Ran Korber and his asthmatic and pregnant wife were looking to buy a house in Israel. As an environmental engineer, he knows that air pollution is the leading environmental cause of premature death, can cause premature birth, and can account for other respiratory diseases. Korber started looking for the city with the least amount of pollution in Israel only to realize that this information didn’t exist. His frustration led him to create what today is BreezoMeter, a tool that forecasts 40 pollutants within the categories of pollen, air pollution, wildfires and weather.
Today the company announced a $30 million Series C led by Fortissimo Capital, bringing its total raised to date to $45 million. The company is based in Israel and launched in June of 2014, about two years after Korber was house-hunting with his wife.
“In many countries, people don’t have a clue about the air around them,” Korber, now CEO and co-founder of BreezoMeter, told TechCrunch.
BreezoMeter uses AI and machine learning to gather and understand data from multiple sources, including more than 47,000 sensors worldwide. The result is street-level air quality resolution (within 16.5 ft) and pollen, pollutants, and fire data, in more than 100 countries.
You probably didn’t know this, but if you have an Apple Watch or an iPhone, they both have BreezoMeter built into the Apple weather app. Scroll down on the weather of any city, and the air quality measure is presented by BreezoMeter. In the U.S., the Air Quality Index (AQI) uses a scale from 0-500, 0 being the cleanest. Here in Miami, the air quality was 36 (good) yesterday, and 51 (moderate) today. In comparison, New York City’s air is 34 (good) today, better than Miami’s.
BreezoMeter is not only able to measure current air quality, but it can forecast it, too, allowing people to better prepare depending on their sensitivities.
“We are able to forecast when the conditions for pollen season will start, and then [we] can forecast how pollen may move between two different locations,” said Korber.
If you’re not sure of your sensitivities, knowing the air quality of where you are, you can at least keep a lookout for symptoms.
“Depending on the type of pollutant in the air, BreezoMeter can also tell you the possible symptoms you may start feeling if exposed,” Korber said.
The challenge isn’t just the pollution itself, but also a large information gap regarding air quality. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 120 million people in the U.S. live in areas where there is no pollution monitoring.
“Before BreezoMeter, everyone used the data from the same sensors, and now we collect data from those sensors plus others including traffic data, wildfires, satellites, local sensors and we also take into account land use for pollen,” said Korber.
A time when sensors can easily get destroyed is during a wildfire. “The sensors can burn, literally,” Korber said. To circumvent this problem, BreezoMeter relies on its other multitude of sensors for the data, including those from satellites.
“Every day, more than 300 million people use our platform to make informed decisions on how to avoid environmental hazards,” said Korber, and not everyone is using just the weather app.
For people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, they may be benefiting from BreezoMeter from within Propeller by Resmed. Propeller is a device that, depending on the air quality, tells a patient what to do to improve their health, such as close a window or use an inhaler, for example.
According to BreezoMeter, since Propeller incorporated BreezoMeter into its product, Propeller’s patients have experienced about 50% fewer asthma attacks and reduced ER visits.
BreezoMeter plans to use the money from the current raise to develop more product categories and triple its team to about 120 people.