Where are you from originally?
I’m from the Chicago area but allergic to cold winters. Love Austin.
What university did you go to?
I got my BSc. degree from the University of Manchester (England) in 1981 and then worked in industry for 10 years before going back to Johns Hopkins for a PhD. in materials science.
What is the idea behind your startup?
Basically, for all sorts of reasons, and today more than ever, people would like to be able to have a hot meal or drink anywhere and anytime. There’s strong market research to prove it. But while others have tried, there’s never been a self-heating packaging technology that offered all the performance, safety, and cost characteristics needed. That’s what we bring.
What need does it fulfill?
Our technology gives brand producers of packaged food and beverage the means to make their products available to consumers. It goes beyond the convenience of microwave ovens to create new dining opportunities: desktop or dashboard dining, freshly heated meals in a lunchbox, etc.
What exactly does it do?
We have invented and patented a compact, very efficient, and safe heater that fits into the base of a package and allows a consumer to push a button and have hot food or drink in 2 minutes.
Who is it for?
Convenience and mobility are designed into all sorts of new products, not just food and beverage because consumers want it. Our technology is the wireless or untethered app for eating out.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting up?
Raising funds for an early stage product concept. It’s easier now that we are funding commercialization and have active customer interest.
What is the next step for you and your business?
Our business model is licensing so we’ve already begun the process of transferring to a manufacturer and we’ll continue to work with them as they scale to high volume. Also product technical support; along with our packaging partners, we’re working with food & beverage brands who pay us to customize the product to their specific requirements.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Put a lot of thought into the team you need to accomplish the business objectives. The right team is what will make it successful. Network a lot.
What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?
Every problem you encounter has been met before so we’re very fortunate to be based in central Texas where there is an active entrepreneurial community to engage with.