Purdue Startup Mixes Tech With Frozen Yogurt

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The first FroYo Xpress kiosk is expected to be installed next year on the Purdue campus. The first FroYo Xpress kiosk is expected to be installed next year on the Purdue campus.

A group of Purdue University students has developed self-serve frozen yogurt technology that will soon make its debut on the West Lafayette campus. FroYo Xpress is an automated frozen yogurt kiosk and the startup has already received more than $33,000 in seed funding. During The Innovators with Dr. K on Inside INdiana Business Television, co-founder Henry Berkemeier said the goal is to reduce the high overhead costs associated with brick-and-mortar frozen yogurt shops.

The kiosk allows customers to buy as much frozen yogurt as they desire and charges them based on the volume of frozen yogurt dispensed. The kiosk uses pre-existing customer service software to monitor the volume, but the startup says it will add a "unique self-serve algorithm to create the interactive customer experience."

Berkemeier says frozen yogurt is a more than $2 billion industry.

"It's mainly been in the brick-and-mortar shops since frozen yogurt's existence," said Berkemeier. "The thing with brick-and-mortar shops is they're not very profitably because they need high foot traffic. So we're reducing the costs in overhead with the brick-and-mortar shops and we're able to have an inexpensive machine that's able to produce high profit."

Berkemeier says they have a manufacturer lined up and are in talks with Purdue to finalize their first location by the end of the current semester. He says the goal is to install the kiosk at that location at the start of the next semester.

Berkemeier says the startup will do a six-to-eight month trial once the first location is up and running and will then look to expand locally and statewide with the goal of going national. He says the FroYo Xpress kiosks will fit in any locations with high foot traffic such as college campuses, movie theaters and airports.

Dr. K offered his "Three C's" for growing FroYo XPress:

  • Credibility: Find a frozen yogurt kiosk location to establish viability as a real venture
  • Customers: Demonstrate viability by selecting target kiosk sites that attract actual customers
  • Capital: Focus on the valuable sources of capital that can move you to the next level which might include strategic partners with a reputation
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