MaxQ Research has maxed out its manufacturing space and returned to the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development to launch its thermal package qualification testing laboratory.
“We’ve simply outgrown our current space,” said Saravan Kumar, MaxQ Research CEO. “We explored a variety of locations in Stillwater and quickly realized the Center for Business Development was the best fit.”
MaxQ specializes in thermal control shipping and storage systems. The company has several standard shipping packages and also creates user-centric solutions based on their clients’ needs. Their patented MaxPlus thermal control solutions allow blood and other biological products such as nerve graphs, bone marrow and stem cells to be transported in precise temperature regulated pack-outs. The packages are lightweight, reusable and inhibit waste due to packaging limitations.
MAXIFY, their pioneering technology, ensures products arrive at a receiving facility at the required content temperature. Their newest product, the MaxPlus Alpha Cooler, has an integrated temperature monitoring system that enables customers to interact with the cooler through a mobile app to monitor the product’s temperature and integrity throughout storage.
“We started with advanced packaging. Now we are delivering precise, turnkey, total best value solutions,” Kumar said regarding the company’s groundbreaking approach to thermal shipping.
Custom Space for a Custom Product
MaxQ customers include multiple hospitals and blood banks that reach across the country. Earlier this month, the company finalized a partnership with Blood Centers of America to provide shipping solutions to its 52 independent blood centers throughout North America. The company is also in the early stages of securing another major partnership with a global blood supplier that would require an increase in production.
MaxQ has several testing chambers and is in the process of expanding its testing infrastructure by 100%. Arif Rahman, Director of Research, indicated additional chambers will keep his team busy.
“Right now, we’re operating at 90% capacity. Based on our company’s growth, I anticipate that the testing chambers will run continuously over the next few months,” Arif said.
MaxQ will eventually relocate to Commerce Place, the industrial park located near Airport Road and Highway 177 in Stillwater. With little room for expansion at their current location, owners needed to explore their options. They needed something close, quick and complete.
Stillwater’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
MaxQ co-founders are no stranger to Meridian’s Center for Business Development.
Kumar and co-founders Shoaib Shaikh and Balaji Jayakumar met as graduate students at Oklahoma State University. Together they created a solution that would change the way temperature-sensitive supplies could be shipped. The trio worked on their idea throughout graduate school, winning multiple awards along the way.
Their business plan took the top prize at OSU’s Riata Business Plan competition and opened the doors to other competitions including being named a finalist in the 2012 Innovation to Enterprise (i2E) Student Generated Technology Interview award in the Donald W. Reynold’s Governor’s Cup. With funding awarded from these competitions, the company moved into Meridian’s Center for Business Development, where they stayed for three years.
Time at the Center allows entrepreneurs to focus on growing their business and not on their facility. The Center provides customizable light manufacturing space as well as business consulting and coaching to early-stage companies and entrepreneurs.
Since launching their company Kumar, Shaikh and Jayakumar have secured nearly $1.5 million from investors such as i2E’s Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, Oklahoma Angel Fund, SeedStep Angels and other angel investors. In addition, the company has received nearly $1.9 million in research grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology for technology and product development.
While business continues to expand, the company remains committed to Stillwater and the university that brought them together. Each of the company’s 20 employees is either an OSU graduate or a current student.
“We’re fortunate to have the talent pool from OSU,” Shaikh said. “We’re able to bring in engineering, business and core science students as interns, part-time associates and give them an experience that we didn’t have in grad school. Stillwater has a lot to offer, and we hope they will stay with us when they graduate.”
Senior Thermal engineer Tyler Rapp prepares to test the temperature reading on a MaxQ thermal shipping container. MaxQ has recently expanded its operations to include a testing facility at the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development.