Proptech strives to meet the need for better indoor air driven by COVID-Commercial Observer

2021-12-11 02:00:38 By : Mr. STEVEN MR GU

© 2017 Observer Media · Terms · Privacy

As COVID-19 weakens, companies and other organizations are constantly working to get employees back to the office. They are pushing landlords and owners to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). Both parties have hired a wide range of proptech startups and more mature companies to meet Require.

Dustin DeVan, CEO of Awair, said that the growth of the indoor air quality department is explosive for his company, which is headquartered in San Francisco and is responsible for monitoring indoor air quality.

"By the end of this year, we will grow 400% year-on-year," DeVan said. "We have seen the growth of consumer and corporate as well as school and corporate office space.

"Basically every market wants to better understand indoor air quality. It's not that anyone can directly track COVID in the air, but people usually know more about what they breathe and how it affects their health."

One real estate client using Awair products is Sage Realty, a Manhattan-based property management and hotel services company. However, compared with landlords, tenants are usually more of a driving force for improving indoor air quality, DeVan said.

"For landlords, we see those who want to provide top A-level office space. They are looking for ways to provide the best environment for their tenants because their tenants pay for the best environment. They are investing in their properties to live in. The people in the building provide the best quality air.

"For tenants, they really care about their employees. One thing they can do with Awair is to show employees that they take health and safety very seriously. We have a display mode that allows them to actually show them when they walk into the office The quality of the air you breathe. This helps a lot in building the confidence of employees that this is a company that cares about my happiness."

Other proptech startups have similar needs for their indoor air quality mitigation services.

One such startup, Oxygen8, provides a ventilation system that "pumps 100% of outside air into the building and uses high-efficiency heat exchangers and low-energy belts to expel old, contaminated air in a low-energy way." James Dean said its CEO.

"Unfortunately, [demand] comes more from the tenant side," Dean added, who also hopes to see more entrepreneurial clients from the landlord side. "They need to provide a healthy and safe environment for office employees."

However, Dean has also seen many K-12 schools and universities evaluate their classrooms in order to better understand and upgrade their ventilation systems. Another huge market is elderly care facilities, especially older facilities that may not have adequate ventilation.

In addition, some "very progressive" companies, including Google and Lululemon, are building new offices and directing architects and engineers to pay attention to indoor air quality, Dean said.

Co-founder and CEO Raymond Wu said that another proptech startup, Wynd, was originally a consumer company selling air quality monitors and purifiers. Wu said that the six-year-old, San Carlos, California-based company has about 45,000 households and focuses on indoor air quality, but also deeply concerned about the impact of climate change on outdoor air quality.

"Wynd focuses on monitoring and improving indoor air quality," he said. "We believe that air quality and air health are very important, especially in an era when people are worried about the spread of diseases and pollution such as wildfire smoke. According to the World Health Organization, if this is regarded as a global problem, air quality will affect 90% of people in the world.

"However, the problem with air is that it is invisible. So people don't really know whether the environment they are in is good or bad, to what extent, and how to deal with it. Therefore, we really want to use our technology to specialize Some air quality monitoring and analysis are the center, which can discover the substances in the air, how it affects health, and even property risks. Then, ideally, either automate the construction environment of the building to solve the problem, or recommend suitable products and Services to help them solve their problems."

Similar to Oxygen8, Wynd sees that the “10 times year-on-year growth” comes from “our corporate business, which mainly involves corporate real estate,” Wu said. "We work with owners and occupiers, but what I want to say is that the occupants usually act faster."

Wu said that unlike some IAQ repair companies that use ionization technology, Wynd uses HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) and carbon filters in its system. "Those things [ionization technology] are sold in large quantities, but the effect is not good because the air moves too fast."

"There are two differences in our equipment," he added. "One is that they move a lot of air. We can cover more square feet than any other equipment used for air purification. One device can cover 1,200 square feet. The second thing is that in terms of enterprise software, our Devices are smarter and can basically be easily managed by the entire building. We can have hundreds of devices in the Marriott Hotel, and can use energy-saving software to package them. We are the official air purifier for Marriott hotels worldwide One. They have tested it on hundreds of devices. They chose us."

AtmosAir is a long-established company focused on indoor air quality, founded in 2004 and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut. The company uses “a unique technology called bipolar air ionization that can affect air and surfaces in an active and continuous manner and disinfect and clean the air.” said its chief technology officer, Anthony Abate. "We combine it with sensors that can continuously monitor the air. Therefore, users can view their air quality in real time, providing a certain degree of transparency for the overall air health of any space."

Abate said the company uses "active", more modern ionization technology, rather than "passive" carbon-based or other filtration-based technology, to capture incoming air particles rather than outgoing particles.

"We put the system on the supply air side, and the filter on the return air side. We use bipolar ions, which is a natural phenomenon in the ecosystem, and we restore the ion level to your unaffected outdoor space The level of discovery. These two types of technologies really complement each other-active and passive-both help to provide a very complete solution."

David Harris Kolada, senior partner of Toronto-based Greensoil PropTech Ventures, said that venture capital companies that focus on proptech, especially those that focus on ESG and sustainability, have paid attention In the IAQ industry, the company invested in Oxygen8 and Wynd.

"In our new fund launched last year, two of our first four investments were in indoor air quality," Corrada said, adding that Greensoil described itself as an "influential" investor.

"For us, the impact mainly means carbon reduction. How we reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment is very important to us," Corrada said. "We have committed at least two-thirds of our new funds to technologies that reduce the carbon impact of the real estate industry, and [Oxygen8 and Wynd] have both done so."

Corrada said that the goal of Greensoil Ventures Fund II opened last year was to raise more than 100 million U.S. dollars. As of the second close in September this year, the fund had reached 56 million U.S. dollars, adding that the company’s “invested capital was our investment. "Oxygen8" in the first round in January was more than twice that. "This is a significant increase, and we will also increase our ownership as a percentage of total ownership."

You can contact Philip Russo at

Read the latest edition of "Business Observer" online!