A couple of young entrepreneurs at University at Buffalo have come up with an ingenious way for students, office workers, and others, to safely refrigerate their food while at school or at work. UB alumni Elijah Tyson and Abid Alam are calling their new concept ColdSpace. The initial prototype of the high-tech food storage convenience has been launched at UB, at the office of UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars (managed by BEP), where Tyson and Alam are both venture coaches.
The way the ColdSpace system works is that a student, for example, would bring a lunch from home to school. Instead of keeping it in a backpack, getting rank, the student can opt to download the ColdSpace app, which interacts with the compartmentalized storage refrigerator. The same thing would apply to an office worker that doesn’t want co-workers pilfering his or her lunch. The app can locate the nearest ColdSpace machine, and then provide a cool storage locker for the food, for as long as the user requires.
UB has a number of different ways for its students to develop and launch their concepts, including Entrepreneurship Lab (eLab), Buffalo Student Sandbox, pitch contests, help from regional partners (such as Launch NY and 43North), courses on entrepreneurship, and even the annual Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition. The hope is that when the students’ ideas do come to fruition, they choose to stay in Buffalo, which is exactly what Tyson and Alam plan in doing – Tyson is from Long Island, and Alam is from Chittagong, Bangladesh.
“It’s a tight-knit community here in Buffalo. All the entrepreneurs know what’s going on in the ecosystem, and we help each other out,” says UB MBA student Alam.
Tyson (bachelor’s degree in business administration) and Alam (bachelor’s degree in accounting) say that their desire to operate out of Buffalo is not only due to the resources available, but also the affordable cost of living. Along the way, they want to share what they have learned with others in the start-up community.
“Taking the leap into entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Support is critical, and as a venture coach, I can tell students from a practical standpoint what it’s going to take, all the grit,” Tyson says. “I volunteer because I think we have a great startup culture here. I benefited from it, and now I’m sharing what I learned with the next entrepreneurs.”
“Innovation and a strong startup culture are vital to a flourishing economy, and we’re hearing from our students that there’s a lot to discover here at UB when it comes to entrepreneurship,” says Christina Orsi, associate vice president for economic development at UB. “By investing in Western New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, we’re laying the foundation for economic growth that will bring new jobs to the region.”
Lead image: UB alumni Elijah Tyson, left, and Abid Alam | Credit: ColdSpace | Hat tip: Charlotte Hsu @ UB News