April 11, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
Cold idea wins SRU competition
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Andrew Frank, a Slippery Rock University marketing major from Severna Park, Md. is Keepin Cold with a cool $1,000 as winner of SRU’s Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator “Rock the Boat Business Pitch Competition.”
Frank, who partnered with Brian Brodeur, an SRU communication major from Saxonburg, for help in preparing his “business pitch” said, “This is an idea that I really think will work.”
His idea is a sleeve for dry ice that can be placed in a cooler to keep food cold for a whole day.
“The idea came when I was driving back to my Slippery Rock apartment after visiting my parents in Maryland. I had food items, including some frozen meats, in the car, but I had to stop every couple of hours to replenish the ice – it was costly and inconvenient,” he said.
Frank said dry ice is both colder and more efficient, but without his special sleeve it can lead to freezer burn if placed directly on frozen packages and does not keep the entire cooler cold enough if placed on the bottom.
Frank, known as “Kyle” to his friends, was recognized at the conclusion of last week’s business pitch competition that asked students to submit two-minute business or product pitches that could be delivered to potential investors during a short elevator ride.
The competition was part of SRU’s School of Business Week that included visiting lecturers and social events for the school’s majors.
The Keepin Cold product idea was selected from a group of five finalists by a panel of judges that included Robert Fishbone, author of “Selling the Scream, who was on campus to deliver a lecture as part of the week’s events, and William Ringle, a former metals industry executive and president of System Ringle.
Frank said he was working on a proto-type and a patent.
“My mom can sew, so I am hoping she can finish the proto-type early this summer. Then we can move ahead with finishing the patent. My marketing plan is to contact dry ice manufacturers and convince them to stock Keepin Cold. It is a natural match,” he said.
Frank said he sees the product’s growth based in part on demand, and says once people see that dry ice is more efficient, they might use Keepin Cold when they are having summer parties to keep beverages and other food items cold.
“I was confident going into the final round of the pitch competition, and I knew my pitch was good. I know it will work,” he said.
As for the winnings, Frank said he planned to give some to his partner who helped with writing the pitch, use $500 toward the patent, some of the money for school and “some for fun things.”
“Andrew’s Keepin Cool pitch was based on an innovative concept,” said Richard Grimm, associate professor in SRU’s School of Business and an organizer of the pitch competition.
“The judges felt that there may be a strong market for this product, because it requires less cooler space than conventional ice, lasts longer and can be retrofited to existing coolers. I personally think the idea may be well suited for a variety of applications beyond traditional uses. For example, in lesser-developed countries, located in warm climates, there can be problems keeping certain vaccines and medicines cool during transit to remote locations. This idea might help extend the reach to indigenous populations and save lives if dry ice can be found at the shipping point.”
Others in the final round of the pitch competition included:
· “A Plan for Tomorrow” College Funding Advisors, presented by Courtney Baker-Schroat, a senior accounting and finance major from Brackenridge, who envisions an organization that helps prospective college students make informed decisions about financing a college education and guides them through the process of obtaining financial aid;
· Cocoa Premo, an idea of Chris Becker, a senior accounting and Asian studies major from Valencia, that followed the Starbucks business model, but focused on hot and cold cocoa-based beverages offered quickly – and at reasonable prices;
· College Club Funding, an idea of Kurtis Jones, a senior finance major from Greenville, is an organization that kickstarts fundraising events for student organizations. His team includes Zachary Kunig from Pittsburgh and Thomas Ujazdowski from Gibsonia, both senior finance majors; and
· I-Rock Taxi, presented by Nicholas Martin, a finance major from West Finley. His concept is to provide a livery service that would serve the University and community. Martin’s plan calls for providing 24-hour service thus increasing transportation availability and potentially reducing local incidents of driving under the influence. He has two partners in the proposed venture.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.