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Meet The Founder: AirSensa, Big Data Powering Global Health

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When investing, your capital is at risk.

With the world adjusting to a new, post-pandemic normal, the need for individuals to raise their health baseline has never been more important. For health food and vitamin brands, digital healthcare services and more, demand has surged. AirSensa is tackling a more silent, but detrimental threat: air pollution. 

In the wake of the crisis, respiratory wellness has taken centre stage. AirSensa is building a big data platform that analyses the air quality in different locations, allowing individuals, businesses and government bodies to make better, more informed decisions. AirSensa is over 110% funded on Seedrs.

We sat down with founder and CEO Jonathan Steel to find out how the company plans to scale to meet the demands of a changed world.

What is AirSensa all about?

AirSensa is a globally scalable, unique and proprietary platform collecting hyperlocal, real-time environmental data based around, but not limited to, air quality. We are a data company and not limited to any particular sensor technology, so we can always deploy the best available hardware for the required outcome. Our cloud platform (STORRM) provides autonomous management, security, and machine learning capabilities which, combined with our world-leading calibration model, makes AirSensa unique in being able to acquire validated data from sensor networks of any scale.

What first gave you the idea for the company?

My consulting company, The Bathwick Group, helped IBM stage a sustainability conference (the IBM Summit at Start, with the Prince of Wales) in 2010. On the first day, I heard about the massive health burden of air pollution (at least 40,000 people dying early in the UK alone). I was shocked. No-one was talking about air pollution at that time, so I was completely unaware of it. Following that conference, Gary Barnett and I worked out how we might address the need for much better, actionable data, which resulted in a project that eventually became AirSensa.

What is the competitive landscape and how does AirSensa compare?

The competitive environment can be summed up in three segments – major suppliers, sensor makers, and data scrapers.

Major companies and incumbents stick primarily with the traditional way of monitoring air quality which ticks regulatory boxes but doesn’t produce real, usable, hyperlocal data. Many of these players are only really interested in selling larger solutions (such as traffic management solutions) or consultancy. 

Sensor makers are focused on their own hardware and range from the very low-cost level (which are all but useless) up to mid-priced equipment, which is better but (as hardware makers) unsuited for large-scale deployment as there is generally little or no data platform or calibration capability.  

Data scrapers just take open source data (such as that produced by Defra) and put it in a pretty app. The data is all modelled and again, isn’t real-time, hyperlocal, or actionable. 

AirSensa is the only company that offers the best available hardware, deployable and manageable at massive scale, to create a platform-based solution which can be used by local authorities to reduce costs and help create a healthier environment for us all.

What interesting new products have you released recently?

We recently developed a product that supports corporate efforts to improve ESG reporting and reduce future liabilities by generating much richer data about their pollution footprints. We’ve also recently launched an app which was originally designed to help support recovered Covid patients. We’ve since continued development for it to support a wide range of chronic health conditions through a combination of sensor-based data acquisition and direct real-time patient feedback.  

What has been one of the most significant successes for the business?

There have been a number of significant milestones, including building the exemplar networks in Manchester and Jersey, but perhaps the most significant successes to date relate to our commercial and academic partnerships, which are providing strong access to market, and augmenting our expertise in a number of scientific and analytical areas.

What new products/features/partnerships do you have upcoming?

We are launching internal monitoring for large real estate owners. Utilising our unique approach to a platform solution, we can provide real estate owners, managers, and occupants with key data relating to air quality and safety across a wide variety of building types, and very large estates.  This is very important today as companies and their employees want to ensure that their workspaces are healthy and productive environments. We are also in discussions on several more corporate partnerships, some of which we will announce in the coming months.

What will be the greatest challenge going forward?

As with aany scaleup, there are always a number of structural challenges around skills and process development. Perhaps the greatest challenge is ensuring we stick with our core goals, given the number and diversity of opportunities that exist in the marketplace.

What will be the primary use of proceeds from this round?

This round will help us continue product development, team building, and convert our discussions with potential customers and channel partners into contracts and revenues.

