HEADQUARTERS: Durham, North Carolina FOUNDERS: Tony Atti (CEO), Patrick McCann, Matt Trevithick EMPLOYEES: 140
Backed by nearly $200 million in venture capital, Phononic spent the past decade perfecting small thermoelectric chips that can replace bulky mechanical compressors for heating and cooling applications, such as cooling the delicate electronics that handle telecommunications data, demand for which has surged as more people work remotely. Atti, 46, a former NASA scientist, says that “Covid accelerated, if not turbocharged” areas his business was targeting, such as 5G adoption. More customers are ordering Phononic’s portable cooling systems to handle the food-delivery surge. Meanwhile, anticipated demand for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments means that health-care refrigeration manufacturers like Thermo Fisher have increased orders for Phononic’s chips. Revenue should double to $20 million in 2020.