Mark Herbig (Director, Customer Relations), Steve Miller (Co-Founder, CEO), and Miha Sukic (Co-Founder, CTO) © Nils Lucas
What inspired you to found your startup?
CEO Steve Miller says: “Since our son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes we have learned a lot about monitoring -monitoring blood sugars, medication levels and the fridge temperature where his Insulin is stored. When the fridge fails we have to discard both the insulin and the food which is expensive and disruptive. We started KoolZone as we could not find a low-cost, easy, app-enabled solution which can alert us to a problem. So we decided to develop our own and make it available to everyone”
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
At a customer level we want customers to see our solution as the most effective/best value solution for an old problem – i.e. complying with regulations and replacing old manual paper-based systems. We want use of KoolZone to be a “no-brainer” for every small medium and large where safety, regulatory compliance or business efficiency is a necessity. At a business level, we plan to be trading in 20 countries within 3 years, offering a variety of monitoring needs to our chosen sectors.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
Yes absolutely! We discovered the hard way why so many solutions don’t work in kitchens, retail outlets and catering companies. It took us a long time to get to our operational MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and as we now know the best technology to use, we realised we could have achieved this quicker.
What problem does your product solve?
Monitoring refrigeration temperature in the food service sector is a legal requirement yet 97% of these devices are still checked manually using pen and paper! Why? Because there is no easy-to-use, affordable, automated solution available. KoolZone has solved this problem with a cloud-based wireless solution that costs less than manual checking – and has all the benefits of automation, like 24-hour remote monitoring, issue alerting, automatic reporting and helps reduce fridge energy costs.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
1 Year – 1000 customers, 5 countries, refrigeration monitoring, door sensors
5 Years – 40,000 customers, 20 countries, refrigeration and all other monitoring needs for our sectors, optimising temperatures to reduce Carbon Emissions
10 Years – my crystal ball doesn’t work that far!
How are you different?
Our aim is to be cheaper, better and more easily applied for every food service sector customers needs, including individual traders, small and large restaurant and catering properties and food chains. Refrigerators are extreme environments from which to communicate data – KoolZone has developed an innovative, advanced wireless technology, flexible and robust enough to work in the multitude of unique kitchen environments out there, yet it is low-cost, simple and intuitive for anyone to use.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
All day, everyday! – KoolZone provides a constant monitoring solution because food safety is a constant requirement. KoolZone lives in busy refrigeration units that are opened and closed multiple times during the day and our wireless solution is in operation keeping food safe, providing compliance and peace of mind 24 hours a day in our busy customer’s lives.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
We improve food safety – protecting consumers and food serving businesses. We save money from reduced man-time and less food waste and we help to reduce refrigeration energy (one of the highest contributors to global warming) by optimising fridge and freezer temperatures.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
It is very much busier! Berlin is attracting more projects and more people. The infrastructure for startups has increased dramatically, access to great talent is strong and the investment community is very open and supportive.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
Pros of Berlin:
– Magnet for talent across Europe
– Great reputation for technology innovation
– Excellent transport hub
Cons of Berlin:
– Very competitive start-up landscape; resources have a lot of choice
– Staff are getting very expensive
– Property prices
Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?
We are proud to announce that KoolZone’s Vision and Technology Innovation has been recently recognised through winning two prestigious European Technology Innovation Awards. This along with the many positive responses and recommendations of our current customers is a great endorsement of our company development so far.
KoolZone was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.