Inventherm Wins Tech Grant for Ice Cream Machine
November 21, 2022
Device eliminates costly disassembly, cleaning with sterile process
BATON ROUGE — Inventherm, a tenant of LSU Innovation Park, has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a commercial prototype of its breakthrough soft-serve ice cream machine.
Inventherm’s Cremmjoy machines contain the product, whether soft-serve ice cream or slushies, in consumable packaging. As a result, the soft-serve mix never touches any part of the machine. This is a complete departure from the devices now used, which must be shut down, taken apart and cleaned, which can be a difficult and costly process. Conventional machines are also a significant contributor to foodborne illnesses, with some studies showing more than 50 percent of the machines are contaminated by unsatisfactory bacteria.
“We are thrilled to receive this Phase 2 funding to help us advance our soft-serve technology towards an initial design for manufacturing. In addition to the funding, this grant symbolizes a great vote of confidence from the USDA in support of our technology, our commitment to food safety and our commercialization plans,” said Jason Hugenroth, president and CEO of Inventherm and founder of Cremmjoy. “With this funding, along with several significant private investments, we are excited to develop the Cremmjoy technology and provide a superior alternative to the conventional machines on the market.”
The funding will take Inventherm’s machine from an early-stage laboratory prototype to a late-stage prototype on a clear path to manufacturability and commercialization, the USDA said in announcing the award.
Inventherm’s soft-serve ice cream and slush machines virtually eliminate the disassembly, cleaning and sanitizing process; produce aseptic or sterile products; and slash operating costs by several thousand dollars per machine each year, according to the USDA. Inventherm was the only Louisiana company among 34 firms nationwide awarded $21.6 million in Small Business Innovation Research funding.
The LSU Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development team walked Inventherm through the Small Business Innovation Research grant application. Grant expertise is just one of the services at LSU Innovation. Inventherm is also taking advantage of business consulting services through the Small Business Development Center that’s part of LSU Innovation, as well as affordable lease space at LSU Innovation Park, a 200-acre business incubator.
“There is nothing we like to see more than local entrepreneurs succeed. Helping tech companies like Inventherm secure seed funding from the federal government is part and parcel of LSU Innovation’s mission,” said Robert Twilley, LSU interim vice president of Research & Economic Development. “Inventherm and other tech startups play a crucial role in our state’s economy. When they thrive, they create jobs, and those jobs make sure that more of our residents stay in Louisiana.”
About LSU Innovation
LSU Innovation works with the LSU research community to facilitate the evaluation, protection and licensing of intellectual property created at LSU. LSU Innovation also focuses on establishing, developing and growing technology-based startup companies. This work maximizes the university's impact on the intellectual, economic and social development of Louisiana and beyond. LSU Innovation helps LSU entrepreneurs and the community evaluate their discoveries and ideas, mechanisms for protecting their innovations, marketing and industry negotiations for intellectual property and licensing and other agreements. The office also oversees LSU Innovation Park, a business incubator with more than 200 acres and 80,000 square feet of office and lab space.