Artyc Unboxed
4 minutes

Artyc Unboxed: Origin Story

Discover how Artyc got started, blending innovation with sustainability to decarbonize the cold chain.
Written by
Max Reintertsen
Published on
July 27, 2023


In the spirit of transparency and openness - a cornerstone of our culture at Artyc - we’re excited to launch “Artyc Unboxed.” This series is an invitation to explore the motivations, decisions, and people that shape Artyc.

From our earliest days, we’ve believed that sharing our story goes beyond merely highlighting our products and solutions. It’s about creating a wider community dedicated to reimagining our approach to environmental challenges.

In this first edition, we take it back to the beginning, detailing how our co-founders Hannah and Mark came together, the challenges that steered our direction, and the approach we’ve taken to address the pressing issues of the cold chain.

Paths to Artyc

Before Artyc became a reality, Hannah and Mark were on separate but parallel paths, driven by an interest in environmental sustainability and technological innovation.

Hannah was deep into her Masters in Earth Systems and an MBA at Stanford, where her focus was set on environmental challenges. She was particularly engrossed in the study of California's wildfires, a pressing issue responsible for 10-25% of the state's emissions in any given year. As part of her graduate work, Hannah collaborated with Cal-Fire to improve systems for identifying, containing, and planning evacuations during wildfires.

Mark's path, though distinct, was paralleled in its dedication to combatting climate change. As an early engineer at several climate-tech startups, his expertise ranged from EV charging solutions to exploring renewable energy potentials with tidal waves. His decision to leave NASA was propelled by a desire to apply his technical skills and innovative mindset directly to the climate crisis, making tangible impacts beyond the confines of traditional engineering roles.

A Fortuitous Meeting

Their paths crossed in the spring of 2021 when they met during an online climate meet-up. Despite the virtual setting, their shared enthusiasm for leveraging technology against environmental crises sparked an immediate connection. They began collaborating on projects, the first of which focused on deploying sensor technologies to track the movement of assets during wildfires—a testament to their shared belief in the power of hardware to provide hardware-enabled solutions.

It wasn’t long before their discussions veered towards a less visible but equally critical front in the fight against climate change: the cold chain. The COVID-19 pandemic had laid bare the vulnerabilities in global cold chain logistics, from vaccine delivery inefficiencies to widespread food spoilage. Concurrently, the 2020 IPCC report had highlighted refrigerants, substances used in cooling and refrigeration, as a top climate challenge. This is due to their staggeringly high Global Warming Potential (GWP).

For instance, Freon, a commonly used refrigerant, boasts a GWP of 1,430—meaning it's 1,430 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere. The longevity of these chemicals in the atmosphere, coupled with their potency, underscores an urgent need for solutions. Despite comprising a small segment of total refrigerant use, the cold chain was responsible for up to 4% of global emissions — stemming from refrigerant leakage, excessive electricity use, and the resultant food spoilage.

For Hannah and Mark, the cold chain's significance was clear. It underpinned vital aspects of modern society, from healthcare delivery to global food systems, yet it was fraught with inefficiencies and environmental hazards. Refrigerant leaks, energy consumption, and the resulting food spoilage not only contributed significantly to global emissions but also represented a failure to safeguard essential resources and services.

Founding Artyc

Driven by the urgent need for innovation within the cold chain, Hannah and Mark saw an opportunity to combine their skills and passions to make a difference. They envisioned a solution that could address the environmental impact of refrigerants, improve the efficiency of cold chain logistics, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable and resilient global infrastructure.

Everything just started to coalesce, and Mark and I said, 'Okay, there's something here.'... It's clear that there was a huge market, and turns out it's a $300 billion market when you think about cold chain logistics. - Hannah Sieber, CEO and Cofounder

This vision became the foundation of Artyc. Together, they set out to develop battery-powered cooling systems that used advanced thermoelectric technology for shipping temperature-sensitive goods. Their goal was to create a solution that was not only environmentally friendly but also reliable and efficient, capable of maintaining precise temperatures to prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of products.

Unboxing the Future: What’s Next?

“Artyc Unboxed” is set to be a blend of insights, experiences, and ideas, drawn not only from our founders but from the diverse voices across our entire team. In upcoming editions, you’ll hear from our department leads in operations, engineering, R&D, design, and more, each sharing their perspectives and the role they play in shaping Artyc’s future. From the drawing board to deployment, these stories will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges we face, the solutions we develop, and the impact we aim to achieve.

Join us as we continue to unbox the story of Artyc, revealing the essence of who we are, what drives us, and where we’re headed. We invite you to engage with us, share your thoughts, and become an active participant in shaping a cooler, more sustainable future.

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