People are concerned about the air they breathe: Abhinav Gupta, CEO of ActiveBuildings

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In an interview with TechGraph, Abhinav Gupta, CEO & Co-founder of ActiveBuildings said, “We are seeing more and more people concerned about the air they breathe at their homes.”

Read the complete interview:

TechGraph: Could you help give a sense of how far ActiveBuildings has come since its existence? From when it began to where it is now?

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Abhinav Gupta: The idea of ActiveBuildings came during the time I was pursuing my Ph.D. in Singapore. I noticed the lack of awareness among consumers when it came to understanding the air quality and the measures that can be taken to improve the indoor air quality. After I moved back to India in 2014 is when I partnered with Priyans Murarka to establish ActiveBuildings.

ActiveBuildings focused on collecting data, developing sensors, and calibrating their solutions till 2017 that is when we started commercially dealing with consumers, providing them clean air as a service. Currently, ActiveBuildings is serving 6+ mn square feet of space or around 27-35 businesses.

At present we have a complete focus on the Indian market as we are witnessing air quality concerns throughout the country. ActiveBuildings is active in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and New Delhi as of now and also has many ongoing global projects in England, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.

For the next 2-3 years, the company will purely focus on the air quality sector as well as global expansion in different continents. Five years down the road we plan to diversify our portfolio by offering water flow and water quality solutions as well for which a high level of research is being carried out at the moment.

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TechGraph: How is ActiveBuildings leveraging technology to enhance the indoor air experience?

Abhinav Gupta: Through its air quality monitoring and solutions, ActiveBuildings is a pioneer in the indoor air quality segment in India. The company has been able to develop a sensor that has been given the RESET certification, a mark only 13 sensors globally have been able to attain.

At this stage, our services are available in almost all major cities thanks to their growing network, and thanks to their constant research and development, they have been able to make air quality monitoring incredibly accessible due to the small size of the sensor and its plug-and-play nature.

The solutions are evolving day by day as new technologies are introduced in the market. With the help of a precise set of data charted by the sensor, the solutions can be tailor-made for any indoor space.

We have developed low-cost air cleaners that are equipped with HEPA filters and other filters that help maximize air cleaning efficiency, and also we have been venturing into creating Upper Room UVGI systems (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) which is a low-cost easy to maintain, a light system that reflects ultraviolet light to clean air of airborne contaminants and pathogens.

TechGraph: How is technology transforming this space? Do you think the trend had taken hold even before COVID-19?

Abhinav Gupta: Even before the pandemic, the market for companies offering air purification was growing at a rapid pace due to the severe amount of air pollution that India faces every year.

However, Covid-19 was a startling blow to the entire world, with people becoming acutely aware of how the virus spreads primarily through airborne routes. A greater number of people became aware of indoor air quality issues and are now more willing to look for practical solutions that are available in the market.

Additionally, as offices started reopening for working, employees were skeptical about the safety measures, and as a result, employers have since been taking measures and leveraging their good indoor air quality to attract the right talent back to the office.

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TechGraph: When it comes to products offering, ActiveBuildings has gone beyond Business – to homes & communities. But, do you see these categories becoming leading revenue contributors?

Abhinav Gupta: ActiveBuildings initially started out providing services to B2B customers mainly but realized that there is a need to raise awareness among regular households on the importance of understanding your indoor air.

We have also made efforts to help the community in achieving its air quality goals and spreading awareness of its importance. The company recently partnered with Vitalik Buterin’s Balvi foundation to make clean air accessible to people in vulnerable indoor spaces.

The Balvi Fund:

● To deploy 5000 Indoor Air Quality monitors measuring CO2, where the devices will be connected to a cloud server and dashboard to show data in real-time.

● In 1500 of these devices, ActiveBuildings will also add PM2.5 as a parameter for monitoring particle pollution and aerosol pollution as it is the most lethal air pollutant for human health.

● Deploy another 10,000 low-cost air cleaners, inspired by Corsi Rosenthal* boxes, across the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka at critical locations of public importance.

● This contract to deploy air purifiers and Indoor Air Quality monitors and gather data is the largest such project ever undertaken in any low-medium income country, and it will serve up to 1 million Indians

● The deployment will focus on government hospitals and government schools that typically do not have the budget to spend on clean air.

CAWACH grant for tackling COVID in India:

● 45 lakhs in grants awarded by CAWACH, an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India

● Worked with NCL to use data and benchmark IAQ solutions

● For accelerating growth in IAQ solutions

● Bubble PAPR for HealthCare

● Partnered with BMC, Kasturba, and Nair Hospital

● The device was developed using 200 million data points

TechGraph: Do you see these categories becoming leading revenue contributors?

Abhinav Gupta: We are seeing more and more people concerned about the air they breathe in their homes. They strongly believe that in the next few years, breathing clean air will become as important as drinking clean water as a preventative health measure.

Government bodies and policymakers have been giving importance to IAQ and creating mandates for communities as well. It’s clear that serving B2C customers globally in getting them to understand their air quality and help them improve will be a leading revenue contributor in a few years.

TechGraph: How do you see technologies namely Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, with regards to their relevance across air monitors and air cleaner space? What does the future look like?

Abhinav Gupta: We have been able to gather more than 840 million data points from across the world with the help of its monitoring devices. These data points help ActiveBuildings make predictions and suggest the solutions that will be most effective in optimizing indoor air quality (Data is a critical component) to improve indoor air quality. The ActiveBuildings database of over 840 million data points on IAQ and how different solutions impact it guides them in making the right decisions for their clients.

The data also helps provide Service Level Agreements on how clean the indoor air will be. The IAQ data along with different building material data gives a comprehensive insight enabling them to perform advanced analytics and predictions on things such as – mold and fungal growth (can be derived from humidity), risk of airborne pathogens in a given space (can be derived from concentration of particulate matter), loss of productivity in a given space (depends on the carbon dioxide concentration), etc. The future is all about making the right decisions from design to maintenance of buildings using accurate data and advanced analytics)

TechGraph: What is ActiveBuilding’s growth trajectory?

Abhinav Gupta: From a revenue of Rs 1 crore in the year 2021, we managed to touch almost Rs 6 crore in the last financial year. ActiveBuildings plans to maintain that growth path in the year 2022 as well. With a presence in the UK and our work with Vitalik Buterin, we’re looking at 4-6x growth in this financial year. In the next 5-10 years, ActiveBuildings is looking to reach a 150-200 crore revenue cycle.

TechGraph: What are the latest innovations and developments at ActiveBuildings?

Abhinav Gupta: We continue to develop and improve the accuracy of its sensors. New parameters are also added to the sensor so that they can test for more pollutants that are present in the air and are more sensitive to detect finer pollutants that may escape detection otherwise. Air cleaners built specifically to tackle the demands of the Indian environment have also been made.

ActiveBuildings is also dappling into Upper room UVGI systems as a one-time investment, low maintenance alternative for cleaning indoor air. Along with that, we are carrying out research to enter water testing and treatment as a service offered alongside air quality improvement.

Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder & Editor of TechGraph.

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