Food waste and refrigeration are two of the three leading causes of global warming. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing to eight percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. By the time food gets to consumers, dilapidated refrigeration equipment in supermarkets, restaurants, and other food service locations can release gases that are up to 9,000 times more hazardous to the environment than carbon dioxide. The environment needs refrigeration to move into the digital age and for the food industry to adopt smart technology that detects and prevents these emissions.
In its fifth year of operation, Therma (formerly CoInspect) is transforming food safety and sustainability from farm to fork. Used by suppliers, food manufacturers, restaurants and supermarkets, Therma’s namesake product uses new IoT technology to minimize food waste by monitoring temperature and humidity in refrigeration systems 24/7. Therma sends alerts when problems occur, decreasing the impact of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions into the environment as systems age, and saving companies up to $15,000 a year per unit on unnecessary spoilage and manual labor costs. Therma’s mobile application, CoInspect, helps businesses monitor food safety compliance by simplifying daily manual quality control checks.
“We are making a meaningful dent in food waste and food spoilage by ensuring safety and sustainability of food with our solutions,” says Manik Suri, co-founder and CEO of Therma. Manik has made a career out of solving broken workflows. He served as a White House policy advisor in the Obama administration and co-founded the GovLab Technology Center at New York University. We asked Manik a few questions about how his startup is minimizing food waste one refrigerator at a time.
- What is the problem that your technology solves?
We build smart refrigeration IoT sensors to eliminate $150 billon in annual food waste due to improper storage and handling across the global food supply chain.
- What is the global impact of the technology?
Therma is reducing food waste due to unapt temperature controls across the supply chain, while also reducing refrigeration equipment downtime — both of which have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Why is this such an important issue to fix?
Our climate crisis is getting worse each year and we need innovative, scalable and highly leveraged solutions to address it now. That’s why our mission is: “Protect our food, and our planet.”
- Why is this tech scalable?
Our Therma platform consists of a network of secure, reliable, affordable, and easy-to-install IoT sensors that use long-range, low-power, low-bandwidth radio (LoRa) to communicate temperature readings 24/7 across the world. Combined with a cloud-based reporting and data storage web application, we deploy Therma quickly and easily to customers around the world. Our vision is to launch Therma across millions of refrigeration units to build a smart cold chain.
- Why is your company the right company to help fix this issue?
We were founded by executives from Harvard, Columbia and UCLA, and are backed by leading venture capitalists in New York and Silicon Valley. Our leadership team has previously built and sold multiple tech companies, raised over $100 million (for previous ventures), and built enterprise software and hardware for more than a decade. At our core, we share a deep desire to work on meaningful problems and building technology solutions that are both commercially scalable and socially impactful. Moreover, we share a passion for food. Our team includes former chefs, bakers and restaurant managers. We’re applying that experience to make our food supply chain more sustainable.
To learn more about Therma go to hellotherma.com.