JustAir is a small and growing startup that is passionately dedicated to the belief that everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air. With a deep understanding that each breath we take profoundly impacts our health, they’re committed to supporting communities toward a cleaner breathing environment and fostering the well-being of all. With the use of innovative technologies, including air quality sensors, they have developed a platform capable of providing a comprehensive and real-time understanding of the state of our air. JustAir is working to empower communities with essential data, allowing them to identify and mitigate sources that could impede progress toward a healthier breathing environment.
We talked to Darren Riley, co-founder and CEO, to get some insights into how the organization operates and his lived experiences that helped breathe life into JustAir’s vision of cleaner air for all.
Q&A with JustAir
What compelled you to create JustAir?
My pathway to JustAir is a combination of my lived experiences and exposure to tech that brought me to the realization that many systemic issues impacting our communities can be mitigated through better intervention. After being diagnosed with asthma while living in Southwest Detroit, I became more aware of just how much our environment influences our quality of life. Furthermore, my experience helped me realize the severity of health disparities that disproportionately impact communities of color.
How does JustAir connect to healthcare innovation?
Our goal is to support communities toward a healthier breathing environment. When we realize that the average human takes 20,000 breaths per day, we realize each breath that enters the body is a determinant of one’s health, just like the food we eat and water we drink. It is clear to us that by supporting a cleaner breathing environment, we will have healthier communities.
Tell us more about the technology. How does it work?
JustAir uses air quality monitors coupled with advanced prediction tools to suggest tailored strategies that can help bring about both awareness and solutions to areas disproportionately impacted by poor air quality. By doing so, we can support our communities and partners with identifying and mitigating the sources that could be barriers to a healthier breathing environment.
Who are your customers?
Our partners consist of local government agencies, environmental consulting groups, and community organizations.
How did you get connected to MedHealth/TechTown? What has MedHealth/TechTown done to help your business?
I got introduced to MedHealth by Paul Riser Jr., who has been a huge beacon of guidance in my entrepreneurial journey and others. TechTown has supported me through networking opportunities and early capital support to help build the early products we need to support our vision.
What’s next for JustAir in the months ahead? What are you working toward?
We are currently hiring to help support the delivery of our current projects and to help drive innovation to the JustAir suite of products and services. We are excited to have strong growth to provide our services in the Midwest and beyond.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you know now?
I wish I knew the importance of having a community of founders who support you through the uncertain, often lonely journey of entrepreneurship. I am proud and thankful to have discovered that community in founder friends like Johnnie Turnage (Evenscore), Dre Wallace (Opnr), Ashton Keys (Athlytic), and many others.
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