Verigo Keeps Products Fresh and Ideas Fresher
Remember that time you bought bae the perfect flower bouquet only to find the flowers wilted and dead (hopefully not like your love) a day later? Or the time you pissed everyone off behind you at Publix because you took 10 minutes picking out the most succulent batch of strawberries only to find them gross and moldy a few days later?
Nothing quite ruins your day like expecting your fresh goods to be well…fresh, and finding them spoiled shortly after buying them.
The problem is rooted in the perishable supply chain, that is, the distance and time it takes for perishable goods, like fruits, veggies and meats, to move from where they are grown to where you (the end consumer) can buy them and put them on your plate.
The reason some of these goods spoil is due to weaknesses in the integrity of the cold supply chain. How do you know that the basket of strawberries you just bought didn’t experience unusual amounts of heat in their long journey from farms in California? Or that the truck driver didn’t accidentally leave the semi-door open when he stopped at Cafe Risque for a sandwich and some ass (not at the same time, hopefully)?
Ensuring that goods are kept at optimal temperatures and humidity levels is a contemporary problem in food logistics. About $40 billion worth of losses are sustained in the U.S. food logistics market each year, and a portion of it is attributable to the lack of accountability in the transit of these perishable goods.
A local tech startup is gearing up to fight this massive problem. Verigo, which operates out of UF’s Innovation Hub, manufactures “pods,” temperature and humidity monitoring solutions. These small handheld devices can be placed in the bed of a truck, for example, carrying thousands of fresh strawberries. The pods measure the temperature and humidity in their immediate surrounding and send the data via Bluetooth to Verigo’s cloud site. Users can then see the data recorded by the pods in real time.
Verigo’s pods and cloud solutions give the players in the perishable supply chain a useful tool in maintaining the integrity of fresh goods. Being able to detect fluctuations in temperature and humidity on the long road from farm to plate ensures that the batches of fresh goods that are likely to spoil will never reach your fridge. Transparency and accountability are the name of the game in a modern food system, and Verigo is leading the charge to ensure only the freshest goods can make it to your plate.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the founder and president of Verigo, Adam Kinsey. This former engineering Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida dropped out to bring Verigo where it is today.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced with Verigo?
There are so many big challenges, but I would say the biggest ongoing challenge is just really finding talent. From the beginning of the company, finding the right people, establishing the right team, recruiting and retaining. It’s the challenge of personnel.
What do think has been the biggest driver of Verigo’s success?
Luckily, we have product market fit. There is legitimate need in the industry. There is a new tech and new platform that makes it possible to bring a lot of value to an industry, and we’re in a good place. We’re in the kind of industry that is undergoing a transformation, and we have a genuine value proposition to bring.
Why is Verigo’s work important?
Verigo’s work improves everyone’s safety and quality of life. We ensure that critical food and pharmaceutical products that people rely on everyday are safe and high quality. We’re talking fewer illnesses and greater efficacy, all while making the system more sustainable by reducing losses in the process.
What real impact does Verigo’s work have on college students/young professionals?
The world is a difficult, competitive place. If you want to end up on the top end of the bell curve, you have to be superior. Verigo is a small group of focused people that has to be excellent in every way to compete professionally with much larger, better funded groups of people. We have to accomplish the same professional and business tasks that bigger companies do, better than they do it. If a student/young professional wants to learn how to be professionally superior to people in big, successful businesses, join a company like Verigo.
What is the coolest aspect of “startup” life?
The networks you form. Pitching/selling to, working with, helping, and closing deals with amazing people who are leaders in companies around the world, who don’t know or care that you might be half their age; accomplishing in 5 years as much as other people do in their entire careers.