About AirSensa

History

The genesis of AirSensa happened in 2010 when Jonathan Steel heard a senior official from the Greater London Authority speak at a conference about thousands of people dying early in London as a result of poor air quality. He was shocked that such a problem on such a scale existed, and that so few people knew about it. Even more alarmingly, the speaker noted that pregnant women and young children are disproportionately impacted by poor air quality, leading to long term respiratory and other health problems, and even cognitive and learning deficiencies.

In response, and after conducting over a year of research into the issue, Jonathan founded a non-profit called Deliver Change in 2012 and kicked off the AirSensa project soon after. Using a combination of founder investment, donations, and (later) air quality monitor sales, Deliver Change worked on building a solution, culminating in an 18-month pilot in

London from 2015-2017 to demonstrate how deploying many low-cost sensors could develop a picture of air pollution much more refined than current models used in cities around the world, and why continuous, real-time, hyper-local monitoring is so important to understanding, avoiding, and mitigating air pollution.

Since the “dieselgate” scandal broke in 2016, air quality has gained a far higher profile in the media, and among the general public.  It has therefore been possible to construct a commercially viable approach to deploying AirSensa technologies on a far larger scale, which a non-profit or grant-supported project could never hope to do.  AirSensa was therefore created as a commercial organisation in 2018 to focus on a simple mission – to create accurate hyper-local air pollution data, and therefore to address the enormous health and economic impacts of poor air quality, in every city in the world.

Team

Harvinder Hungin
Chairman

Harvinder Hungin is a business builder and former investment banker with 18 years of experience at Lazards, Hambros and SG where he worked in corporate finance. Client relationships included some of the world’s leading corporates such as British Airways, Pearson, P & O, and Orange. He left the City in 2002 and in 2003 worked on the £2 billion public to private buy-out of Chelsfield Plc from the London stock market, which he co-led as principal. Projects included the Westfield shopping centers in the UK today, Paddington Basin; and Stratford, the largest planning consent grant within the M25, where the 2012 London Olympics were held. Investors received a near 100% return on equity within a year upon exit. In 2005 he was a co-founder of Chelsfield Partners, a £250 million real estate investment and development fund, which he left in early 2007 to pursue other interests. Since 2004 he has also been a principal and investor in businesses in fintech (including assisting Account Technologies to raise $60 million in 2014 from a Kuwaiti sovereign fund); mining (raising £12 million for investment in the Indian mining sector in 2012 at Kolar Gold, an AIM listed company where he was Chairman), and start-up companies, including in renewable energy; consumer electronics (Orbitsound) and healthy food (The Natural Kitchen). He is a founder of AirSensa and Chairman.

Jonathan Steel
CEO

Founder & CEO of AirSensa, Jonathan has worked in the air quality field for the past 5 years, after 25 years in information technology. He is the founder of The Bathwick Group, a strategic consultancy and software producer specialising in disruptive platforms, emerging technologies, and smart cities, during which time he worked with many of the world’s leading ICT brands, including IBM, Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Accenture, BT, Capita, Apple, Intel, and Vodafone. Bathwick is an accredited supplier of services to IBM.

Jonathan is also the founder of Deliver Change, a technology-enabled non-profit organisation, working to create healthier, more liveable, and economically productive cities.

Gary Barnett
CTO

Gary has been in the software and technology industry for 28 years. He is a highly respected expert, with hands-on experience of innovation, smart cities, and the internet of things combined with an established track record in leadership, consulting, technology development, and innovation. He has been engaged to work with Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and Dell. Over the past 15 years Gary has provided advice to IBM at the most senior levels and worked closely with SAP’s IoT programme.

In the past Gary has led development teams in mainframe, client-server, and distributed computing environments, and has served as CIO and CTO with several organisations and projects.

Over the past 5 years he has been actively involved in the design, development, and delivery of a number of IOT projects, working on hardware design, firmware development, and the implementation of high-performnce IoT platforms. He has also been a regular advisor to the UK’s Digital Catapult program and IoT-UK.

Gary is a widely recognised expert in the IoT, distributed computing, and application development and has published papers and presented at conferences across the globe on these topics.

Gary has been the CTO for AirSensa from the outset, working with Jonathan, and is a founder of AirSensa.

Sarah Laville
Head of Finance

Sarah qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse before spending seven years in the corporate finance department of Hambros. Since leaving the City nearly 20 years ago she has worked with many early-stage companies, usually as a consultant head of finance. Former clients include Roli, Love Film, Wool & the Gang, Moo Print and Circus Street. She is used to working with venture capital investors and enjoys helping management teams to understand the financial implications of their business objectives.

Michael Brockman
Advisory Council

With close to four decades in the insurance sector, Mike Brockman has built a reputation for his vision, values, and passion to drive positive change within the motor insurance market. He has been one of the industry’s leading innovators using telematics to drive down the cost of motor insurance for young people as well as providing a mechanism to educate them to drive more safely and responsibly.

Mike founded Insure The Box Limited in 2009. The first policies were sold in June 2010.

Since then, Insure The Box has celebrated many milestones with over 3 billion miles of driving data including 100,000 accident events. During this period, it had sold more than 800,000 policies.

