A Pierceton cryotherapy products company will advance to participate in a statewide investment pitch competition after taking first place at the regional level.
CoolCorp Inc. was selected by a panel of four judges as the winner of the Blaze regional investment pitch competition, which Founders Spark, Start Fort Wayne and Venture Club of Indiana held July 9 at the Philmore on Broadway in Fort Wayne.
Ten business founders were allowed to give 4-minute presentations designed to convince judges that an investment in their young companies would have good potential for a high return. They then had four more minutes to answer questions from the judges.
In addition to a $3,000 prize, the winner received the right to participate in the Venture Club of Indiana’s 2019 Innovation Showcase, a statewide investment pitch competition scheduled for Aug. 22 in Indianapolis, which will be attended by venture capitalists from across the country.
CoolCorp is an S-corporation founded in 2016 by Wesley Gensch, who learned a lot about cryotherapy through personal experience as an injured pitcher on a baseball team at Grace College in Winona Lake.
“I suffered a near career-ending injury that caused me to have to ice up to five times a day. So I scoured throughout the market to try to find a product that was going to provide compression, cryotherapy and also allow me to go to class,” he told the judges.
“Millions of people are suffering sprains and traumatic injuries. The key is compression with cryotherapy. Clinical studies show that compression cryotherapy has less pain and less swelling compared to cryotherapy alone.”
The research he conducted convinced Gensch he could come up with a highly competitive compression cryotherapy product.
“As you can see looking at our competitors, nobody really sticks with compression cryotherapy from a mobile aspect except for maybe Squid, and you don’t want to know what those prices are,” he said.
The CoolCorp lineup includes products that have cooling gelpacks capable of wrapping all the way around a limb, with personalized air compression. Its systems also have a stay-cool, moisture-wicking inner fabric to minimize the mess typically associated with icing therapy for injury recovery.
The products can be ordered via the company’s website at www.coolcorpinc.com/collections/all, which shows them ranging in price from about $30 to about $150.
The company outsources parts production to a Fort Wayne manufacturer and handles product pre-assembly, inspection and shipping in addition to sales.
CoolCorp already has a highly sustainable profit margin doing builds of 100 and expects to see its cost-per-unit drop 10% to 20% as its volume increases tenfold and more.
“We’re meeting with doctors and physical therapists and getting the word out there. Then we’ll spread out to our DMEs, our durable medical equipment suppliers, and they can help reach different aspects of our market,” Gensch said.
“We have either sales or trials in Parkview Health, Advantage Home Health Systems, a couple of local area colleges and six professional baseball players,” he said.
CoolCorp has a patent pending on its products and would like to fund a study evaluating their quality and effectiveness in comparison with competing products, he said.
The second-place recipient of a $2,000 prize in the Blaze investment pitch competition was the Bukal Beverage Co. founded by Robert Johnson, which sells flavored sparkling water free of calories and artificial ingredients.
A People’s Choice Award, which came with a $1,000 prize, went to Kyle Craig, founder of Apollo Dynamics, Inc., who said he has developed “a better way to analyze human motion for the purposes of research, injury prevention and better rehabilitation.”
Most, but not all of the founders making pitches at Blaze had received $1,000 grants from the Fortitude Fund, which Elevate Northeast Indiana started last year to help develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region by providing its most promising entrepreneurs with community, mentorship and money.
The fund was modeled on the successful national micro grant program of the Peter Thiel-backed 1517 Fund.
Nick Arnett, who chairs the Fortitude Fund’s advisory board and also is 1517’s community manager, honored Emporia — a local startup specializing in simple, guided marketing software — with special recognition at the event. Emporia was founded by Justin Sheehan.