The air distribution mat for Otflow refrigerated containers has not escaped the attention of the general public. After winning the Start-up funding event and the Rotterdam Entrepreneurs Award "Nieuw Helden", the company has now also been included in the Challenger50 list of Sprout.nl, a platform for fast-growing startups, scaleups and investors. The Challenger50 is an annual top list of companies that challenge the established order with an innovative model, better technology or a more social and greener business. The list will be presented for the fifteenth time this year
Origin of Otflow
Every day 750 refrigerated containers with fruit enter the port of Rotterdam. Unfortunately, the cooling does not work equally well in all corners of the containers, so that a lot of fruit is affected and lost during the journey. Otto de Groot devised a relatively simple, cardboard mat with which this temperature is evenly distributed, and all grapes and pears arrive at their destination in roughly the same condition. In 2016 he founded Otflow together with Ronald Hagenstein.
Marc Reijm, Otto de Groot and Ronald Hagenstein
Mat improves air flow
"Importers usually expect a loss of value of 5 to 8 percent during sea transport because the cold air does not move efficiently through a container. That is why, together with the Food & Biobased Research facility of Wageningen, we have developed the Otflow, a mat made of recycled material of 11 meters long that you place on the bottom of the refrigerated container. Thanks to its unique shape, it ensures optimal internal airflow. This keeps all the fruit nice and cool, meaning less physical loss and less financial loss, "says Hagenstein. "The mat is made of waterproof, strong cardboard from residual flows from the food industry, so we are also giving this material a second life."
Otflow is now gaining traction, with distributors in 11 countries and customers in 21 countries. "We are in the testing phase with 3 of the largest exporters of fresh fruit in South America." The mat makers will get through the corona crisis. "Because we have invested well in a solid base of buyers and distributors for four years. However, the momentum we had before the crisis could have taken us many steps further than where we are today. "
Who will go home with the title in 2020 will be announced on Tuesday 17 November. Then the 3 finalists will pitch in front of a solid jury, including Jacqueline van den Ende (Peak Capital), Erik de Heer (EYnovation), Marijn Pijnenborg (Winc Academy, Boralis), Constance Scholten (Slingshot Ventures) and Ruud Zanders (Kipster, Challenger of 2019).