We’re looking forward to bringing on Seedrs investors for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a chance to gain ideas and development opportunities from a wide variety of supporters, and secondly, we hope that our investors will help us to continue to spread the word about the importance of what AirSensa is doing. As the expression goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure; governments the world have never measured air pollution properly before, but they now have a chance to. More supporters spreading the word about that opportunity can only be beneficial for all of us.

What’s one thing you’re still learning?

The day you stop learning is the day you should do something else.  At the moment, I’m learning to master simpler communications – falling attention spans makes marketing a business more like running a political campaign every day.

What was one silver lining to lockdown?

Peoples’ willingness to take online meetings. It’s more time-efficient in 90% of cases, so you can improve productivity greatly if you approach it the right way.

What are you doing when you’re not working?

Lockdown and the lack of business travel has given my children the dubious pleasure of spending more time with me, and video streaming services have enabled me to catch up on some great content that I would otherwise have missed.

To find out more about AirSensa, visit the pitch.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Source: https://www.seedrs.com/learn/blog/meet-the-founder-airsensa-big-data-powering-global-health

Crowdfunding

P2P Lending Platform SeedIn Rebrands to BRDGE, Plans Expansion Into Indonesia

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Singapore-based P2P investment network SeedIn has announced its rebranding to BRDGE.

With the rebranding, BRDGE aims to better reflect the company’s mission to serve Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) not just through financial support but with the long-term aim of providing the public with opportunities to support local businesses.

The announcement comes after BRDGE’s recent MOU signing with V3 Fintech looking to enhance the suite of liquidity solutions available to SMEs, and help to create awareness among SME communities on innovative ways to address liquidity challenges and funding gaps.

SMEs in general are much more sensitive to economic headwinds due to increased competition, fluctuating market demands, technological advances, and capacity constraints surrounding information, innovation and creativity.

However, these enterprises make up the bulk of Singapore’s economic success, contributing to nearly half of the country’s GDP and providing jobs for about 65% of the workforce.

Kevin Wong, CEO of BRDGE, said,

Kevin Wong

Kevin Wong

“Rebranding has allowed us to stay committed to our mission of serving as many SMEs as possible. It has also enabled us to grow Singapore’s fintech ecosystem by providing additional financing solutions to businesses seeking more options in funding, so that they can seize more opportunities for growth. We hope to take digital financing further, and to become not just another crowdfunding platform, but one that is able to exhibit foresight and build trust to help fellow local businesses and entrepreneurs grow.”

Since 2014, BRDGE is said to have helped fund over SGD72 million in capital to Singaporean SMEs.

BRDGE had also collaborated with media and technology marketing agency Unravel Studios for the #KEEPUPTHEGOOD initiative. The partnership was intended to help tide SMEs through this period, by providing resources to help them continue.

SMEs who receive funding will also be provided with complimentary support for one month to fulfill their marketing objectives.

BRDGE has also been actively connecting SMEs to opportunities and initiatives beyond funding, such as organising WeConnect, a networking event for SMEs to develop partnerships and engage one another.

Moving forward, BRDGE has also announced intentions to expand operations into Indonesia and is currently in the process of securing regulatory permission from the relevant authorities.

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Source: https://fintechnews.sg/44705/crowdfunding/p2p-lending-platform-seedin-rebrands-to-brdge-plans-expansion-into-indonesia/

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Financial institutions can support COVID-19 crowdfunding campaigns

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The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the financial outlook for millions of people, and continues to cause significant fiscal distress to millions more, but such challenging times have also wrought a more resilient and resourceful financial system.

With the ingenuity of crowdfunding, considered to be one of the last decade’s greatest “success stories,” and such desperate times calling for bold new ways to finance a wide variety of COVID-19 relief efforts, we are now seeing an excellent opportunity for banks and other financial institutions to partner with crowdfunding platforms and campaigns, bolstering their efforts and impact.

