Phononic, the Durham-based startup that’s using cutting-edge technology to reshape the cooling and heating industry, returns to the CNBC Disruptor 50 list for a second straight year.

Coming in at No. 33, Phononic is “quietly cool,” CNBC declares in the list out Tuesday.

However, Phononic has been anything BUT quiet over the past year, having raised another $40 million in venture capital to further expand operations internationally.

“Phononic is a semiconductor manufacturer that has developed new solid-state cooling and refrigeration technology that displaces compressors, heat sinks and fans — ancient, energy-inefficient technology that’s been around for decades,” CNBC declares.

“The company, launched in 2009, started by selling medical refrigerators used in labs and hospitals but recently expanded into fiber-optic cables, which heat up as light and data travel through them. Keeping the cables at lower temperatures increases performance and longevity.”

Phononic joins such tech stars as Airbnb (No. 1) and Lyft (No. 2).


33. Phononic
“Quietly cool”

  • Founder: Tony Atti (CEO)
  • Launched: 2009
  • Funding: $160.9 million
  • Valuation: $284 million (PitchBook)
  • Disrupting: Heating and cooling
  • Rival: Embraco

​Source: CNBC

​“Phononic is proving that solid state thermoelectric cooling and heating solutions can compete and disrupt markets that have been slow to implement change. With thousands of refrigerators now in the hands of healthcare, pharmacy and residential customers, more than a million devices cooling fiber optic and telecommunications data networks and commercial/beverage refrigeration on the horizon, the time is now for solid-state mass market adoption,” said Tony Atti, CEO and co-founder of Phononic, in a statement. “We are honored to be recognized by CNBC again as a disruptor, joining a world-class group of companies redefining industry.”

What’s a disruptor?

“These forward-thinking starts-ups have identified unexploited niches in the marketplace that have the potential to become billion-dollar businesses, and they rushed to fill them. A startling 31 are unicorns that have already reached or passed the billion-dollar mark. In the process, they are creating new ecosystems for their products and services. Unseating corporate giants is no easy feat. But we ranked those venture capital–backed companies doing the best job. In aggregate, these 50 companies have raised nearly $44 billion in venture capital at an implied Disruptor 50 list market valuation of about $239 billion, according to PitchBook data. Already it’s hard to think of the world without them,” CNBC says.

The Triangle’s Humancyte made the list last year alongside Phononic.

The CNBC top 10

1 Airbnb: It’s a $31 billion trip
2 Lyft: The car-ownership killer with a conscience
3 WeWork: Reworking the office
4 Grab: Uber-growth for an Asian ride-share rival
5 Uptake Technologies: Capturing Warren Buffett’s billionaire energy
6 Houzz: The homiest e-catalog
7 Ginkgo Bioworks: Growing products in the lab
8 Palantir Technologies: Tracking the world’s secrets
9 Cylance: Making cyberthreats idle
10 Udacity: Closing the skills gap

Source: CNBC

Read about the other disruptors at: