Founded in 2017 and led by President Liam Tayler and Executive Chairman Sean Sears, Clever Fruit was originally a juice-maker before the team discovered a process that ferments fruit into a powder that can be added to foods to enhance health benefits.
The process works by increasing the bioavailability of substances called polyphenols. Tests on animals have suggested the powder can lower bad cholesterol levels by 40 percent, the company said.
“Clever is doing a lot of exciting things here in Atlantic Canada and is an ideal fit for Emergence,” said Jason Cleaversmith, Executive Director of Incubation and Infrastructure at Charlottetown-based Emergence, in an email.
“We’re looking forward to supporting their continued growth and success utilizing our 'Critical Path' methodology."
The Critical Path Program is Emergence’s offering for its best-qualified member companies. The training uses one-on-one tutoring to help companies map out a “critical path to success.”
Last year, Clever Fruit raised $400,000 in equity funding and added three new directors to its board: Lorna Vanderhaeghe, a health expert and product developer; Dean Mosca, a natural products industry veteran; and entrepreneur and financier Michael Mailman.
The company also said it was beginning pre-clinical trials of its product in a bid for Health Canada approval.
And this January, Clever Fruit inked a research deal with Dalhousie University that will include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada spending $320,000 over four years to help optimize Clever's fermentation process.
"The new food ingredients will be assessed for their efficacy in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders, a rising health problem in Canada and worldwide that can lead to social and economic burdens," said Vasantha Rupasinghe, Professor of Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, in a press release.