Hillel's Tech Corner: Accurate, personalized air quality

Air pollution isn’t always visible, and the harmful elements comprise a tiny percentage of the air we breathe. It’s hard to fight a problem we can’t see.

August 8, 2019 21:41
4 minute read.

BreezoMeter. (photo credit: Courtesy)

If someone asked you what the most important resource was for human beings, you might say water, electricity, food or perhaps even the Internet. Of course, if you would revisit the question, the obvious answer is oxygen. However, when it comes to all those other resources, we are very careful or at least aware of what our water contains and how our electricity is working. But when it comes to the air, how much time do you dedicate to thinking about how polluted it is? If you’re like me, the answer is none, no time at all.

Air pollution kills seven million people every year, and is linked to one in eight deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Most people don’t know what is in the air they breathe, but when people are informed and businesses can integrate air quality and pollen data into devices and products we already use, we can make better decisions for our health. Air pollution isn’t always visible, and the harmful elements comprise a tiny percentage of the air we breathe. It’s hard to fight a problem we can’t see.

Meet BreezoMeter, a company I have personally been hearing about for years, ever since my friend Ben Wiener from Jumpspeed Ventures invested in the company. Jumpspeed is the first and only micro-VC fund dedicated to investing in early-stage start-ups that originate within the Jerusalem start-up ecosystem.

BreezoMeter was founded in February 2014 by CEO Ran Korber, CTO Emil Fisher, and Ziv Lautman. It is headquartered in Haifa and has since grown to 41 employees. The company has raised $12.5 million from leading investors, including Entree Capital, a fund with offices in Israel, the UK and the US. Entrée manages more than $300m. across a number of funds and its portfolio includes Snapchat, Monday.com, and over 50 other investments.

Entrée has been more than investor to BreezoMeter, the team tells me, and has supported the team with more than capital through all stages of company growth.

Other investors in BreezoMeter include Idinvest Partners, Axess Ventures, HELLA Ventures, and Plug and Play Ventures.

So how does this all work?

BreezoMeter offers highly accurate and personalized air quality, pollen and fire data down to a street level for businesses and the general public in more than 90 countries.

Some of BreezoMeter’s customers include Propeller Health, Clarins, ALK, Amway, AllTrails, Dyson, Hella, Novearus, Johnson Controls, Blueair, Louis Vuitton and more. What is important to notice here is that these companies all come from different industries. It turns out that data about what human beings breathe is important to a lot of people and businesses.

NOW TO get a bit technical. Using multiple data layers – including governmental monitoring stations, air dispersion models, satellite data, weather data and traffic conditions, combined with computational models, machine learning and proprietary spatial interpolation algorithms – BreezoMeter shows with high accuracy what is in the air you breathe.

When the company was founded, it was the first company to introduce location-based and real-time air quality data, available via an application programming interface, to businesses. That means that companies could partner with BreezoMeter and integrate all that data into their own products. Since then the company has landed major partnerships in the smart home, medical, automotive and lifestyle industries.

BreezoMeter is now focused on penetrating the automotive industry by preventing in-cabin contamination and creating a unique passenger experience with personalized environmental data. While reducing air pollution globally is key to long-term health and environmental improvement, there is an immediate opportunity to positively influence the lives of global citizens, by working with automotive companies to integrate relevant, real-time, location-based data into automotive “infotainment” systems that consumers use daily across the globe.

The realization that passengers and drivers are exposed to even higher levels of air pollution than that which is in surrounding areas should no longer be ignored. BreezoMeter’s accurate environmental data allows automotive companies to create a unique passenger experience based on their health sensitivities while reducing in-cabin contamination.

Beyond the automotive industry, businesses can help their customers reduce exposure to harmful air pollutants, making it possible for people to improve their health. Businesses can integrate some or all of the air quality data features and pollen information into their products. These include dominant pollutants, pollutant concentrations, air pollution forecast, actionable health recommendation per population segment according to pollutant mix, real-time air pollution heat maps, a global and local air quality index, pollen counts and more.

Some other industries that would be relevant for BreezoMeter include air purification and smart home systems, medical devices, smart cities, and digital health applications.

As an example from the medical device industry: Companies whose patients suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses can be assisted by air quality data to reduce the likelihood of a breathing crisis by being able to avoid increased exposure to high air pollution.

BreezoMeter was founded by environmental engineers looking to buy homes in unpolluted areas in order to support the health of their family, and realized that this information was not readily available. We all breathe around 11,000 liters of air per day, and whether we know it or not, we are affected by what’s in the air and have a right to breathe clean air.

The founders set out to improve the lives of billions of people worldwide by providing them with accurate and personalized environmental data, enabling them to improve their health via actionable data and education.

While tech companies focus their energy on things like transportation, communication and other “luxuries,” BreezoMeter is solving a much more fundamental need and one that can truly be said has the world as its target audience. BreezoMeter is helping us breathe. It doesn’t get much more meaningful than that!

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