Last month, around Christmas, the Delhi pollution levels hit their worst in 2018, with the air quality going from ‘severe’ to ’emergency’ rating. Cold air, lack of winds, vehicles fumes, and pollution from coal-fired power plants and industries contributed to this. Reports indicate that other Indian cities are not far behind.
To be fair, pollution is a pressing issue globally. Cities, especially in the industrial countries, have been grappling with air pollution issues for long. While many governments and private players across the world have taken several measures, such as introducing eco-friendly vehicles, none of them has helped reduce pollution levels in a big way.
Perhaps, this Bangalore-based startup can change this. Clairco has come up with an Internet of Things-based air quality monitoring and purification device, which is using low drag nano-tech air filters that can be retrofitted to any type of air conditioners (ACs) and turn them into smart air purifiers. According to its Founder and CEO Aayush Jha, this saves a lot of money which are otherwise spent on expensive air purifiers.
“Air quality has been continuously deteriorating globally. Millions suffer as India’s and China’s air quality deteriorates,” he tells e27. “In India, it has reached alarming levels and it kills hundreds of people every year. As per a WHO estimate, 11 out of 12 most polluted cities are in India. Although there are multiple air purifiers available in the market, none of them is smart enough to effectively address this problem. There is no mechanism to measure the quality of air in any of these devices. This is where our solution, Clairco, comes into picture.”
A SaaS product, Clairco helps businesses ensure clean air in a measurable and affordable way, says Jha. The device boasts of several features, including real-time air quality monitoring (indoors and outdoors), air quality guarantee, and data monitoring. While all other companies charge an upfront costs, Clairco charges a monthly subscription of INR2 (US$0.028) per square feet.
“With all B2B customers, we install two air quality monitors — one each indoors and outdoors — which give real-time pollutant readings,” adds Jha. “All our B2C customers will be able to see air quality in their office, school and park, and plan their day accordingly (like weather maps remind us to carry an umbrella, Clairco will remind users to carry masks). This data driven environmental intelligence will help reduce user’s exposure to pollutants,” he explains.
The concept of Clairco struck Jha when his parents relocated to the capital city of Delhi a couple of years ago. “They moved to a location Ghaziabad, which is probably the most-polluted city in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in the city breathing really bad air. I searched for an air purifier in the market, but could not find one which is smart enough to check pollution levels. This is when I thought of developing a smart device,” he shares the story.
Incubated at Brigade Real Estate Accelerator Programme (Bangalore) in early 2018, Clairco is already working with a few unnamed businesses, including a leading fitness company and home rental brans, in India. It is also in talks with several other organisations for a partnership. “By March 2020, we will have air quality data of over 2,000 locations in Tie 1 cities in India,” Jha adds.
The startup is also working on a Machine Learning-based feature which will enable the product to predict the air quality on hyper-local level.
Clairco has already raised a round of funding from Anand Subramanian, Senior Director, Ola Cabs. It is now in the market seeking pre-Series A round of US$1 million to expand its management team as well as hiring junior level employees.
A Law graduate, Jha previously is a founding member and former Head of Business Development of Bumper.com, a marketplace for automobile repair (funded by SAIF partners). Before that, he was the CEO of Bright-Box India, a connected cars startup (later acquired by Zurich Insurance Group). He has also founded a a startup ThinkWheels (a marketplace for automotive service) in the past.