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Slack co-founder backs Airly in $5.5M round to fight air pollution through SaaS and sensors

Image credits: Airly

London-based cleantech startup Airly has secured $5.5M in a Series A funding round led by firstminute capital (invested in Instant Commerce and Sequence) and Pi Labs.

The investors who participated in the round include Sir Richard Branson Family Office, AENU, Untitled, and new investors like Slack co-founder Cal Henderson, Snowflake co-founder Marcin Zukowski as well as institutional investors Semapa Next and TO Ventures.

To date, the company has raised around $8.8M from investors since March 2021. 

How will the funding be used?

The UK company will use the funds to accelerate the product development to realise the potential of its complete air quality monitoring platform and support local governments determined to fight for clean air with an end-to-end solution. 

Wiktor Warchałowski, CEO and co-founder of Airly, says, “With the funding round, we are going deeper with our users. Monitoring with our sensors has helped bring the issue to the surface. 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.” 

More than 10 million people die each year from air pollution. In addition, exposure to air pollution increases the risk of stroke, dementia, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases, with children particularly vulnerable.

Air quality monitoring and control

Founded by Michał Misiek, Wiktor Warchałowski, and Aleksander Konior, Airly offers a comprehensive SaaS solution for air quality monitoring and control. 

The company uses a proprietary low-cost distributed sensor network delivering hyper-local real-time air quality data. The solution can monitor the data and obtain actionable insights that will translate into practical actions to improve air quality and understand their impact on health and well-being. 

The dashboard will offer multiple features, including a report generator, insights, impact tracker, and city ranking.

Recently, 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 Indonesia (Jakarta). 

The company has also signed a strategic partnership with JCDecaux, NHS, and NILU (Norwegian Institute for Air Research) and is a key partner in the European Union’s Horizon 2020-funded DivAirCity project.  

“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 more precise and local data. 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,” – says Brent Hoberman, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Founders Forum and firstminute capital. 

Stefania Ponzo, Partner at Pi Labs, comments, “The ways in which towns and cities contribute to our health and well-being, 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 in cities worldwide, helping to improve liveability standards, reduce emissions, and ultimately, get us closer to sustainability and wellness goals. We are excited to partner with a team that can truly go global with its impact.”

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