Air pollution is the most-pressing environmental health crisis of our time with about nine in ten people across the globe breathing unclean air. Helping to spotlight this existential threat, cleantech startup Airly announced a $5.5m series A as it targets cleaning the air by understanding the sources based on sensor data and comprehensive actionable insights.
The funding round was led by Firstminute Capital and Pi Labs with participation from existing investors such as Sir Richard Branson Family Office, AENU, Untitled and globally renowned investors joining the round. These included Slack co-founder Cal Henderson, Snowflake co-founder Marcin Zukowski as well as institutional investors Semapa Next and TO Ventures.
With this funding round, Airly has raised $8.8 million from investors since March 2021, as it now scales to realize the potential of its complete air quality monitoring platform and supporting local governments determined to fight for clean air with an end-to-end solution.
What is the market offering of Airly?
The Airly platform provides solutions for air quality monitoring to local govts, companies and local communities in over 40 countries. They use sensors to observe data and now the Airly platform will be able to provide a complete dashboard enabling users to go one step further.
They will be able to monitor the data and obtain actionable insights that will translate into effective actions to improve air quality and understand their impact on health. The dashboard will offer features including a report generator, insights, impact tracker and the city ranking.
Wiktor Warchałowski, CEO and co-founder of Airly said: “With the funding round we are going deeper with our users. Monitoring with our sensors has helped bring the issue to the surface and now with our dashboard offering actionable insights and nudges, we believe this will be the catalyst that helps move measures and policies into place to repair the air we breathe.”
Airly launched the largest air quality monitoring network in a European city by installing 165 sensors in Warsaw. Similarly large networks have also been launched in the UK (Birmingham and the London boroughs of Lambeth, Haringey and soon Southwark) and Jakarta. Airly has also strategic partnerships with the likes of JCDecaux, NHS, NILU (Norwegian Institute for Air Research) and is a key partner in the EU’s Horizon 2020 funded DivAirCity project.
Airly impact studies have proven that cities with a dense network of air quality sensors are achieving faster reduction in air pollution. Since 2019, four cities from the C40 group (a global network of cities taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis) with dense monitoring networks (Jakarta, Lisbon, London and Warsaw) have improved their overall air quality by 16% (compared to 5% improvement made by cities without dense networks).
More than 10 million people die each year from air pollution. Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of stroke, dementia, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, with children particularly vulnerable. Last year, the World Health Organization tightened up on safe levels of air pollutants. Airly is the first platform worldwide to include the new index in its analytical tools and free-to-use community tools (incl. mobile and web app).
What were the investors’ thoughts on Airly?
“Trailblazers in London are showing how real-time local air quality data is the catalyst for taking action to make our urban spaces healthier and more sustainable. I expect many cities and local authorities to follow their leadership, starting with precise and local data,” said Brent Hoberman, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Founders Forum and firstminute capital.
“Airly is at the forefront of building this data infrastructure and our fight against air pollution, and we’re very proud to continue our support by co-leading their Series A funding round.”
Stefania Ponzo, Partner at Pi Labs, said: “The ways in which towns contribute to our wellbeing will shape how we live for years to come – and air quality plays a huge part in that.”
“We believe Airly’s solution will become an essential tool, helping to improve liveability standards, reduce emissions, and getting us closer to sustainability and wellness goals. We are excited at the prospect of partnering with a team that can truly go global with its impact.”