Last year, Katherine Sizov (BIO ’19) and Malika Shukurova (BE ’19) earned the 2019 President’s Innovation Prize for their plan to use Internet-of-Things technology to monitor fruit ripeness and reduce waste in produce supply chains. Their company, Strella Biotechnology, received $100,000 of financial support, a $50,000 living stipend for both awardees, and a year of dedicated co-working and lab space at the Pennovation Center.
Now, it has $3.3 million on hand as it attempts to take its technology into retail stores.
As reported in Technically Philly and the Philadelphia Business Journal, the “fruit hacking” company’s seed round funding comes from several venture capital firms, including Pennovation’s Red & Blue Ventures, as well as celebrity investor Mark Cuban.
Strella’s ethylene sensors are already being used by fruit packers in order to more precisely time shipments as their produce ripens. The Penn start-up company thinks retailers could similarly benefit when it comes to deciding when to put their stock out for sale.
Originally posted on the Penn Engineering Blog.
NB: The initial work for Strella Biotechnology was done by Sizov in Penn Bioengineering’s George H. Stephenson Foundation Educational Laboratory and Bio-MakerSpace. Read more about how BE’s Bio-MakerSpace has become a hub for start-ups here.