Tell us about the decision to apply for R/GA Accelerator and how has the experience been thus far?
R/GA is great at helping companies build brands that consumers love and have emotional relationships with. This is very important to us, as we build products for consumers who care about the air they breathe every day. Having Techstars’ network to help us accelerate both our fundraising and product development was just the icing on the cake. Best of both worlds!
Tell us about your product.
We are a team of engineers and designers who believe you have the right to know what’s in the air you breath. At Bitfinder, we’re passionate about clean air and its beneficial effects on sleep, learning, and overall physical and mental health. Our newest product is a device that lets you measure the air quality in your home or office, helps you understand their effects on your health and productivity, and gives actionable information on how to improve it.
How is it different?
We provide most value through our software. In addition to a hardware device that measures air quality in your home and office, we deliver actionable insights and recommendations to help you develop new healthy habits through our mobile and web application. Users can understand and react to the environment around them in healthier and smarter ways. We will continue to invest in building the analytics engine that can develop personalized recommendations and relevant reports for our users. Eventually we are going to build a platform where microclimate data can be shared and help us make better decisions, just as Waze has done to traffic information.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our first target segments are urban professionals/urbanites who have kids with asthmatic symptoms and allergies. We are also targeting small businesses who want to take care of their employees.
There are about 17 million young professionals (between ages 20 and 44) with allergies, and about 31 million kids with allergic symptoms in urbanized areas in the US. There are also about 1,300 startups with between 10-100 employees in NYC.
What is the business model?
Consumers will pay for our hardware device. The mobile application will be free to download from the App store. We are considering a revenue sharing model, where we recommend partner humidifiers, dehumidifiers, or air purifier products through our mobile and web application. In addition, we’re exploring ways to provide personalized reports as a subscription model. Based on users’ interest in pollen counts, allergies, asthma, eczema, we can provide customized reports on how they could react to their environment, be healthier and increase productivity.
Based on your data, where in NYC has the best air to breathe?
This is an interesting question. We focus on indoor air quality at this point, so we currently do not have much knowledge of outdoor air quality data of locations across NYC. However, what we have found out so far is that the buildings in NYC are quite old and so are the HVAC systems installed in them. This means poor ventilation and air circulation, which implies a poor environment for us to live and work. We have received a lot of interest from small-mid business owners and consumers that want to participate in our beta program in NYC, so we’ll find more about it during the next few weeks.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We first want to successfully complete our beta program that will begin in the next week or so. We have pre-selected users in NYC, Seoul, and Shanghai. As we finish up with our beta program, we plan to start receiving pre-orders. We are shooting for 10,000 units before the demo day in February.
If you could be put in touch with one investor who would it be and why?
Jason Calacanis. We make beautiful consumer products and Jason appreciates great design. If he sees the value we provide to the society we’re sure he’ll be excited. Plus I’m a huge fan of his podcast, This Week in Startups. Would be an honor!
What is your take on the current scene in New York today?
Exciting. We see more and more startups start in NY. If hardware startups that want to create something interesting with fashion and other consumer brands, New York is the place to be.
What are you looking forward to doing most in NYC during this upcoming winter?
Install our products in up to 10% of all NYC startups’ offices!