Forbes: Phononic Named Top 25 Small Business Standout of 2020

October 6, 2020

Phononic is among the top 25 small-business standouts in 2020 named in the recent article, “Survivors and Thrivers: 25 Small-Business Standouts,” by Forbes.

From the Article:

Amid a pandemic implosion, these startups showcase the strength, diversity, and adaptability of America’s entrepreneurs—and provide hope for the country’s economic future.

Even in the most challenging times, the best entrepreneurs find ways to excel. The 25 small companies listed here—all of which have less than $50 million in 2019 sales and fewer than 200 employees—are successfully navigating this turbulent year, even as some of their founders cope with personal losses from Covid-19.

Their paths vary. Some make things that are increasingly critical, such as software that improves hospital operations or robots that clean schools. Others have shifted to adapt to the pandemic, such as the extended-stay hotel operator using its rooms to house displaced international students and traveling doctors, or the maker of rolling buffets that started producing plexiglass dividers. These small-business standouts showcase the strength, adaptability and diversity of America’s entrepreneurs, giving us hope for the country’s economic future.


HEADQUARTERS: Durham, North Carolina
FOUNDERS: Tony Atti (CEO), Patrick McCann, Matt Trevithick

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.

Read the full article by Amy Feldman of Forbes here: Survivors and Thrivers: 25 Small-Business Standouts