Cold supply chains: Levins on pitching at SXSW 2023

James Riley
Editorial Director

When I interview Paul Levins, he is sitting in Spanish villa-style ranch house in a small community about an hour’s drive north of Austin, Texas, where he has been attending the South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual mega-fest of film, tech, music and culture.

Mr Levins is a co-founder at Sydney-based startup EverCase, which is commercialising a new to the world technology addressing the cold supply chain. Literally, the EverCase technology allows for the sub-zero storage and transportation of goods without the damage caused by the formation of ice in the freezing process.

The reason Paul Levins was putting his feet up at a ranch house near Austin is that he had just pitched the company at SXSW, a giant stage for an Aussie startup.

In this episode of the Commercial Disco, he talks about the EverCase technology, the SXSW pitching process, and then the conversation turns to innovation policy in Australia – and Mr Levins proposals put forward in The Innovations Papers last year for establishing a National Innovation Network.

The EverCase is technology is based on research from the University of Hawaii, funded by the US Department of Agriculture and incubated at Xerox PARC (the famed Palo Alto Research Centre). It’s very interesting tech with a great pedigree.

Of the 700 startups that apply to pitch at SXSW, just 40 are selected to pitch across eight categories. Describing how the company came to be selected for the pitch, he says – joking – that EverCase has the good fortune of having a founder that says exactly what every founder says about their technology: That the tech is “extraordinary and game-changing”.

“EverCase is a technology in the cold supply chain that essentially keeps food and biologicals at freezing temperatures without any ice forming,” Mr Levins said.

EverCase co-founder Paul Levins

“It’s a little bit hard to get your head around. But if you stick something in a freezer and you leave it in there for a few hours, eventually ice crystals start to form… and the whole thing goes solid, from ice,” he said.

“And when that happens, the ice crystals puncture the cells, and that means that the moisture inside it escapes. And that means things that are particularly perishable, like fish, berries, really delicate stuff like tofu… [or]prawns, those things get very irreversibly damaged by the freezing process.

“What EverCase does is it allows you to lower that temperature, and not have that effect [from ice]. And that means you get all the advantages of freezing without any of the disadvantages,” Mr Levins said.

In a global market for frozen foods, the technology addresses a massive market.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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