGC can be found at www.fgcvc.com
Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, we equip Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to grow their business with confidence. Underlying all our support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business. To help Canadian businesses facing extreme financial challenges brought on by the global response to COVID-19, the Government of Canada has expanded EDC’s domestic capabilities until December 31, 2021. This broader mandate will enable EDC to expand its support to companies focused domestically.
For more information and to learn how we can help your company, call us at 1-800-229-0575 or visit www.edc.ca.