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SnoFox Raises $4.5M for its Data Analytics Platform for Cold Storage Facilities – AlleyWatch

Since Frederick Jones invented the first portable cooling unit for vehicles in 1938, the cold chain has been an integral part of logistics, handling everything from food to life-saving pharmaceuticals.  Having the ability to maintain optimal temperature ranges and air quality for all parties including manufacturers, shippers, and ultimately, the end consumers has made the distance between various regions much smaller and enabled an unprecedented era of trade and access.  SnoFox is an analytics platform built for the management of cold storage warehouses.  The platform uses existing IoT sensors in facilities (no additional hardware required) to uncover efficiencies and decrease energy usage in storage facilities beyond the capabilities of traditional monitoring systems. 78% of cold storage facilities in the US were built prior to 2000 and on average are 42 years old; by incorporating SnoFox, facilities can introduce 40% more cooling efficiency.   The company is emerging from stealth after working with operators with over 1 million square feet of cold storage, saving them in energy costs, reducing spoilage, and reducing the need for maintenance.

AlleyWatch caught up with SnoFox CEO Ben Rubin to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more…

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?  

We have officially launched from stealth mode with $4.5M in Seed funding. This round was led by Voyager Ventures, with participation from Pale Blue Dot, Ponderosa Ventures, and Mudcake. This seed round brings our total funding to date to $5.7M. 

Tell us about the product or service that SnoFox offers.

SnoFox specializes in providing advanced analytics solutions designed to optimize efficiency and minimize energy usage within the cold industrial sector. Leveraging existing facility data and proprietary algorithms, SnoFox precisely identifies areas within cooling systems that can be improved to significantly increase energy efficiency, ultimately reducing waste and creating a sustainable cold chain. With SnoFox’s data-driven insights, cold storage facilities are empowered to make changes that improve facility cooling efficiency by up to 40%.

What inspired the start of SnoFox?

SnoFox was founded as an idea inspired by the global vaccine supply chain challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our father, Dr. Harvey Rubin is the founder of the non-profit Energize the Chain, which ensures the delivery of vaccines in the developing world by utilizing extra energy created by cell phone tower sites to power vaccine refrigeration systems, extending the vaccine cold chain to the most remote parts of the world.

In 2020, we partnered with our father on an Energize the Chain project in Myanmar. Due to pandemic shutdowns and a raging civil war in the country, we needed to figure out how to monitor the vaccine refrigeration systems remotely. After some tinkering, we realized that the challenge wasn’t physically collecting the data, but how to leverage it to make decisions. Without installing additional hardware, we could use the data already collected by the refrigeration system to make changes to increase operational efficiency, improve maintenance processes, and save energy costs.

We realized that the same technology that improved the energy efficiency in a tiny vaccine refrigerator in Myanmar could solve bigger problems across the global cold chain. The idea for SnoFox was born.

Today, over 1 million square feet of industrial cold storage warehouse space across seven states use SnoFox to improve operational efficiency, eliminate waste, and reduce energy usage to create a sustainable cold chain.

How is SnoFox different?

  1. Software, Not Hardware: The SnoFox software platform leverages existing refrigeration data, proprietary algorithms, and remote technology to extract insights, enhancing cold storage warehouse efficiency and reducing energy usage without the need for any additional hardware.
  2. Partner-Oriented: By providing cooling facilities managers with predictive analytics, our solution offers data-driven recommendations for effective maintenance planning. It identifies potential issues and malfunctions in advance, preventing costly breakdowns and maximizing productivity.
  3. Environmentally Responsible: Maximizing energy efficiency in cooling facilities reduces costs and minimizes environmental pollution. A more efficient operation lowers energy expenses and reduces environmental impact.
  4. Standardized Performance Metrics: SnoFox introduces a standardized efficiency metric, the Coefficient of Performance, enabling comparisons of temperature control efficiency across different cold storage warehouses throughout the United States.

What market does SnoFox target and how big is it?

 SnoFox strives to help the cold supply chain meet its net-zero carbon goals and minimize waste through data-driven efficiencies. The global cold chain market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6% from 2023 to 2030.

What’s your business model?

We are an annual subscription SaaS provider

How are you preparing for a potential economic slowdown?

Our business is fairly resistant to economic challenges – no matter the market, products need to be kept cold from food to vaccines, to medicine. We have an incredibly lean and strong team and we are focused on making smart, strategic business practices that will keep us moving forward.

 What was the funding process like?

The process for our seed round was incredibly quick and efficient. From start to finish, it took us less than three weeks to pitch and secure the capital. This speaks directly to the timeliness of our technology, the space we’re in, and the efforts of our amazing team.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

We really didn’t face any challenges. We enjoy educating people and investors on the cold chain space and why it matters. It’s an industry that impacts everyone in one way or another and it’s exciting for us to explain the challenges and how we’re trying to solve them.

There were people we spoke with who didn’t get our solution and why it’s needed, which is OK! This led us to those who do understand it and who care about making an impact.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

It’s a multi-faceted problem that we’re trying to solve within the cold chain: food waste, energy waste, and carbon emissions. Our solution can improve all of these things, putting SnoFox at an interesting intersection of innovation. The investors who support us are passionate about these issues and they understand the potential within the cold chain and why our solution is needed.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

SnoFox plans to soon have 10 facilities across 7 U.S. states pioneering its technology for advanced machine learning and business intelligence in their warehouses. 

SnoFox plans to soon have 10 facilities across 7 U.S. states pioneering its technology for advanced machine learning and business intelligence in their warehouses. 

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Focus on the story. What are you trying to say? Investors want to understand the importance of the space you’re in, the overarching problem, and the implications that problem will have in the next five, 10, to 20 years. Most importantly, they want to understand how you are solving this problem in an innovative way

Telling your story in the right way will secure you the capital you need.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

SnoFox will use the funds to reach new customers in more markets across the US, as well as hire new talent as demand for energy efficiency grows within the global cold chain. SnoFox plans to soon have 10 facilities across 7 U.S. states pioneering its technology for advanced machine learning and business intelligence in their warehouses.

What’s your favorite summer destination in and around the city?

Hiking in Cold Spring Harbor!

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