Venture with Air competition attracted submissions from four continents – winning team’s software optimises

The competition, looking for solutions to cities’ air pollution problems, drew entries from 12 different countries. Eight teams were selected for the competition shortlist. The jury was impressed by the wide scope of solutions, catering to businesses, individuals and city officials, to name a few. The winning team impressed the jury with a commercially scalable solution that could generate a profound impact by reducing energy consumption in buildings.

The winner of the Venture with Air hackathon is Airfloow from Portugal. The team’s software-based approach to optimising heating, ventilation and air conditioning management in buildings brought them a cash prize of €20,000. The two runners-up are Team Discover’s CompAir and Purify, whose environmentally conscious city planning application and air purification towers also received praise from the competition jury.

All of the shortlisted works were of very high quality

“All of the shortlisted works were of very high quality, but these three teams stood out with technically advanced solutions that could be scaled for broader impact. The jury was particularly impressed by the winning team’s software, which not only addresses global energy consumption, but could also have increased demand in the age of pandemics when we are increasingly concerned about indoor air quality,” Jari Strandman, CEO of Helsinki Innovation Services sums.

The hackathon, organised by the University of Helsinki and the technology event Slush, with partners City of Helsinki, YIT Corporation, and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, aimed to find solutions to improve the liveability and ecological sustainability of city environments. The participants leveraged air quality data collected using the university’s MegaSense sensors, aiming to build a solid business case and present some evidence of the technical feasibility of their solution.

“We were impressed with the wide scope of solutions presented – not only were the two data sets leveraged to serve for example advertisers, consumers, city planners, and local businesses. This speaks volumes about the potential that exists in research-based startup collaboration,” says Professor Sasu Tarkoma, Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki and leader for the MegaSense programme.

A majority of the projects had a direct route to commercialization, which was a key criterion in the challenge.

Slush CEO Miika Huttunen is also pleased with the quality of the submissions.

“Many of the submissions could be implemented almost immediately. A majority of the projects had a direct route to commercialization, which was a key criterion in the challenge. Projects and companies that have a strong, positive impact on health and climate as well as strong commercial potential are exactly what we look for at Slush,” Huttunen explains.

The contestants were judged by a jury of climate technology investors and experts: Hampus Jakobsson, Partner at Pale Blue Dot; Inka Mero, Founder and Managing Partner Voima Ventures; Mark Goldberg, Partner at Index Ventures; Marja-Leena Rinkineva, Director of Economic Development at the City of Helsinki; Edward Haeggström, Professor at the University of Helsinki and Founder & CEO of Nanoform Finland; Anders Stenbäck, Development Director at YIT Oyj Corporation; Maija Palmer, Innovation Editor at Sifted; Vicki Peng, Principal at Omega Venture Partners; and Miika Huttunen, CEO of Slush.

The shortlist of top 8 works can be found at: venturewithair.com/works.

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