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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajan Anandan Invest In IoT Startup Ambee

Over the last few years, Bollywood celebrities have been exploring investments in the technology space to diversify their interests and use their reach for entrepreneurial goals. While some have turned entrepreneurs themselves, some have donned the hat of angel investors.

The latest addition to the clan of celebrities investing in startups is ace Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. She along with her mother, Vrinda KR, has invested in Bengaluru-based environmental intelligence startup Ambee.

The duo have invested INR 50 Lakh each in Ambee, along side investors such as Rajan Anandan who have come together to invest INR 3.22 Cr ($470.8K) in the IoT startup.

According to the company filings accessed by Inc42, the company has raised equity funding over the last seven months from multiple investors including:

  • Techstars Bangalore
  • Touchstone Venture LLP
  • Motivated Minds Wealth LLP
  • Shekhar Kamal Lodha HUF

Founded in 2017 by Akshay Joshi, Jaideep Singh and Madhusudan Anand, Ambee provides data about hyperlocal air quality which is accessible to developers, consumers, health researchers and media companies. The platform uses proprietary data and analytics to help end users make informed decisions or take preventive measures in a situation of severe environmental distress.

Such proprietary data includes sensor data, weather patterns, traffic data, ratio of diesel to petrol vehicles and even contextual data such as road repair, garbage burning and density of diesel generators.

Ambee last raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Venture Catalysts, Amit Agarwal among others in December 2018. At the time, funds were planned to be used to strengthen its technology and introduce its product across markets.

According to the World Health Organisation, one air quality sensor should be installed for every one square kilometre. The Centre for Science and Environment’s State of India’s Environment report says that air pollution is killing one lakh children under the age of five in India every year and is responsible for 12.5% of all deaths in the country.

India is home to 14 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world. Further, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, over 10-50% of indoor environments in India, North America, Europe, Australia and Japan are estimated to be affected by indoor dampness.

As the cleantech ecosystem picks up pace in India, startups such as Clairco, Phoenix Robotix, Chakr Innovation etc are getting investor interest to further solve India’s energy and pollution issues.

According to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the ill-effects of indoor air pollution results in about 2 Mn premature deaths per year in India. Of this, 44% are due to pneumonia, 54% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 2% from lung cancer. Notably, the indoor air quality monitoring market is estimated to reach $4.63 Bn by 2022.

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