A local startup company is putting a new spin on traditional fundraising methods.
Spin Chill, founded by UF student Trevor Abbott and UF alumnus Ty Parker, has entered the second FedEx Small Business Grant Contest to compete for the grand prize of $25,000.
The company produces handheld devices that can cool a warm drink in 30 to 60 seconds by spinning it in a cooler of ice.
FedEx spokeswoman Katie Wassmer said she thinks the FedEx grant competition is a great learning experience for entrepreneurial-minded students.
“I think students who participate can learn more about what it takes to be a small-business owner, what it takes to go after their dreams and what it takes to reach their goals,” Wassmer said.
Anyone can vote once a day until Feb. 23, and FedEx will announce the 100 businesses with the most votes on Feb. 26.
Abbott, 21, and Parker, 24, are no strangers to unorthodox fundraising methods after raising $40,000 in 30 days with Kickstarter.
With the Kickstarter crowdfunding, they were able take their handheld model from the prototype stage to today’s final product.
If the pair wins the grant, Abbott said they will use the money to finalize packaging and create retail displays.
The UF mechanical engineering senior said he also hopes to expand the product line, focusing less on social applications and more on solutions to increase efficiency for businesses.
One of the biggest losses for the bar industry is the energy wasted by glass-front refrigerators, he said.
Abbott said he believes they could take those refrigerators and either repurpose them or create a new product to replace them.
“We’ll do some studies and find out if spin-chilling the beers is more cost-effective than putting them in a glass-front refrigerator,” Parker said.
If the pair finds a solution, Spin Chill technology could find a place in the bar industry where business moves too fast to spin the drinks one-by-one.
Ian Mitchell, president of UF’s Entrepreneurship Club, said the company is unique because it has been able to succeed without taking large investments or moving out of town, unlike other local startups.
“There’s this sort of false idea that you have to leave Gainesville to do anything important,” said Mitchell, a 20-year-old UF international business graduate student. “In Gainesville, you can fail or succeed extremely cheaply, and that’s something that is very rare to find alongside the wealth of resources that we have.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 2/12/2014 under the headline "Spin Chill startup competes for $25K, wants to expand products"]