Airhounds has been awarded an SBIR Phase 0 grant by Alaska’s Small Business Development Center’s TREND program. This grant will allow us to develop an SBIR (Small Business Innovation and Research) Phase 1 proposal. After discussions with Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other National Institutes of Health (NIH) staff, we are targeting the NIH Omnibus Solicitation. Our Phase 1 proposal is due 5 January 2023, so we will be spending some quality time this fall figuring out what the US government likes to see in grant proposals!
The main challenge we had writing the TREND Phase 0 proposal – which required a draft Phase 1 proposal! – was figuring out what the heck we will be doing in September of 2023. That’s a full year from when we were writing the draft. It was a good exercise, but also a reality check about the speed of government versus the speed of startups.
Anyway, wish us luck! It would be great to get some non-dilutive SBIR funding for research and development.
Oh, hey, and many thanks to the folks at Alaska’s SBDC TREND program, and to Evelyn Jacome with University of Alaska Fairbanks Center ICE program in particular, for pointing us the right direction. You all rock.
Interested in understanding the air quality around you and how it influences risk of catching airborne diseases? Airhounds is running a limited time offer that can help you acquire a CO2 sensor as well as get you early access to our app.
Register below to purchase an Aranet4 CO2 sensor at 20% off from Amazon’s current listing ($250 as of 5/11). That’s $200 for a CO2 sensor vs $250. The Aranet4 is a high quality CO2 sensor with a crisp E Ink display and Bluetooth capabilities:
The E Ink display ensures a long battery life; depending on the frequency at which you set the sensor to take measurements, two alkaline AA batteries can power the sensor for more than 4 years. And with Bluetooth capabilities, the sensor can be connected to our mobile app, allowing you to see how infection risk varies with indoor air quality:
Want to take advantage of this offer? Sign up using the registration form below! We’re only extending this offer to the first 10 US residents who register by 5/31!
Even though my cofounder Max and I did not feel ready, our gBETA Accelerator director Linda Janes and entrepreneur-in-residence Mark Lambert pushed us to get a “Minimum Viable Product” of our mobile app published. So we (well, Max really) pulled out the stops and crafted a stoplight-style app that communicates via BlueTooth with the rock-solid Aranet4 sensor, and calculates your risk of infection by COVID-19 based on peer-reviewed science from University of Colorado Boulder. Green means go, red means no. Good, solid work.
And Apple said “Nope.”
Why? Well, bottom line, because we mentioned COVID-19. They told us any app that has anything to do with COVID-19 had to come “from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.” They later clarified that when they say deeply credentialed companies they mean insurance companies.
Now, that seems reasonable on the face of it. You would not want a bunch Ivermectin junkies pushing COVID treatment apps, right? But when you consider that we’re in a pandemic, and large organizations typically move on the timescale of years, is it reasonable? Shouldn’t there be some sort of exception process? There probably is one, based on who you know in Cupertino, but as Credence Clearwater famously said, “I ain’t no fortunate son.”
Well, it is certainly educational. I had not really considered the gatekeeper role that organizations like Apple play. Also, from a startup perspective, Linda and Mark were 100% right to push us, because we simply had NO IDEA we would hit this kind of roadblock.