Chalk up another big win for Israeli air pollution monitor app BreezoMeter. After being named a finalist at the Israel Mobile Summit in June for best app, and beating out apps from developers in Israel and 30 other countries to win the StartUp Open IL Contest in September, BreezoMeter has been named one of the “20 hottest in the world” by American cable news network CNBC, one of a very select group chosen out of over 600 start-up ideas.
CNBC chose the app, the news organization said, because “BreezoMeter is changing the way people interact with the world, by providing them with the resources needed to make informed choices about what environments they inhabit.”
The app, said CNBC, is one of the “big ideas” that are “part of an entrepreneurial revolution that is spreading to nearly every nook and cranny on the planet.”
BreezoMeter’s technology shows how good or poor air quality is in a specific location — like right outside your house. According to Ran Korber, who developed BreezoMeter along with partner Ziv Lautman, the app “takes information from pollution stations and extrapolates it, based on wind direction, speed, and other factors to give an accurate reading of pollution levels even far away from a station.”
Currently in use in several cities in Israel, BreezoMeter looks at your location and determines where the closest stations are in order to make its calculations. The app may take data from three or four nearby stations. BreezoMeter’s algorithms check the information and match it up with weather data (also supplied by the stations), including temperature, wind information, time of day, position of the sun — all factors that can affect the pollution level. BreezoMeter then delivers a localized pollution reading — which, says Korber, “is 99% accurate.”
“We developed it in order figure out where the safest place would be for my pregnant wife” on the theory that high pollution levels could cause physical or mental damage in fetuses or infants, said Korber. “Many studies have shown that high levels of pollution can cause damage in infants, and with Breezometer families can check if pollution levels are consistently high in a specific location before they rent or buy a home there.”
BreezoMeter has gotten several angel investments, as well as second and third round seed funding from Jumpspeed Ventures and Entree Capital respectively, said Korber. Going forward, Korber expects the basic Breezometer app to remain free, with additional capabilities available for a small fee; in addition, he expects to be able to partner with companies like real estate firms, health organizations, etc.
As the winners of the StartUp Open, Korber and Lautman will travel to Milan in March with VIP delegate credentials to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress,and spend three months in the Startup Village in Kansas City, the hometown of the Kauffman Foundation, sponsors of the contest.
“Entrepreneurs contribute to society, not only by creating jobs and driving economic growth, but by driving innovation that helps solve global challenges and make the world a better place,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “BreezoMeter is an example of today’s generation of entrepreneurs who are using the marketplace to make the world a better place.”
Winning is nice, Korber and Fisher said, but the real victory “will be when people check air quality at their location like they check the weather. There are 90 countries around the world with air monitoring stations located in big cities,” said Korber. “We hope to be able to serve all of them eventually. This could be an important app for many people — pregnant women, families with little kids, the elderly.”