Startups

Penn startup making a super-efficient AC unit wins $30,000 prize

The Aerate air conditioning unit, which pledges 20 times the energy efficiency of current models, is expected to hit the shelves in 2021.

Part of Aerate's founding team. (Courtesy photo)

Aerate, a student-founded startup behind a high-efficiency air conditioner unit, took the main prize at Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship’s Startup Challenge on Friday.

With the 30,000 cash prize — plus another $15,000 in in-kind services — the nascent startup will continue work on its air conditioner unit, a high-efficiency product that pledges 20 times the efficiency of existing air coolers and also acts a dehumidifier.

“The Startup Showcase prize money and in-kind services will be hugely impactful for Aerate’s continued development,” the founders said in an email. “We already had plans to build the next iteration of our prototype in the next several months, but we were not sure how to fund it. Now that we have the funding, we will be continuing our prototyping to optimize our system further.”

Specially designed for high-humidity environments — like India, where CFO and cofounder Ashwin Kishen’s family lives — the Aerate unit is expected to go to market in 2021.

Aerate battled against a wide lineup of Penn startups, from the makers of an advertising platform for rideshare vehicles to a biosensing system for the fruit supply chain.

Companies: Wharton School
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