Phononic History

Looking Back on a History of Cool

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | Looking Ahead

red brick building


Phononic was founded in February 2009 with a Series A round of financing. At the helm was Tony Atti, CEO & Co-Founder; Matt Trevithick, Co-Founder; Patrick McCann, Co-Founder and Brian Hinman (then of Oak Investment Partners, today CEO and Founder Mimosa Networks).

In October, we were among the 37 inaugural winners of the $3.7M ARPA-E Award (chosen from among 4,000 applicants).

lightning bolt and computer chip


2010 was a focused R&D year for us, which gave rise to our first-ever patent – on contact resistance. The patent allowed us to make devices that are extremely thin, which positioned us to directly sell components and, ultimately, to make refrigerators.

NCS campus


We closed our B round of funding in February, and in March, we moved into our first home on Centennial Campus at NC State University.

building entrance side by side with compressor


We moved into our first professional home in Research Triangle Park in Durham, NC.

We also introduced our PHP concept, which led to our next major patent. This technology allowed us to displace compressors as the core cooling element of a system, positioning us to move beyond traditional optoelectronic applications of thermoelectrics and giving us credibility in the refrigeration space.

solid-state refrigeration units


This was a busy year! We introduced our first two product concepts that validated our system concept of cooling – a wine chiller and a refrigerator. We also closed our Series C round of funding.

solid-state refrigerators


This was the year that we truly began to commercialize, with the product launch of the Evolve solid-state medical-grade refrigeration line. We also closed our Series D round of funding in December, which helped us drive future customer growth.


The Evolve product line started to gain real traction in the healthcare sector and we landed the first qualification orders for some extremely difficult-to-achieve form factor thermoelectric devices – pico and micro sizes. We also developed the first solid-state freezer – just to see if we could!

CEO Tony Atti on set on CNBC's Mad Money


This year, we were named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 List for the first time! We also closed our Series E funding round, and introduced a new size of medical-grade refrigerator in the Evolve line.

Phononic refrigerator cooling beverages in a store


In 2017, we were named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 List for the second time, and were first awarded ENERGY STAR® certification for our solid-state medical-grade refrigerators. We also entered the food & beverage market with solid-state merchandising refrigerators for use in convenience and grocery stores, restaurants, stadiums and more.

distributed cooling

Looking Ahead

What’s coming next? The possibilities of solid-state cooling are endless. Learn more about our unique approach to innovation.