ZeaKal Logo - Photosynthesis Plant Trait Technology

ZeaKal unveils breakthrough high-oil hemp results

ZeaKal’s novel PhotoSeed trait boosts hemp biomass oil output by up to 50%

TORONTO and SAN DIEGO – June 1, 2021 – RIV Capital Inc. (“RIV Capital” or the “Company”) (TSX: RIV, OTC: CNPOF) portfolio company ZeaKal, Inc. (“ZeaKal”) announced that its PhotoSeed™ technology is believed to be the first plant trait proven to enhance the oil profile of hemp, offering the industry a sustainable way to improve the crop’s value while capturing more carbon.

According to ZeaKal’s analytical chemistry data, PhotoSeed increased oil composition in hemp biomass by up to 50% relative to controls, comprising up to 8% of the plant’s dry weight. The development comes amid a spike in global demand for plant oils as renewable diesel inputs. ZeaKal anticipates that PhotoSeed hemp could produce approximately 800lbs of oil per acre—nearly triple that of soybeans, the largest oilseed crop in North America and one commonly used as an input for renewable diesel. The first commercial PhotoSeed hemp plants were developed in partnership with Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“This new data validates our thesis that PhotoSeed could be transformative for the hemp sector,” said Mary Dimou, Senior Director, Corporate Development at RIV Capital and Board Observer, ZeaKal. “We believe that by offering significant composition and sustainability benefits, PhotoSeed has the potential to advance hemp cultivation to a greater level of efficiency, consistency, and sophistication. High-oil PhotoSeed hemp may also be immensely valuable for complementary industries, including renewable diesel and bioplastics.”

PhotoSeed is a trait technology that increases plants’ ability to capture carbon and sunlight, translating into additional energy and therefore better nutritional composition. Beyond higher oil production, it is expected that PhotoSeed’s additional benefits for hemp and cannabis may include improved seed composition, higher yields, and increased levels of cannabinoids.

“We are proud to develop what is believed to be the first traited high-oil hemp, a feat that complements our efforts to improve oil production in key crops such as soy,” said Han Chen, ZeaKal co-founder and CEO. “By capturing carbon to oil in hemp, PhotoSeed creates additional value for cultivators and processors on a smaller footprint. With global demand for plant oils exceeding production, PhotoSeed provides growers with a new crop opportunity to produce a versatile, low-carbon-intensity and most importantly non-food-competitive feedstock in the long-term.”

RIV Capital invested in ZeaKal in June 2019 with the thesis that PhotoSeed could be adapted and optimized for hemp and, eventually, for cannabis. Since its original investment, the Company has continued to work closely with ZeaKal as it extends PhotoSeed’s applications for hemp and other key crops.

About RIV Capital

RIV Capital is an investment and acquisition company specializing in cannabis with a portfolio of 13 companies across various segments of the cannabis value chain. We believe that bringing together people, capital, and ideas raises the potential of the entire cannabis industry. By leveraging our industry insights, in-house expertise, and thesis-driven approach to investing, we aim to provide shareholders with exposure to specialized and disruptive cannabis companies.

About ZeaKal

At ZeaKal, we are building a value driven “NewType” of agriculture to harmonize the needs of farmers, consumers, and our planet. Our flagship plant trait technology, PhotoSeed™, helps crops capture more carbon and sunlight, leading to healthier, nutrient-rich food and feed grown on a smaller environmental footprint. We go beyond science to make affordable nutrition more sustainable, with marketable differentiation for growers. Discover how we are transforming carbon to nutrition: zeakal.com or @zeakal on Twitter.

Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains statements which constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements regarding the plans, intentions, beliefs and current expectations of RIV Capital and its portfolio companies with respect to future business activities and operating performance. Forward-looking information is often identified by the words “may”, “would”, “could”, “should”, “will”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect” or similar expressions and includes information regarding the Company’s beliefs in the benefits of PhotoSeed; the Company’s expectation that PhotoSeed leads to a greater level of efficiency, consistency, and sophistication; ZeaKal’s expectation that PhotoSeed could lead to increased oil composition in hemp biomass and improved seed composition, higher yields and cannabinoid levels; ZeaKal’s belief that PhotoSeed could be applied to cannabis, and ZeaKal’s belief that PhotoSeed may provide growers with a new crop opportunities.

Investors are cautioned that forward-looking information is not based on historical fact but instead reflects management’s expectations, estimates or projections concerning future results or events based on the opinions, assumptions and estimates of management considered reasonable at the date the statements are made. Although RIV Capital believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, such information involves risks and uncertainties, and undue reliance should not be placed on such information, as unknown or unpredictable factors could have material adverse effects on future results, performance or achievements of RIV Capital or its portfolio companies. Among the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information are the following: changes that result in different outcomes for PhotoSeed trials; that PhotoSeed may not lead to higher yields and cannabinoid levels; regulatory and licensing risks; changes in cannabis industry growth and trends; changes in general economic, business and political conditions, including changes in the financial markets; the global regulatory landscape and enforcement related to cannabis, including political risks and risks relating to regulatory change; risks relating to anti-money laundering laws; compliance with extensive government regulation, including RIV Capital’s interpretation of such regulation; public opinion and perception of the cannabis industry; divestiture risks; and the risk factors set out in RIV Capital’s annual information form for the year ended March 31, 2020 filed with the Canadian securities regulators and available on RIV Capital’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking information prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as intended, planned, anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Although RIV Capital has attempted to identify important risks, uncertainties and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be others that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. RIV Capital does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update this forward-looking information except as otherwise required by applicable law.

SOURCE RIV Capital Inc.

For further information:

RIV Capital Investor Relations:
[email protected]