Blue Mangoes raising first investor round

Social enterprise participating in Target incubator

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Blue Mangoes LLC, the Milwaukee-based dried fruit social enterprise, is raising its first investor round of funding.

Blue Mangoes program director Hayden Vest, back row far right, with the women of the Broadway Cooperative and QA/QC manager John Bosco in Padibe, Uganda.

The company, which empowers female cooperatives in developing countries to collect surplus fruit and dehydrate it to be sold, is on the path to raising $600,000 from investors to accelerate its growth. The pre-seed round is expected to close in August, said Joshua Shefner, founder and chief executive officer. Since its 2017 inception, Blue Mangoes has been bootstrapped with entrepreneurship competition winnings, a Kiva loan, a Kickstarter and a federal grant.

The company, which now has 16 employees worldwide, plans to use the funding to launch its products for sale online and push into retail.

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One thing that may help with the retail effort: This summer, Blue Mangoes is taking part in the new Target Incubator in Minneapolis.

“(Being sold at Target is) not a guarantee. But we do have a lot of meetings with the merchandising team,” Shefner said.

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