‘It is great to see that large corporates take their sustainability commitments seriously’ – Q&A with Robert Heinecke

A quick Q&A with Robert Heinecke, Founder & CEO, Breeze Technologies (Urbantech 2020)  

When and why did you start your company?

Robert Heinecke CEO at Breeze technologies 2020 cohort startup

Back in 2014, I was living and working in Istanbul. For me this was the very first time when I experienced heavy smog. During some parts of my stay there, I could barely see the other side of the street; the smog was just so dense!

Digging deeper into the topic, I found that today’s cities are relying on technologies from the 60s and 70s to monitor their air quality. Very costly and hard-to-maintain monitoring equipment means that often they are lacking the data to effectively decide about air quality-related urban planning and clean air action. Hence, the idea for Breeze Technologies was born – to use lower-cost sensors and artificial intelligence to support organizations in creating a healthier environment.

How does your startup accelerate the development of sustainable cities?

We have moved all the complexity of traditional air quality sensing from the piece of hardware – the monitoring station – into software in the cloud. That means that we could make our air quality sensors much simpler and more affordable than legacy technologies, which in turn also allows us to deploy much more of them and create a higher resolution picture of air pollution in our cities. We use artificial intelligence to calibrate the data from our sensors, and to recommend clean air actions based on the local reality.

To summarize, we help organizations to create a hyperlocal picture of air quality distribution, and then help them to identify the most effective and efficient ways of dealing with any pollution challenges.

How did Urbantech help you along the way so far?

Urbantech facilitated connections with VELUX and COWI for us, two partners with whom we are very much enjoying to work with. It is great to see that large corporates take their sustainability commitments seriously, and that they have joined our mission towards cleaner air in our cities. Through Urbantech, we also met a lot of other actors in the startup and municipal environment, some of which we are still in touch and working with.

What challenges do you have right now?

Finding talent is definitely a challenge. We are currently recruiting software developers, a marketing support and an operations support for our team, and we regularly publish new roles that we are looking for. You can check out the career section on our website!

Additionally, we are always looking for new partners from the smart city, industry or building management and operations area. Since we have such a general solution for data collection and analysis, there are a lot of different use cases that can be enabled with our technology. We are already partnering with Microsoft, SAP and a lot of other exciting partners, and continue to grow our network!

What changed in your company during or after Urbantech?

We are very happy that Marius Sylvestersen recently joined our advisory board. In the last few months, we also won the Future Hamburg Award and a couple of other prizes. Of course, we are the happiest about our customer and partner base continuously growing, which in turn allows us to deliver positive impact to the lives of more people.

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