Calls for employees to return to the office have been a source of anxiety according to a recent survey of 1000 UK workers conducted by Slack. One of the reasons cited is concern about indoor transmission within the office space. Most commercial spaces do not have the proper ventilation required to fully mitigate COVID transmission and these spaces will require significant upgrades that are not only expensive but also require a significant amount of time before they can be deployed. Rensair has built a portable, hospital-grade air purifier for commercial settings that removes particles from the air including pollen, allergens, mold, viruses, and bacteria. The unit, which can be wheeled to wherever it’s needed most, uses a combination of UVC and industry-leading HEPA technology to destroy 99.97% of airborne bacteria and viruses. A single unit cleans 560 cubic metres in an hour. Rensair is being used in care homes, schools and universities, hospital and healthcare settings, and offices. The filters and UVC light need to be replaced only once a year, making the units practically maintenance-free. Rensairs are available for purchase or can be rented for as low £89/mo with delivery in less than a week.
London TechWatch caught up with Rensair Cofounder and CEO Christian Hendriksen to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
It was a Series A financing round led by Hoxton Ventures. In total, we raised $7M. Hoxton was a great fit for us, based in London but with strong roots and connections in Silicon Valley.
Tell us about your product or service.
We have developed portable, hospital-grade air purifiers for removing harmful airborne particulate matter, from pollen and vehicle emissions to viruses and bacteria. Indoor air quality needs to be improved in many buildings, we are working on solving that.
My father was a prominent ventilation engineer. I had personally suffered from allergies as a child, so he invented a portable air purifier using HEPA and UVC technologies as a solution to my problem and with the wider market of Scandinavian hospitals in mind. A couple of years ago, my twin brother and I decided it was the ideal time to quit our jobs and follow our passion for air purification.
How is it different?
Our product is different as it uses a patented combination of technologies in a unique design. Although Rensair is a start-up, the product has a pedigree in the hospital sector and also has independent validation from highly respected sources, which is vitally important in a market that should be – but is not – regulated and is characterized by performance overclaims.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting the B2B air purification market, with sectors including hospitals, care homes, offices, schools, gyms, and hotels. The global air purification market is expected to be worth $23B by 2028 (Grand View Research) and the B2B ‘subtractive’ element (based on filtration and/or UV based) is estimated at around $7B.
What’s your business model?
High gross margin and lean operations, with outsourced manufacturing and logistics, which has allowed for positive cash flow generation since our inception two years ago.
What are your post-COVID office plans?
We recently moved out of a shared working space into our own office in Holborn, which affords us much more space. Because we can put our own stamp on the premises, it fosters a stronger sense of belonging among our team.
What was the funding process like?
Challenging but also value-adding, as it forces you to think about and articulate every aspect of the business going forward. The pitch has to be watertight.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest issue was the amount of time invested, which means that you simply cannot spend the usual amount of time running the business, getting involved with customers and mentoring staff. It’s quite draining, right up to the point of sign-off.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Three key factors. 1) Growing public awareness of air pollution, airborne disease transmission and poor indoor air quality, 2) Belief in our technology and positioning in the market 3) Belief in the calibre of our team and our ability to build a scalable business.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Scaling our product portfolio and our geographical footprint. We have recently opened an office in New York, now we need to build our business there.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Be single-minded with a clear point of difference and a well-defined addressable market. If you are passionate about the prospects of your business, the chances are that you can inspire others to invest. It’s not so much the company that attracts investment, but the people who lead it.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We intend to expand our product line-up and our geographic footprint, with the USA being a critical territory. We also need to develop our balance between direct sales and distributors.
What’s your favourite outdoor activity in London?
Golf. Anything to do with golf!