eLab Startup Rebrands with Burns Group, Joins Rev as Member

eLab Startup Rebrands with Burns Group, Joins Rev as Member

Mike Annunziata (ILR ‘11, MBA ‘17) and Vipul Saran (Master of Food Science ‘17), cofounders of Rev Member Company Natural Cuts, are well aware of the importance of a strong brand. After strengthening their core ideals, the sustainable food processing company has announced a rebranding, one that includes a new moniker: Farther Farms.

“Over the last year, we have come to understand that our technology represents a breakthrough in food processing and fresh vegetable accessibility,” says Annunziata of the change in the company’s official announcement. The startup uses food processing technology to extend produce shelf life, allowing fresh foods to be available longer. The rebranding represents a holistic embrace of the pursuit of a better food network, one that eliminates the need for cold storage and preservatives. They believe their innovation could reduce food waste and energy consumption while expanding access to nutrition, the team explains.

Saran (left) and Annunziata (right) present at eLab’s Demo Day during Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration 2017.

Farther Farms, formerly known as Natural Cuts, was founded in the fall of 2016 after now-Chief Product Officer Saran, in conjunction with Cornell’s Food Science Department, conducted research that led to the development of unique vegetable processing technology. Partnering with Annunziata, the two recognized the potential to commercialize the process, bringing Saran’s work from the laboratory to industry application. Their initial business focused on producing fresh-cut potatoes that could stay stable on the shelf for up to 60 days without freezing, preservatives, or chemicals. With this model, the pair won Cornell’s Hospitality Business Contest pitch competition in March and took first prize in the advanced technology track of the New York State Business Plan Competition.

“The technology has wide-ranging applications,” says Saran. “We have a potato product on the market today, but hope to soon begin work on avocados, sugar-snap peas, carrots, and more.”

The opportunity to rebrand was sparked when the company was selected for The Burns Group’s BGINternship, a three-week brand development program based in New York City that helps entrepreneurs develop brand identity, core messaging, and design strategy. The internship works in partnership with Entrepreneurship@Cornell and has hosted several Rev companies in the past; alumni include Specdrums and Stablesense, who also went through a rebranding aided by the firm. Both companies are alums of the Rev Hardware Accelerator and Cornell eLab; Stablesense is also a current Rev Member Company.

“The Burns Group helped us better understand and vocalize our core identity – innovating food processing solutions for a more sustainable food system,” says Max Richman, Vice President of Business Development. He explains that Farther Farms gives the company the bandwidth to strive toward larger goals, expand product offerings, and engage with new innovations all while maintaining their core mission. “Rebranding to Farther Farms doesn’t change what we do. It provides us a platform from which we can better articulate who we are.”

Annunziata (left) and Saran (right) talk during the downtime at eLab Pitch Night NYC 2016.

Farther Farms plans to continue scaling their technology in the coming months by building a processing facility in Central New York.  “The support we’ve received from Rev advisers, mentors, and partners has been invaluable,” says Saran.  “There was no question where we wanted to lay down roots.” The company’s first product – the Natural Cuts French Fry – will be sourced from New York potatoes.

The business hopes to combat a variety of larger issues, including food waste, malnutrition, and infrastructural isolation. “We are in this for the long haul,” explains Saran.  “Farther Farms encapsulates who we are now, and our greater vision going forward.”

More information on Farther Farms can be found on their website and on social media at @fartherfarms.

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Bonnie