Why we invested in Airly

Written by Author: Beatrix von Schroeder

The air we breathe is something most of us take for granted. Nevertheless, polluted ambient air is responsible for over four million deaths per year, due to negative effects on cardiovascular and respiratory health. With a rising recognition of the issue and a larger trend to introduce smart cities based on data collection and analysis, air pollution needs a data layer to be understood and eliminated. Without data, policy makers and businesses stumble about in the dark and advocacy groups have little evidence to base their arguments on.

Airly is the leading cost-effective SaaS (sensing-as-a-service) solution for hyperlocal air quality monitoring and control. With their own sensors and their wider sensor network, Airly tracks air quality data. Their software achieves a detailed analysis leading to tangible policy recommendations.

Thanks to Airly, Bucharest identified the source of pollution spikes as people illegally burning waste. In Krakow, wood and coal heating systems were banned based on Airly’s insights on pollutants. And finally, in Bedford and Birmingham, Airly’s sensor measurements and analysis have incentivized authorities to introduce ‘green school streets’, banning diesel cars in those high traffic and pedestrian use zones, consequently protecting especially school children from air pollution.

Airly is well positioned in a competitive landscape where some companies use existing infrastructure, others focus on expensive gravimetric analysis, and the last group uses low cost sensors also partly included in Airly’s wider sensor network. Google recently underscored the relevance of the problem as well as the tech to address it by acquiring Breezometer.

Airly outshines its competitors, because it covers the whole value chain from monitoring air quality, to generating insights, identifying actions and tracking their implementation and success. Their data is of highest quality with trusted accuracy and the ability to track multiple pollutants. As sensors are moving more into commoditization, Airly is well set up with their ‘sensing-as-a-service’ model.

AENU is deeply impressed by the resilient Airly team. With a founder team, made of physicists, Wiktor, Aleksander, and Michal cover all aspects of innovation and implementation needed for this software-hardware company. They are being complemented by former Bulb and BCG employee Jonathan, who adds his background to the team as COO.

Airly understands that the market of air quality still needs to be built and have positioned themselves well between public bodies and large corporations to support them tackling this issue and improving human health. With their approach of integrating not just their own, but third party sensors in their network, they have quickly reached a necessary scale to produce valuable insights. Their detailed impact model already today shows how each added sensor to their network widens the coverage of data and consequently increases the chance of air quality improving measures being implemented.

The Airly team is a highly mission driven, innovative, and hard-working team that has already today achieved significant improvement in air quality in Europe. Airly is ready to move their product forward and make the air we breathe cleaner.

Airly raised $5.5M in their Series A funding. The round was led by firstminute capital and Pi Labs and included funding from AENU, Richard Branson Family Office, Cal Henderson, Marcin Zukowski, Semapa Next, and