Why we chose him:

Entrepreneurs like Louis Bruno don’t give up easily.

“If we’re not failing, we’re not trying,” says Bruno, 26, president of Bruno Air Conditioning.

For example, Bruno says Florida’s humidity, salty air and frequent power surges corrode and degrade many parts of air-conditioning units installed today.

“How about making a unit that’s designed for Florida?” Bruno wondered. “We live in the swamp, right?”

Together with his staff, Bruno designed a unit that would replace metal air handlers with tough plastic and include surge protectors. A sterilizing light prevents mold growth that corrodes other parts.

Bruno then approached the air-conditioning manufacturers with his idea. “They all shot it down,” he smiles. But the young entrepreneur didn’t give up: “When we get told no, we try another way.”

Bruno overcame the manufacturers’ objections by showing them that he could make improvements to their units without altering the manufacturing production lines. Today, he sells about 50 Bruno Signature Series air-conditioning units a month since he started selling them six months ago.

The new unit designed for Florida weather is just one way Bruno is shaking up the air-conditioning business. He guarantees customers they’ll be cool within two hours of their call and loads each repair truck with 10,000 parts, a mobile printer and computer. “It’s really helped us scale,” Bruno says.

Bruno Air Conditioning, which counts investors such as tomato magnate Larry Lipman, serves residential customers from North Port to Marco Island and commercial customers all over the state.

To build his staff since starting the company in 2012, Bruno attracted technicians by offering full benefits such as vacation and health insurance and up to $5,000 in no-interest loans.
“They want to be part of something,” Bruno explains.

2012: $71,000
2013: $2.5 million
up 3,420%
2014: $10 million
up 300%

2012: 2
2013: 30
2014: 140

– Jean Gruss