COVID-19 crowdfunding: A world of possibilities to help others

Before considering how financial institutions can assist with crowdfunding campaigns, we must first look at the diverse array of impressive results from this financing option during the pandemic. As people choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, and countless other despairing circumstances, we must look to some of the more inventive ways businesses, entrepreneurs and people in general are using crowdfunding to provide the COVID-19 relief that cash-strapped consumers with maxed-out or poor credit do not have access to or the government has not provided.

Some great examples of COVID-19 crowdfunding at its best include the following:

The possibilities presented by crowdfunding in this age of the coronavirus are endless, and financial institutions can certainly lend their assistance. Here is how.

1. Acknowledge that crowdfunding is not a trend

Crowdfunding is a substantial and ever-so relevant means of financing all sorts of businesses, people and products. Denying its substantive contribution to the economy, especially in digital finance during this pandemic, is akin to wearing a monocle when you actually need glasses for both of your eyes. Do not be shortsighted on this. Crowdfunding is here to stay. In fact, countless crowdfunding businesses and platforms continue to make major moves within the markets globally. For example, Parpera from Australia, in coordination with the equity-crowdfunding platforms, hopes to rival the likes of GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

2. Be willing to invest in crowdfunded campaigns

This might seem contrary to the original purpose of these campaigns, but the right amount of seed-cash infusions to campaigns that are aligned with your goals as a company is a win-win for both you and the entrepreneurs or causes, especially now in such desperate times of need.

3. Get involved in the community and its crowdfunding efforts

This means that small businesses and medium-sized businesses within your institution’s community could use your help. Consider investing in crowdfunding campaigns similar to the ones mentioned earlier. Better yet, bridge the gaps between financial institutions and crowdfunding platforms and campaigns so that smaller businesses get the opportunities they need to survive through these difficult times.

4. Enable sustainable development goals (SDG)

Last month, the United Nations Development Program released a report proclaiming that digital finance is now allowing people from all over the world to customize and personalize their money-management experiences such that their financial needs have the potential to be more readily and sufficiently met. Financial institutions willing to work as a partner with crowdfunding platforms and campaigns will further these goals and set society up for a more robust rebound from any possible detrimental effects of the COVID-19 recession.

5. Lend your regulatory expertise to this relatively new industry

Other countries are already beginning to figure out better ways to regulate the crowdfunding financing industry, such as the recent updates to the European Union’s handling of crowdfunding regulations, set to take effect this fall. Well-established financial institutions can lend their support in defining the policies and standard operating procedures for crowdfunding even during such a chaotic time as the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so will ensure fair and equitable financing for all, at least, in theory.

While originally born out of either philanthropy or early-adopting innovation, depending on the situation, person or product, crowdfunding has become an increasingly reliable means of providing COVID-19 economic relief when other organizations, including the government and some banks, cannot provide sufficient assistance. Financial institutions must lend their vast expertise, knowledge and resources to these worthy causes; after all, we are all in this together.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/23/financial-institutions-can-support-covid-19-crowdfunding-campaigns/

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Crowdfunding

Taking LSD Could Help Your Career

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You rely on Crowdability to bring you the best start-up deals. Now rely on us to bring you the most fascinating stories and trends from the world of technology. You won’t find this stuff in the mainstream press. Look for it every Friday morning.

The Scariest Movie Ever — According to Science

The Exorcist? Poltergeist? Friday the 13th? What’s the scariest movie of all time? Well, just in time for Halloween, science finally has an answer. The scariest movie ever is… »

Teenager Discovers Potential Cure for Covid-19

Top scientists are racing to develop a cure for the coronavirus. But meanwhile, a 14-year-old high school student might have beaten them to it. Learn more »

Finally, Help for Earworms

Ever had a song stuck in your head, but you can’t remember the name of it, or any of the words? Help has arrived »

Now You Can Surf the Web on the Moon

The population of the Moon is pretty small. In fact, it’s zero. So why is it getting wireless internet service? All the facts right here »

Taking LSD Could Help Your Career

Need help focusing at work? Got a big project that requires your attention? This could help »

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Source: http://www.crowdability.com/article/taking-lsd-could-help-your-career

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