ArcticRx Wins 2021 Crossroads Pitch Competition: Product extends global reach of COVID vaccine to remote areas
The Mill, Bloomington’s center for entrepreneurship, announced today that ArcticRx won first place in the 2021 Crossroads Pitch Competition. Co-Founders Shane Bivens and Stuart Lowry will receive $10,000 in cash, a package of startup and business services, and priority consideration to pitch for an additional $20,000 at Elevate Ventures’ Nexus Pitch Competition in the pre-seed category.
Watch the winning pitch.
“We are beyond grateful for the opportunity this affords ArcticRx,” said Lowry. “It’s really satisfying for others to understand the change this product can bring across the globe, and we can’t thank The Mill enough for their part in the future of #VaccineEquity. The Mill has done a tremendous job fostering a spirit of camaraderie in the Hoosier community of entrepreneurs and change makers. We hope all the participants find paths for success.”
ArcticRx solves a critical problem in transporting vaccines to remote and rural areas: how to keep the doses cold enough, long enough to reach their intended populations. ArcticRx is a reusable, low-cost pod for shipping that keeps vaccines at the required ultra-low temperatures (ULT) up to five times longer than current methods. The pod provides 21+ days of stable, ultra-low temperature (-77c) using dry ice and without requiring batteries or electricity.
In his winning pitch for Crossroads, CEO Shane Bivens explained that to ship vaccines to countries like the Congo, the current ULT options will only keep the vaccine cold over the flight there. On arrival, they must be repacked with fresh dry-ice and driven over great distances, through challenging terrain, before the ice melts and the vaccine loses viability. In fact, this cold-chain supply gap has prevented vaccines from ever reaching some locations. “Fifty percent of vaccine waste is rooted in cold-chain storage and transportation,” Bivens stated, noting that less than 2.5% of low-income countries have received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with devastating outcomes on human life.
ArcticRx’s ultimate goal is to close this supply chain gap and achieve global “vaccine equity.” Lowry noted that, as the virus continues to thrive and mutate in areas without adequate vaccination, “Protecting the world is necessary to protect local communities.”
Beyond COVID-19, ArcticRx has applications for shipping other pharma as well as food, such as seafood or produce, that require stable ultra-low temperature. The broader cold chain market is estimated at $340 billion, with the ArcticRx’s immediate corner of the ultra-low temperature market coming in at $24.4 billion.
ArcticRx was designed and developed by Rolls-Royce engineers in Indianapolis and Chefsfridge Co, the Anderson-based startup founded by Bivens and Lowry. They announced the opening of their pre-seed round in July of 2021 and currently have 5 functioning prototypes and 3 manufacturers lined up.
Crossroads Pitch Competition is open to any Indiana-based startup with less than $250,000 in annual recurring revenue. This was the fifth year for the competition, which is run by The Mill and was sponsored this year by Velocities. A panel of over 30 entrepreneurs, investors, and business experts selected four finalists, who pitched live by Zoom on October 13. Studia.app came in second and will receive priority consideration to pitch at Elevate Nexus in the seed category, which awards an $80,000 prize. The other two finalists were GittaSitta and AeonCharge.
“We were thrilled with diversity of applicants and judges for Crossroads 2021,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming for The Mill. “Indiana is bursting with innovation, and the quality of the pitches this year was outstanding. ArcticRx blew us away, and they faced tough competition. We expect to see many successes emerge from this year’s Crossroads.”
Download the 2021 Crossroads Lookbook of startup competitors.
The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. For more information on Crossroads Pitch Competition, visit https://crossroadspitch.com/.
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