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Venture Funding for Air Quality Tech Lags Need, at just $71 Million in the Last Three Years

Air monitoring start-ups account for 85% of funding for indoor air quality management with backing for new air purification tech far behind, says Lux Research

BOSTON, MA – January 5, 2017 – Industry and consumers are searching for disruptive technologies to meet growing demand for indoor air quality management, but venture investments in the field haven’t kept up, amounting to only $71 million from 2014 to 2016, according to Lux Research.

Air monitoring startups accounted for $60 million, or 85% of the total, and 69% share of deals. Geographically, North American and European startups received more funding than their counterparts in Asia, which suffer far higher pollution levels.

“The relatively small investment in air purification doesn’t match the high market awareness and attention from large multinational corporations on air pollution,” said Jerrold Wang, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report titled, “Seeing Through the Haze: Identifying Challenges and Opportunities in the Indoor Air Quality Management Market.”

“Investors are not finding many investment targets with disruptive or differentiated technologies for indoor air quality management,” he added.

Lux Research analysts used PitchBook data to identify and study the 45 most active startups in the field over the past three years. Among their findings:

  • Opportunities lie in integration. Companies developing air quality monitoring technologies lack core innovations in air purification, and makers of air purifying materials usually only offer basic or no air quality monitoring solutions. There’s untapped potential in integrating air purification and air monitoring.
  • Wearables gaining traction. Companies such as TZOA and PAQS are targeting consumers with wearable devices that keep them informed of surrounding air quality on-the-go. Some like AlertSense and ChemiSense are beginning to integrate monitoring solutions with more environmental data and offer data analytics.
  • Startup taps algae. Very few air purification startups go beyond incumbent technologies, but a notable exception is Artveoli, which is developing an air purifier using algae. The product uses nutrition and an LED backlit panel to feed algae and microfluidic technology to control algae’s efficiency.

The report, titled “Seeing Through the Haze: Identifying Challenges and Opportunities in the Indoor Air Quality Management Market,” is part of the Lux Research Advanced Materials Intelligence and Sensors Intelligence services.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

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