ReGen 🤝 Clean Crop Tech
ReGen backs Clean Crop Tech to do for solids what pasteurization did for liquids.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” - Arthur C. Clarke
Between the farm gate and consumers, 10% of food is lost to food contaminants (toxins, pathogens, yeasts, and molds) every year. Put another way, $250B worth of calories are wasted, which ultimately contribute ~3% of global GHG emissions from landfill methane.
These contaminants, including aflatoxin and salmonella, do more than eat into growers’ margins and harm the environment - causing 600M cases of food-borne illness and 480,000 preventable deaths annually.
With climate change increasing the conditions (e.g., soil temperature and drought) that cause in-field contamination outbreaks and tightening government regulations, agricultural supply chains need to adopt tools that reduce waste, improve safety, and preserve quality.
The Unexpected Solution
Enter Clean Crop Tech (Clean Crop), the first company using air to turn back the clock on millions of tiny pathogens. To do so, CCT uses cold plasma chemistry to gases, creating short-lived and highly reactive molecules. These unique species quickly destroy pathogens without harming food quality, then revert, leaving no residue or harmful byproducts.
Better yet, Clean Crop’s hardware is also a seed treatment that can enhance germination, vigor, and yields. Faster and more uniform germination leads to better resilience in the face of harsh weather conditions (drought, heat stress, and late frosts), less weed/disease pressure, and the potential for up to 20-25% yield increases per acre.
The Unfair Advantage
Existing solutions broadly fall into one of two buckets:
High-Quality, Narrow Application: Companies developing proprietary coatings to preserve shelf-life by creating H2O or O2 barriers that prevent ripening deterioration, shield products from new contaminants rather than removing those already present.
Low-Quality, Broad Application: Established and emerging technologies broadly targeting contaminants have limited applicability and often cause undesirable sensory changes to the underlying substrate (taste, texture, color, and odor).
Clean Crop’s technology platform is the only solution to combine the quality preservation of novel coatings with the pathogen removal of thermal pasteurization. It is also powered by an AI-driven process optimization that turns each field machine into an R&D lab. As units deploy into the field, they feed observations into Clean Crop’s database, unlocking new capabilities (use cases) as it scales. The technology has a broad range of use cases that lead to the following benefits for customers:
The Pragmatic Visionaries
Clean Crop was founded by Dan White (CEO), Daniel Cavanaugh (COO), and Dr. Kevin Keener (founding CTO; currently CSO). Dan White was Agriculture Technical Director at ACDI/VOCA and Daniel Cavanaugh Commercial Manager at Cargill in East Africa. The duo has more than 25 years of combined experience working across commodity value chains in the US, Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Along their journey to find a solution to turn back the clock on contaminants, co-founders Dan and Daniel analyzed a range of applicable technologies from UV light treatment to high-pressure pasteurization before uncovering academic papers written by Dr. Keener, one of the few leading experts in plasma for food safety.
Today, Clean Crop’s founding team combines agricultural supply chain experience with expertise in cold plasma for food safety, chemical and mechanical engineering, material science, and AI-driven R&D. We knew we had to back Clean Crop once their first customer described the technology as black magic after completing a successful pilot on time and under budget - during a global pandemic and supply chain crisis.
Where to from here?
We fundamentally believe that Clean Crop offers a unique opportunity to invest in a paradigm shift towards “pasteurization 2.0” - transforming food supply chain approaches to reducing waste, improving safety, and preserving quality.
By 2050, Clean Crop’s cold plasma platform has the potential to prevent millions of cases of food-borne illness, in addition to avoiding up to 1.4 Gigatons of C02 emissions. At the same time, its etching use case can increase the durability of seeds, thereby insulating our global food system against a rapidly changing climate.
ReGen Ventures is excited to co-lead Clean Crop’s $6M Series A round alongside Trailhead Capital and the MassMutual Catalyst Fund with participation from Prime Impact Fund, Innova Memphis, Bread & Butter Ventures, Factor[e] Ventures, Active Impact, the Alchemy Fund, Middleland Capital's VTC Ventures, and DC Thomson Capital.
Come Join Them
Clean Crop is currently hiring for an Electrical Engineering Director to tackle complex technical challenges related to optimizing plasma gas ionization systems efficiency and process integration while taking part in driving innovation across the company.