The Cold Chain: Why It Matters Globally

From vaccines, organs, and medicines to food and industrial products, so many essentials rely on the cold chain.

Within global trade, the cold chain is the invisible backbone that powers our global economy.

Surprisingly, the importance of this critical system is often overlooked, even though it has a huge impact on our everyday lives.

Why We Need a Better Cold Chain

Improving the cold chain isn’t just about better logistics; it’s about smarter economics and greater sustainability.

Believe it or not, the cold chain industry is worth around $50 billion, and yet, it has an enormous, often hidden, carbon footprint.

An improved cold chain is a smart economic decision. Each year the medical industry loses $35 billion of temperature refrigerated products, while the agricultural industry reports annual losses of over $60 billion from poor refrigeration. To put that in perspective: 12 percent of total food production is lost because of poor refrigeration, according to a 2022 UN report.

12% of total food production is lost because of poor refrigeration.

Electrifying the cold chain could transform this. The main source of the problem is refrigerants, which are way more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of their greenhouse effect. Take R-22, a common refrigerant — it has a global warming potential (GWP) nearly 2,000 times that of CO2. Combined with refrigerants, the inefficiencies in the cold chain lead to a lot of waste. For example, food loss caused by challenges with the cold chain’s infrastructure is estimated to result in nearly 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually.

This creates a “time value of carbon” problem, where the immediate impact of refrigerants on our planet calls for urgent action. Not to mention, the cold chain uses a ton of energy, from powering cold rooms to freezing gel packs and more.

In recognition of these challenges, the World Economic Forum named Artyc one of its 2024 Technology Pioneers, highlighting the crucial role of the cold chain for business, society, and the environment.

Artyc is Electrifying the Cold Chain

Founded by second-time entrepreneurs Hannah Sieber (CEO) and Mark Langer (CTO), Artyc is leading the charge to tackle these big issues. The company aims to modernize and electrify the cold chain, creating a more reliable and sustainable system that reduces climate impact while improving access to vital goods. By rethinking the entire system, Artyc focuses on reuse, reliability, and efficiency.

a diagram of the artyc system

The company is building technology for an infrastructure-free cold chain, eliminating the need for refrigerated trucks and cold rooms. This is crucial because most spoilage happens during transfers between trucks and warehouses, and due to unexpected delays from natural disasters, customs, and more.

The Artyc Solution

Their solution is a settable, battery-powered cooling system with real-time tracking that enables precise temperature control. Since Artyc’s coolers are fully customizable, unlike anything else on the market, Artyc envisions a cold chain on demand, where temperature can be adjusted for each shipment and lane validation, emissions, spoilage and more can be tracked at the shipment level. This precise temperature control opens new forms of LTL (less-than-truckload) shipments that aren’t available today.

a rendering of artyc's medstow micro

Plus, the systems can plug into standard power outlets for extra, ancillary storage, making them more adaptable and sustainable than conventional methods that rely on dry ice.

By offering unprecedented insight and control over the cold chain, Artyc supports its customers in building a more reliable system that decreases spoilage and reduces emissions.

Powering an Electric Cold Chain

With Artyc’s Series A, led by Collab Fund, the company is ready to modernize the cold chain.

This investment will support the launch of Artyc’s second product, the Medstow 4L. This four-liter payload refrigerant-free battery-powered medical cooler offers extended reliability and precision for shipping medicines, vaccines, and more. The Medstow 4L can be customized to meet the needs of a wide variety of customers, from large biopharma companies to labs and hospital systems.

We envision a future where spoilage is a thing of the past.

Artyc has raised over $12 million from climate and hardware investors including Collab Fund, along with other top-tier climate and hardware investors Lowercarbon Capital, SOSV, MCJ, Course Corrected VC, Massive and more joining the round.

We envision a future where spoilage is a thing of the past, and refrigerants are only used in extreme situations. Artyc is building the necessary hardware and software to rethink the cold chain, offering more reliable, cost-effective, and cleaner solutions. And they are just getting started.

Want to learn more about Artyc’s cold chain solutions? Chat with their team to get started.