And while the company isn’t announcing it’s entire portfolio, one company Future Shape is highlighting is Phononic, a company which makes solid state cooling technology.
Readers of the Spoon will remember that Phononic has patented technology that enables a system manufacturer to build professional or home cooling systems without traditional vapor compression technology. Phononic’s technology utilizes the well known Peltier effect, a technique that has long been used for cooling systems in smaller areas like telecom closets but has not scaled to refrigerators or home cooling systems. Phononic hopes to change that. Much the way solid state RF heating market could have a disruptive impact on cooking devices, Phononic’s use of solid state/semiconductor technology could change industrial and home cooling.
When word broke last year that Tony Fadell had secretly been investing in startups, he mentioned Phononic as one of the investments. With the creation of Future Shape, it looks like he is essentially formalizing his investments into a company. Interestingly, while Axios reports that Future Shape touts the fact they do not take board seats on companies in their portfolio, Phononic CEO Tony Atti told me that Fadell took a board seat back in 2014. It may be the case that Fadell’s early personal investments are slightly different in structure from the more formalized approach of Future Shape.
While Phononic’s early focus has been industrial markets for its tech, Atti told me last year that they see residential applications as a big part of their future. With the founder of Nest backing them, it will be interesting to see just where they take the cooling technology in the future.