Meet the founders – AirCare

1- Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
AirCare is a mobile and web app that helps you know what you breathe. We aggregate air pollution data from government sources, volunteer measuring stations and data from the Sentinel 5 ESA satellite, to tell you what the quality of air is at your location.

A lot of people, 9 out of 10 in fact according to the WHO, are exposed to air pollution higher than set limits. Yet only 10% of them are aware about the fact, thus leading to more than 7 million global premature deaths every year, deaths that could have been prevented if people were more aware.

2- What’s the story behind your company? How was the idea for this business born?

I come from Skopje, N.Macedonia, one of the most air-polluted cities in Europe. Due to our valley geo-location, uncontrolled industry and households that still use wood to heat up, we have really high winter pollution levels. When I was a student, I found data about the air quality on an old government website no one knew about and was shocked to see the number x20 over EU limits. Thus, I decided to make this information much more easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone and that is how AirCare was born.

For years it was just a student side-project, but in 2020 I decided that it deserved my full attention, so I quit my job in Amsterdam and after four years abroad, moved back to Skopje to focus full-time on AirCare.

3-Which is the challenge that your solution tackles, and how do you set yourself apart from the other companies with similar solutions?

The most important challenge is getting people to understand air pollution. It’s a complex topic, with sources that differ based on your location in the world. So AirCare simplifies your access to air quality information and makes it easy to see air quality all around the world too. While there are other air quality apps, AirCare has 2 main factors:
1) It’s built by activists who live in these polluted places, so our fight is personal and we are most dedicated to the cause. Combine that with the long industry knowledge of the team, and you have the perfect group to lead such a project.

2) AirCare’s mission has three pillars: Inform, Educate and Empower. Inform is something all apps do, but stop short of the other two. This is where we come in, by producing important educational content on the topic to educate you via the app, and connecting you to local NGOs and eco-events to empower you to take action. Our users are not merely passive consumers of information but are active participants in the fight for clean air.

4- What are your goals, and what’s the biggest challenge you are trying to overcome at this moment?

We aim to be the biggest provider of air quality information around the world. From automotive companies, to researchers and governments, to real estate websites, we aim to help them all use our data to better their offerings and services. We’re currently working on scaling the team, being from the Balkans limits you to the funding opportunities we can have (since N.Macedonia is still not in the EU), thus we have to be creative as to how we source funding to expand our reach and scale outward.

5- What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the space sector landscape?
It might seem very hard to do since it’s a lot of information on many pages and sites that may or may not be up to date. We faced this when using ESA data for sourcing air quality estimations. But finding an expert mentor in the industry that already has the connections and knowledge, can be of great help and assistance. Reaching out via programs like the SUN can give you a boost you normally can’t get on your own, so reach out!

6- About SUN, why did you apply?

It was all about expert help with people familiar with the industry. Since we use satellite data on the ground, it was important for us to understand if we are using it right, and how we can further our cause best. The mentors were amazing, and their knowledge spanned far beyond just space-related topics!

AirCare Team