SJF Ventures Invests in Rustic Crust "Old World" Pizza Products

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Private equity round to bolster distribution and product development, including organic offerings.

SJF Ventures announced today that it has led a $1.5MM Series B equity financing round in Rustic Crust, Inc., the leading brand of all-natural and organic pizza products. The financing provides growth capital to expand the Company's distribution and product development. Other participants in the round included existing investor CEI Community Ventures of Portland, ME and individual investors.

Rustic Crust is an organic certified, New Hampshire-based manufacturer of all-natural and organic artisan quality pizza products including ready-made shelf stable pizza crusts, frozen flatbread pizzas, pizza sauce packs and pizza kits. The Company's old-world style recipes originate from Europe using the highest quality ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, trans fatty acids, hydrogenated oils, GMOs or added sugar. Rustic Crust sells its branded pizza products nationwide in over 1,500 natural food stores, traditional supermarkets and club stores.

"Rustic Crust is quickly becoming the leading platform brand in the natural and organic pizza category," said David Griest, Managing Director of SJF Ventures. "Their products meet several strong market trends for healthier, high quality and convenient meals at home. The pizza industry in the United States is over $36 billion, with the average American family eating pizza at home 30 times a year. Rustic Crust provides a creative alternative to delivery and brings families and friends together through the tradition of making your own pizza."

"This new partnership adds to our exciting growth over the past few years and provides additional capital for our continued expansion," added Brad Sterl, President of Rustic Crust. "The addition of SJF and individual investors to our current team will help us to develop new markets and further expand this high growth category."

About Rustic Crust (http://www.rusticcrust.com)
Located in Pittsfield, NH, the Company's shelf-stable crusts come in several flavors including Cheesy Herb, Italian Herb, Tuscan Six Grain, Classic Sourdough and Ultimate Whole Grain. Rustic Crust's proprietary recipes and packaging techniques allow the shelf-stable crusts to have a long shelf life of 120 days without the use of chemicals or artificial preservatives. The Company is committed to using only the highest quality, all-natural ingredients, such as whole grain flour, fresh herbs, cold-press olive oil, vine-ripened tomatoes, and hand-picked vegetables. Frozen pizzas flavors include Basil Pesto & Roasted Pepper, Ultimate Cheese & Herb, and Cheese & Vine-Ripened Tomato. Rustic Crust was launched in September 2005 at The Natural Products Expo East Show as one of the "Top Five Most Innovative Products" at the show.

About SJF Ventures (http://www.sjfund.com)
SJF Ventures, with offices in Durham, NC and New York, NY, is a venture capital fund with $45 million under management that focuses on the premium consumer products, cleantech, and technology-enhanced services sectors. The Fund looks for experienced management teams that are driving exceptional growth and positively impacting the world.

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