In March 2015, ANDIE, the European arm of Asian insurance giant MS&AD, acquired 75% of Box Innovation Group Limited for £105 million, the holding company of Insure The Box Limited and BIG Telematics. Together they have taken a leading role in the development of technologies that will change the face of motor insurance and the way we view the car.

In January 2018, Michael founded “ThingCo”, a brand which reflects how to leverage data from the Internet of Things.

Mike’s career started at Pearl Insurance in 1979. He then joined Bacon and Woodrow, a firm of actuarial consultants, and left as a Partner in 1993 to found actuarial consultants, EMB. EMB went on to become the largest firm of non-life actuarial consultants in the UK with a worldwide revenue of $70 million, employing more than 300 people in 11 countries. The business was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise twice – in 2003 for Innovation and in 2007 for International Trade. EMB was acquired by Towers Watson in 2011.

In 2008, Mike’s achievements were recognised with a lifetime achievement award by the non-life actuarial profession.

Professor Pali Hungin OBE DL MD FRCP FRCGP FRSA
Advisory Council

Former President, British Medical Association. He completed his tenure in June 2017.

Professor Hungin has a career as a GP and in clinical research, particularly into the early diagnosis of long term conditions. He was the Foundation Dean of Medicine at Durham University and Professor of Primary Care and General Practice. He combines perspectives from both primary and secondary care as well as academia. He was a founding member of the UK and European Primary Care Societies for Gastroenterology and helped to instigate research networks in the UK.

He was appointed Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at Durham University in 1998. He became their Foundation Dean of Medicine and the Head of School in 2002, building a department that encompassed undergraduate medicine, pharmacy, the medical humanities, and health policy and health services research.

Pali was responsible for initiating the research support networking movement in the UK, initially in primary care, and led the NHS Research and Development Forum (England) to 2006.  His research interests are centred on the earlier diagnosis of long-term conditions and barriers to evidence-based implementation. He has over 150 peer reviewed publications and has served in a number of privileged positions such as with the Italian Medicines Agency, the Central Research Ethics Advisory Group of Unilever plc, the NIHR, MHRA and the Scientific Board and Council of the United European Gastroenterology Federation. He was a founding member of the UK and European Primary Care Societies for Gastroenterology and is a trustee and the treasurer of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund.

Pali, an early recipient of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Research Fellowship, has been recognized with several awards including the North American Primary Care Research Group Practitioner Award and the John Fry and Pickles medals of the College. In 2000 he received an OBE for services to research and in 2008 became Deputy Lieutenant for County Durham.

Dr Peter Biesenbach
Advisory Council

Dr Peter Biesenbach has spent much of his career in senior roles at the Federation of German Industries (BDI), and latterly spent 10 years at Robert Bosch GmbH as a Senior Vice President.

Dr Biesenbach studied Sociology and Economics at the Universities of Braunschweig, Berlin and Cologne.  Having received his PhD in 1987 he became a Research Fellow at the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne.

In 1991, Dr Biesenbach moved to the Federation of German Industries (BDI) as an Advisor on Research and Technology Policy; after two years, he was raised to the position of Senior Advisor on International Trade Law.  After two years more, he became Director of International Trade Policy at the BDI, and was a delegate to several international committees, including:

  • Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD in Paris
  • The ICC Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy in Paris
  • The World Trade Organization in Geneva, and 
  • The Commission on Trade Policy, Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (BUSINESSEUROPE) in Brussels

In 2000, Dr Biesenbach became Director and Head of Presidential Office and the Office of the Executive Board, and Head of European Affairs, at the Federation of German Industries (BDI) before rising finally to the role of Senior Vice President and Executive Director Foreign Economic Affairs and International Relations in 2007.

The following year, Dr Biesenbach moved to Robert Bosch GmbH as Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Department External Affairs and Governmental and Political Relations.  During the past 10 years, he has been highly influential in the development of ideas about future mobility and clean transport technologies, and was a board member of a number of key organisations, including:

  • Presidential Board of the German Council on Road Safety (Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat)
  • Presidential Board of Agora Verkehrswende (German think tank for Mobility of the Future)
  • Steering Committee of the Board of VDA (Association of the German Automotive Idustry)

After ten years in such a key influencer role at Robert Bosch, Dr Biesenbach joined AirSensa’s Advisor Council, where he will help to define the company’s strategy and growth in Germany and the wider EU.

Anthony Bouchier
Advisory Council

Anthony has more than 30 years’ experience in building enterprises in international television and media and recently has focused on digital education through the delivery of teaching materials to schools. He started his career with IMG and has developed content seen in more than 100 countries.  In 2003 he created Wisden Online which in 2004 (with backing from the Getty family) purchased Cricinfo, that grew to be one of the world’s most popular sports websites.  Anthony and his partner sold their business (Quintus) to IMG in 2007 and in the same year Wisden Cricinfo was bought by Disney (ESPN).

In education, Anthony founded Twig World Limited in 2009, a digital education company that works closely with the BBC and Imperial College London, distributing content to more than 3,000 schools in the UK and a further 200,000 schools across 70 countries in 19 languages.   After serving as CEO for 7 years, Anthony stood down in 2016, selling the majority of his interest to DC Thomson and Imperial College London.