BITO CAMPUS from Meisenheim in Rheinland-Pfalz, as a subsidiary of Fritz Bittmann Holding GmbH (holding company of BITO-Lagertechnik Bittmann GmbH) and Beteiligungsmanagement Gesellschaft Hessen (Hessen Kapital I GmbH) are investing a seven-digit amount in the smart cooler Startup TEC4MED LifeScience GmbH in a seed financing round.
In the seed financing round, Fritz Bittmann Holding GmbH and Hessen Kapital I GmbH join the Darmstadt-based startup TEC4MED LifeScience GmbH founded in 2017. The startup develops intelligent cooling solutions for transport and storage of temperature-sensitive goods. With Nelumbox, the company offers the world’s first active and fully digital cooling solution for pharmaceutical products and samples.
The cold chain logistics market has been growing steadily for years. For the pharmaceutical industry, the market with an annual growth rate of 8-9% and a total volume of approx. 13.4 billion USD is one of the strongest future markets in logistics. The same applies to e-commerce, where the last mile cold chain represents a major hurdle. Until today, the transport of temperature critical goods is exclusively carried out with passive (i.e. on cold packs or dry ice based) cooling boxes, which are accompanied by analogue solution concepts, a high susceptibility to errors and high costs. To date, there are no alternatives to actively cool or heat the boxes, i.e. electrically.
TEC4MED has now developed and patented an energy-efficient cooling technology that for the first time enables companies to actively transport products along the last mile in order to maintain the cold chain. With this product development, the startup creates an unprecedented infrastructure independence for companies in the field of pharmaceutical products. This innovation also makes it possible to integrate the “Internet of Things” into an integrated and process-optimizing system solution for the first time. For example, Nelumbox collects data on climate conditions inside and outside the box. This data can be automatically accessed, viewed and controlled via the Internet and the cloud. Thus, Nelumbox enables the user to be informed directly in the event of a deviation from the prescribed cooling temperature. This is an important control body for the protection of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products and samples and ensures that the cold chain is not interupted and a test series is not endangered.
With the pre-seed investment by BITO CAMPUS in December 2017, the first milestone for a strong, future-oriented partnership was laid. With the subsequent investment of the Seed-Round and the addition of Hessen Kapital I GmbH as a strong financial investor, the series transfer of Nelumbox as well as the product expansion into further areas are now fully financed. In the course of the financing round, the startup was represented by the law firm Hogan Lovells LLP by Philipp Weber, lawyer in the field of venture capital and M&A, who has strategically supported and advised the young company since its inception.
Overall, the cooperation with BITO-Lagertechnik Bittmann GmbH offers many options. BITO-Lagertechnik is one of the leading, internationally active storage technology specialists with an annual turnover of over 240 million euros. The company is one of the few full-range suppliers in the industry that develops, manufactures and markets high-quality shelving, container, order picking and transport systems. As a leading manufacturer in the plastics processing industry, the company’s comprehensive know-how in the production of plastic boxes provides the best possible support for the young startup on its way to series production. TEC4MED also benefits from the worldwide distribution network of the logistics expert.
The investment strategy of Beteiligungsmanagement Gesellschaft Hessen (BM H) is primarily aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises in Hessen and at technology-oriented founders within and outside universities. Altogether half of the invested sum was raised by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Darmstadt, which participated in the fund of Hessen Kapital I GmbH with a part of its surpluses. The aim of the recently concluded cooperation here is to support scientific spin-offs from universities in the Darmstadt start-up scene with venture capital, too.
In return, TEC4MED’s development offers a high-tech innovation in cooling technology based on a digital solution that opens up completely new market segments and business models with a high scaling potential.