Polsky Center
66685fadf04b455c7574dd19 Freshx2

Cold chain startup wins $1M investment

June 11, 2024
Student-led FreshX secures largest prize in New Venture Challenge history for its AI-powered software that helps companies manage temperature-controlled transportation and storage.

FreshX recently captured a $1 million investment, including the $185,000 Rattan L. Khosa first-place prize, during the 28th annual New Venture Challenge, a competition for MBA students at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

FreshX is a student-led startup that developed AI-powered supply chain software that helps food companies and freight brokers book and manage cold chain transportation and storage. The software is designed to help companies manage an increasingly complex cold supply chain, providing “fast, transparent, and flexible solutions” for temperature-controlled freight.

“We’re still in shock, but we’re unbelievably excited to win this award and to have finished first place in a competition with so many impressive teams,” Clay Curran, FreshX founder and CEO, said in a news release. “It’s exactly what FreshX needs right now, and this investment will go a long way in our success as we continue to develop our product and look to grow.”

The $1 million investment is the most ever given to a team in the NVC, officials reported.

The judges awarded $1.9 million in total investment money to the 11 teams competing in the finals, representing the largest investment pool in NVC history.

“We’ve always believed that the NVC has been life changing for our participating students,” said Mark Tebbe, an adjunct professor at the university’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “With this investment pool size, and especially with the $1 million investment in FreshX, it’s clear the entire NVC ecosystem is actively working to put every participant on a great path to their potential success.”

Encore Marketplace, a resale platform focused on solving problems that turn Gen Z and Millennials away from legacy marketplaces such as eBay or Craigslist, and Herriot, an AI decision support tool aimed at helping veterinarians deliver great care efficiently, tied for second place, with Encore receiving $345,000 and Herriot receiving $170,000.

The finalists represented a diverse group of startups. They presented their business plans to a judging panel made up of 30 investors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders who deliberated behind closed doors before announcing the winners.

“It was another phenomenal year for the NVC, and we are so happy to see a record level of investment in the teams,” said Steven Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago. “This remarkable milestone is a testament to the exceptional quality of the teams that participated this year.

“I am looking forward to seeing what these teams accomplish.”

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