Please find the following story of my Startup
True Pain is our inability to breathe, it is the breath that gives us freedom. I find that innovations and ideas are born because of cause and an affect. The effect is the idea or the innovation, the cause depends on the thought itself. People have a tendency of not executing thoughts, that they muster a reason of no action, that is a waste. Therefore, an idea is nothing but a ripple in the pond of time, if one cannot collect the will to turn it into a tsunami.
The first time I was encapsulated by the vision of smog was in the year 2015. It looked like fog, but had a stench to it, like burning diesel. There wasn’t much awareness of smog from 2015 onwards but by the end of 2018, the news was recognizing it as a major threat. Going myself a couple of times to the hospital, I saw the suffering and the suffering of our children is a sight that is unbearable. Children are our future, a future that we work for, to see our future suffer is a thing that every person will take action for.
By 2019, the observations evolved into research, the second part of the founder journey. The collection of constant bombardment of news on air quality, greatly influenced me to find all possible solutions. I collected the reviews and ratings of all the current purifiers that were available in the international market, and based on that planned out that which was practically feasible for me. It is like taking a product and finding all ways that you can hack it and make it better in your own perspective. I used the power of changing technology to infuse the hacks and make it a better product and that is where BreatheIO was born.
BreatheIO is a smart air purifier that purifies the air by using a HEPA Complaint filtering system. It collects the environmental data that is pumped to the AWS Cloud, where the data utilises the power of Machine Learning to make your environment predictable and hence controllable. All this can be controlled using a smartphone, both on android and ios. In November 2020, BreatheIO was nominated and awarded by the IFAH (International Foundation of Advancement and Healthcare) among the Top 100 Visionaries in Healthcare Industry.
It took me 6 months for the first prototype to emerge and an experience and knowledge of 10 years in the industry of technology to pull this off. Technology does come very fast around the world, but learning and reading about technology on the internet and then the availability of it, from accessing to using it are two different paradigms. The microcontroller industry was revolutionized by Arduino, an open source hardware project, driven by a user community. It is manufactured as a single board device with kits for building digital devices. The project began in 2005 but by 2007, it wasn’t still available or accessible in Pakistan. In that time, till 2016, Pakistan itself was still in the stages of accepting online systems. This drastically limited a person’s access to international products. While Arduino was a perfect kit to start with, but the device itself had its issues, as technology for the internet of things was maturing, there had to be external components which needed to be connected to it for it to be able to communicate with the internet.
Injection moulding is a process in which molten material such as plastic is forced through a casting that is made up of iron and steel. This casting is called a mold which is an impression of the device enclosure, thereby when the molten plastic passes through the impression, it cools down taking the shape of the mold. The mold once made cannot be changed therefore a lot of experience was required for anyone to cast a mold. This process was made easy using a 3D printer where one can prototype the enclosure and then cast a mold but it is very sad to say that in 2016 a ban was placed on 3D printers due to national security. This has made people adapting into such an industry very hard. Although, I find that 3D printing services are available but again it’s something hard to get.
Next comes the issue with electronic components, as there are high custom tariffs on these electronic components, there are very few markets such as Hall Road in Pakistan, that import these goods. The imported goods are those that are commonly used and high on demand, with new technology creeping in very slowly, more slower than actually available in the market. I find that this issue is also overlapping our education industry, as the curriculum has hardly been updated, resulting in teaching of technology that is a decade old. I find that educational institutes demoting entrepreneurial skill sets results in people going towards a job approach to life.
Developed nations have adapted online mediums like kickstarter and Indegogo which allow secure crowd funding of individual projects, but Pakistan has yet to adapt to such culture, lacking investors which have interest or are well versed in the change that technology brings. BreatheIO was bootstrapped completely, as I did find moving from Draper University (Tim Draper), Spero Ventures (Marc Turpenings – Founder of Tesla) and GSV Ventures (Micheal Moe) through the last year’s journey. One could feel that international relationships still needed a lot of work and thought, as being a founder from Pakistan, the possibilities for investments are limited because of nationality, a form of international racism, I feel. I am no one to judge anyone but I do have the ability to feel when things feel racist. I was able to get bootstrapping from family and friends, a family social network, that I have maintained over years but to all those ideas, innovations, possibilities and founders out there that are unable to have such a luxury, I find that the world is deprived of them.
I find that resonating success through example in yourself as an individual allows you to attract people that have similar frequencies, therefore you save a lot of time that would be wasted in searching for people. It’s like you shine the light in the darkness and the ones who can see it will find you. Through an example of BreatheIO, I can now find thoss ideas, innovation, possibilities and founders and make sure that the world does not get deprived of them.
According to statistica, if one observes the trends in the IoT Market, by 2019 it was a 212 billion dollar market and by 2025 it will be a 1.6 trillion dollar industry. This is a very big market and I am content, that the future I have been working for, is finally here.
Founder/CEO of BreatheIO