By Bill Besenhofer on Monday 13 December 2021
Earlier this year, Chicago-based The Fresh Factory, a food and beverage platform, made its stock market debut on the Canadian Securities Exchange, here Bill Besenhofer, CEO and co-founder, explains why it made the move.
In the fall of 2021, The Fresh Factory, a Chicago-based food and beverage platform, made its public debut on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker FRSH.
To the untrained eye, this might seem peculiar — why not play in the bigger, bolder, made-in-the-USA sandbox? Here is why:
We founded The Fresh Factory in 2017 to create, invest in, and accelerate the food and beverage brands of tomorrow. The company was specifically built to focus on what we believe to be the future of food: plant-based, clean-label, sustainable, and full of fresh ingredients.
The climate is at a tipping point, and we know the positive impact that plant-based, planet-friendly food has on reducing emissions. We also believe healthy food should be available to everyone — i.e., widely available at affordable price points. In order to achieve our mission, we need our brands to be ubiquitous.
To this end, we’ve built a vertically integrated platform, from farm to shelf, offering services above and beyond traditional manufacturing to emerging plant-based brands.
When first considering going public, we didn’t think it was essential. The Fresh Factory was well-positioned for the future.
What ultimately pushed us to go the public route was the opportunity to further propel our business and to align with investors who support companies like ours.
Becoming a public company was not a goal in and of itself; it was a stepping stone on our way to achieving our greater goals as a company.
The Canadian public venture capital market offered speed, efficiency, and affordability, which were selling features for The Fresh Factory. But speaking more broadly, while the low cost and high speed of listing on the CSE did appeal to us, they weren’t the deciding factors.
Ultimately, we felt that the CSE was more representative of The Fresh Factory’s entrepreneurial spirit and desire to provide high-quality plant-based food for all. We are in the business of creating new and bespoke products and partnerships every day, and launching on the CSE ensures The Fresh Factory can broaden its investor base and pursue future strategic opportunities that will create value for our shareholders.
We also take great pride in being, to the best of our knowledge, the first B-Corp listed on the CSE. This speaks to our values as a company and our desire to put sustainable practices at the heart of every business decision.
On December 3, 2021, The Fresh Factory rang the opening bell of the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), commemorating our public debut. The capital we have raised puts The Fresh Factory in a position to be at the forefront of our industry and will be deployed in a myriad of ways, such as upgrading our facility, supporting our own brands, expanding our capability, and investing in our accelerator program.
I believe this is a great opportunity for The Fresh Factory to further grow our purpose-driven company that will have generational impact on our community, employees, and investors alike. We hope this will encourage other public companies, on the CSE and other exchanges, to do follow suit.
As I mentioned previously, our listing was by no means the final goal, merely the next chapter in The Fresh Factory’s journey, and in the future, we would potentially consider cross-listing with another exchange in North America or Europe when the time is right.