“We are addressing what we feel is one of the largest opportunities that has ever existed in the world,” and “we are doing it by taking a systems optimization approach that is vertically integrated and unlike anything we see others doing,” serial entrepreneur and company co-CEO and co-Founder Timothy Childs told FoodNavigator-USA.
He explained that Treasure8’s goal is to take some of the 1.4 billion metric tons of food worth $2.6 trillion that is wasted globally every year and “convert it into healthy ingredients and products that can feed food insecure people,” including the one in five Americans who do not always know when their next meal will be or where it will come from.
One way that the company is tackling this goal is through the creation and commercialization of proprietary technology, such as its patented infrared dry-blanching technology that allows it to blanch and dehydrate produce in a more cost effective manner while also better preserving its nutritional benefits and organoleptic qualities. The company’s Ground Rules organic beet, apple and sweet potato chips are an example of how the company is using the technology to create food for insecure populations.
The company’s unique corporate design of nested subsidiary LLCs, joint-ventures and bolt-on companies also will further advance its mission by incubating and creating additional products and programs that can be spun-out. However, because the products and companies use Treasure8’s ingredients and technology, there will be lasting partnerships that create ongoing revenue streams that can provide ongoing support for the company’s mission even once the subsidiaries are sold, Childs explained.
Wanted: impatient people with patient funds
Given the scope of Treasure8’s goal and its multi-prong approach, Childs said the company needs “like-minded” partners to help the business scale and effect change.
One of the company’s current investors has kicked off the company’s $20 million plus Series B round with a $2 million convertible note, which Childs said, “is a good start,” but not enough.
“We like to say we are looking for impatient people with patient capital,” because the company wants strategic partners who will push it to make big changes quickly, but also partners who don’t expect returns in a two to three year window, Childs said.
Within that framework, he added, Treasure8 wants to partner with “strategic folks,” who will use the company as “the tip of the spear for innovating products,” such as large berry growers who want to leverage the company’s capacity to dry berries “better than anybody” and also work with it to create new opportunities.
In addition, Childs said, Treasure8 is looking for partners who are retailers, producers and CPG companies that are interested in its current ingredients or developing new ones from food that otherwise would be wasted to drive better nutrition as well as effect a positive environmental impact.
A multifaceted growth strategy
The funds will be used in part to increase capacity, which will require not only additional equipment but also “human capital,” Childs said.
He explained that Treasure8 already has a “rock star team,” including his co-CEO who has 20 years of experience at Coca-Cola, but that it needs an operator who is a “power player” and “has the capacity to get what we are doing, but also help us run the thing.”
In addition to capex and leadership, Childs said a “big chunk” of the funds would go to research & development and pursuing additional patents and intellectual property. Some of the areas in which Childs says the company is researching are around chip processes that require fewer hands touching things and a new smart camera system to better recognize raw and cooked products on the line in a way that existing technology cannot currently do.
And finally, part of the funds would be held in reserve to “make bets on our subsidiaries” and joint-ventures that eventually will spin-off and ultimately bring more funds into the company’s funnel, Childs said.
Ultimately, Childs said, “the whole thing is about leading the charge on Resource Revolution, which requires thinking outside the box so that, not just people, but organizations and governments and large players can … solve these challenges [of food waste and insecurity] in new ways that have never been done before.”