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Real-time air quality data at your fingertips


Akshay Joshi, CEO and Co-Founder, Ambee

Ambee is an environmental intelligence company that measures, processes, and analyses hyperlocal air quality data in real time. Founded in 2017 by Madhusudhan Anand, Akshay Joshi and Jaideep Singh Bachher, Ambee uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to provide location-specific, real-time environmental data and actionable insights to businesses and consumers to mitigate the effects of various threats from environmental factors, for example, air pollution. Accessible through an app and its website, Ambee has air quality data for over 1 lakh pin codes across 65 countries.

The idea for Ambee came about when co-founder Madhusudhan Anand’s six-month-old child had a life-threatening breathing issue due to air pollution. In his quest to understand the problem, Madhusudhan started monitoring air quality in and around his residential community. He found that the nearest air quality monitoring station was located 13 km away from his house, and it suggested the air quality was fine. To get a better sense of the air quality in his immediate surroundings, he put together a rudimentary air quality sensor that could notify him in real time of the data about the air quality around his residence. He found that particulate matter (PM2.5) readings near his house were touching dangerous levels of 800 ug/m3. This was the genesis of Ambee.

Cut to present. Ambee uses a multimodal approach to monitor air quality at a street by street level. In addition to government sensor data, proprietary IoT sensors, and open source data, Ambee uses satellite imagery, weather and meteorological data to measure air quality. Ambee’s proprietary algorithms carefully factor in human activities like garbage burning, vehicular traffic, construction and industrial emissions that play a significant role in pollution and GHG emissions, and other hyperlocal environmental factors.

Every year, over nine million deaths across the world are due to air pollution, says Joshi, CEO and co-founder, Ambee. “One of the biggest factors affecting our fight against air pollution is the lack of accurate measurement. Despite the alarming statistics and facts, there is little being done to combat pollution and solve this crisis. There is hardly any reliable data for ordinary citizens to gauge the quality of air in their immediate surroundings. Outside of major cities and metros, there is nearly zero measurement of air quality,” he informs.

Joshi says Ambee sells data and services to businesses. It works with large Fortune 500 companies like Airbus and Bosch, as well as with startups. “The B2B market is our focus, and we have seen traction across varied domains. Our customer pipeline is both domestic and international. We also see a fair amount of interest from administrations who want to take up our platform as a service,” he says.

According to him, Ambee’s partners tend to be companies that are driven by science and technology and have a huge focus on innovation. “We work with organisations across aviation, home appliances, big data, utilities, pharma, and insurance.”

Ambee has raised a small round from marquee angel investors in India including Venture Catalysts, Techstars, Rajan Anandan (Sequoia, ex-Google), Ambarish Kenghe (Google), Dina Wadia (managing partner, J Sagar Associates), Nandu Madhava (Twitch, ex-Twitter), other promoters and business families. “We also did a seed with Season Two Ventures from the US. We are on track to turn cash positive in the next eighteen months,” he adds.

In the short term, Ambee is working with businesses and governments to achieve measurable environmental impact across various scenarios. “These include healthcare, mobility, and manufacturing,” says Joshi. “In the long term, we are looking at creating a continuously updated repository of environmental data, that is accessible anywhere in the world, to anyone with an internet connection.”

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