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Phononic: 2023 CNBC Disruptor 50

Founder: Tony Atti (CEO), Patrick McCann, Matthew Trevithick
Launched: 2009
Headquarters: Durham, North Carolina
$250 million
Valuation: $650 million
Key applied sciences:
Autonomous automobiles
Earlier appearances on Disruptor 50 Checklist: 3 (No. 17 in 2019)

Phononic is a solid-state cooling firm pioneering options to interchange energy-guzzling chilly storage with environment friendly, environmentally pleasant provide chain know-how.

It began out going after the compressors, warmth sinks and followers in fridge engineering that dates again over a century, and had some notable wins — Thermo Fisher Scientific within the medical lab area and Pepsi Bottling in grocery. However since first being named a CNBC Disruptor in 2019, Phononic’s enterprise has shifted from generalized cooling and refrigeration options to concentrate on a extra particular area of interest within the chilly chain: “reefers” – refrigerated containers used to move chilly items.

Historically, reefers are saved at one temperature, despite the fact that they maintain many alternative merchandise, that means there’s little lodging for the assorted temps wanted by gadgets from ice cream and meat to sure medicines. This additionally presents a problem for logistics corporations that should expend the cash and vitality to chill a complete truck for smaller freight masses. However Phononic co-founder and CEO Tony Atti mentioned if there’s one factor he and his group like to work on, it is a problem.

“The alternatives for us which might be probably the most enjoyable are these the place finish clients come to us with a vexing cooling drawback that they can not get solved with a legacy incumbent,” Atti recently told CNBC.

Extra protection of the 2023 CNBC Disruptor 50

In response to outdated reefer tech, Phononic launched its Actively Cooled Tote (ACT) – a cell, temp-sensitive fridge in regards to the dimension of a small cooler. Light-weight and moveable, the ACT 2000 (the second iteration of the ACT launched earlier this 12 months) provides individualized temperatures and adaptive, on-demand cooling. The proprietary know-how allows shippers to spend less getting meals to e-grocers and grocery shops, minimizing meals waste and reducing prices for suppliers and, because of this, the patron – at a time when grocery prices have been at document highs.

The totes additionally get rid of environmentally harmful chemical substances and preserve vitality by permitting suppliers to chill solely the totes as a substitute of a giant cargo space.

“We hear from trucking and transport corporations they’re solely utilizing 5% to 50% of vitality,” Atti mentioned in that current CNBC interview. “That is [cost] and sustainability financial savings.”

Its newest enterprise pivot will not be the final. Phononic now has its sights set on making use of its cooling tech to the exactly tuned lasers and detectors inside sensors in autonomous vehicles, enhancing the provision chain (and transportation on the whole) from a completely unique approach.

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