The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund and Lightship Capi

|Jul 15|magazine13 min read

EFFINGHAM, Ill., July 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund and Lightship Capital announce completion of a $3.25 million equity round of financing into FreshFry, a Louisville, Kentucky-based food technology company focused on developing award-winning solutions that result in better tasting foods and increased profitability for establishments operating in the food service, hospitality, and other industries.

The FreshFry Pod is an all-natural, plant-based, sustainable product that cleans and extends the life of frying oil used by restaurants and other facilities that utilize commercial deep fryers for preparing many of their menu items.  FreshFry has a national distribution agreement with Sysco and was the recipient of the 2019 Sysco Supplier Excellence Award as a Gold-Level Supplier in the Corporate Social Responsibility category.  

"As the food service industry looks to reinvent itself and optimize every aspect of operations and as establishments seek to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, FreshFry is poised to capitalize on the opportunity to deliver reliable, environmentally-conscious products that generate cost savings through longer oil life and reduced labor and maintenance," stated Jim Schultz, Founder and Managing Partner with Open Prairie. 

With the funding from Open Prairie and Lightship Capital, FreshFry will bolster its sales, marketing, and operations teams and will seek to cultivate strategic partnerships in key market sectors.  FreshFry will also accelerate research and development activities to broaden the portfolio of products and services for its rapidly growing customer base. 

Jeremiah Chapman, Co-Founder and CEO of FreshFry commented, "The foodservice market is resilient and the goal for those who innovate in this market is to gain efficiencies that free up capital, labor, and overall functionality that enable flexible solutions to ever-changing market pressures.  For FreshFry, the partnership with Open Prairie and Lightship Capital will accelerate the implementation of strategic initiatives that strengthen our position to drive innovation, address customer challenges, and utilize our core technologies to enhance productivity across the entire value chain." 

FreshFry is Lightship Capital's first investment from their debut $50 million dollar fund for underrepresented entrepreneurs. "When starting a new fund, you want to select a first investment that signals the quality of your future selections to your investors," says Lightship Capital General Partner, Candice Matthews Brackeen. "We needed a transformative company with a rockstar founder-- and that's exactly what we have in FreshFry and Jerimiah."

About Open Prairie
Open Prairie, based in the heartland of America with headquarters in Effingham, Illinois, is a multi-faceted private equity fund management firm with deep roots in rural America.  For more than twenty years, Open Prairie has consistently focused on facilitating capital accessibility in underserved markets.  The Open Prairie team has managed funds ranging from technology-based venture capital to farmland portfolios.  Through its expertise across all functional business disciplines and an extensive network of professionals, Open Prairie works in partnership with its portfolio companies to accelerate growth while providing top tier returns to its investors.   For more information about Open Prairie, please visit www.openprairie.com.

About the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund
The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is an $81 million private equity fund licensed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC).  With a collaborative partnership comprised of investors from Farm Credit institutions, commercial and community banks, strategics, family offices and high net worth individuals committed to advancing rural America, the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is focused on providing debt and equity capital of $2 - $10 million to growth companies in food and agriculture.  For more information on the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, please visit www.openprairie.com.       

About Lightship Capital
Lightship Capital is a first of its kind venture capital fund empowering underestimated entrepreneurs and overlooked ecosystems across the US. Their approach to investing is motivated by the belief that social change and profit are simultaneously attainable-- so they find, fund, and educate underrepresented innovators and regions typically excluded from meaningful access to funding. Lightship Capital invests in early stage companies led by BIPOC, LBGTQ+, Women & people with disabilities who operate in the CPG, E-Commerce, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, and Healthcare spaces. To learn more about Lightship Capital, visit www.lightship.capital.  

About FreshFry
FreshFry is a food manufacturing technology company based in Louisville, KY that has developed the only plant-based, all-natural "pod" on the market containing a proprietary blend of ingredients that cleans and extends the life of frying oil used throughout the food service industry.  FreshFry Pods generate savings to restaurant owners in areas such as less overall oil usage, reduced build-up of oil in and around fryers, and lower labor costs for maintenance and disposal of oil.  No additional capital expense or equipment is needed to clean oil when using FreshFry Pods.  With cleaner oil, restaurant owners can negotiate more favorable offtake agreements for oil disposal.  Consumers enjoy the benefits of cleaner oil through higher-quality food that looks better, tastes better, smells better, and provides an improved dining experience.  Visit www.freshfry.me to learn more. 

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SOURCE Open Prairie