When he finished at University of Central Florida in the spring of 2020, Abhi Sastri had a job offer most college graduates would have jumped at immediately.
A major defense contractor wanted to hire him as an aerospace engineer.
But Sastri had different plans.
“I would probably get slapped in the face from some people who would want that opportunity,” Sastri told Orlando Tech News.
He turned down the offer and instead continued to pursue Fluix, which makes cooling systems for high-performing computer hardware. Sastri developed the idea in 2018 and then launched in 2019.
It’s a move that put the company, which he co-founded with academic entrepreneur Eduardo Castillo, in front of an audience at a VentureScaleUp demo day last month.
The experience was invaluable, Sastri said.
“I had the blood rushing a little bit,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘Holy crap, they came to listen to me so I’m going to take the opportunity to entertain them.’”
But he also wanted to sell them on Fluix’s potential.
Sastri’s story begins in India, where he was born and spent the early part of his life.
He and his family moved to Canada in 2000 and then relocated to South Florida in 2006.
As a University of Central Florida student, he made money by building and selling custom PCs, a process that would help him land on what has become Fluix.
His customers, who sometimes resided in small dorm rooms, preferred computers that would not turn their living spaces into a sauna.
Sastri, 24, switched out air-cooling mechanisms in computers for liquid-cooling ones. Not only did temperatures stabilize but speed, performance and power also increased.
Castillo, Fluix’s chief technology officer and cofounder, earned a PhD from UCF in 2018.
While there, he worked as a research assistant for the mechanical and aerospace department as well as the college of optics and photonics.
Now, he’s an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at ESPOL University in Ecuador.
Fluix has been making some headlines, even through the pandemic.
In March, the company won $10,000 in the UCF Technology Ventures Symposium, a competition that saw the company beat out seven others for the top prize.
Shortly after that success, Sastri connected with Dennis Pape, who was ready to relaunch his 12-week accelerator program downtown.
Now, Sastri says the company has garnered interest and the next step for Fluix is to scale production to meet demand.
“It’s a great problem to have,” he said.