Who does it appeal to?
It appeals to people who want to comply with emissions [standards], appeals to environmentalists, to a big group of artists that want to use new materials for their artwork, and to companies and brands. We are entering a new age of printing technologies, and they’re the sorts of people who have jumped on this and say ‘Can we start printing with it?’ and want to use it regularly.
Is it being used by artists or industry? Who are the primary buyers at the moment?
Initially, I felt very inspired by artists using it, because it created this wonderful attraction and belief in the idea. Soon, though, a number of companies came along and said: ‘Can we use it?’
Things have developed organically from there. We are now supplying companies and upgrading their printing process to be carbon negative, as well as working with individual artists around the world to use AIR-INK. There is a London-based artist called Mr. Doodle who is one of the primary artists using AIR-INK and who we ran a campaign with on Brick Lane.
What is the next big step for the business?
To be able to capture more pollution. ... The more [we] capture, the more we can turn into ink.
On the one hand, we are creating these different technologies and, on the other, we are working with companies. It’s like running multiple companies on one site right now, but the primary focus is on scaling up our technologies.
So, the limit on you isn’t the demand. It’s on the production?
Exactly. It’s the supply of pollution.
That seems counterintuitive to me, thinking about the amount of population we have here in London or you have in Bangalore.
Yes, but we need to produce more of these capture devices, so we are working with investors on how we can scale this up worldwide to where the problem of pollution will reach in the next 10 years.
Is this a curiosity, or is it a bigger solution for pollution?
It always starts with curiosity, but there are practical implications. It’s like starting a new industry in the sense that, when recycling paper wasn’t even a thing, someone came up with recycling paper as a solution to all the waste and the trees being cut – now you don’t even notice, 80% of paper you see is recycled. When you show that there is a possible way to show more uses of particle matter that is anyway being produced, then people are more inspired to capture more pollution and find uses for it.
How do you see this technology developing in the next five years?
Since we are a start-up, things are literally changing every week. I think over the next year, you’ll see us doing more pollution capture nationally and see some very iconic brand collaborations happening.
Are these collaborations happening already?
I cannot publically announce right now but we are working with a Fortune 500 company like we did with Tiger. I can only say it’s a fashion brand.
How much does the ink cost?
At this point, it’s not the least expensive option. It is expensive because of low volumes right now. For example, on Kickstarter, we sold 30ml marker for approximately USD $27, but we have a lot of demand. We want to reduce the prices and increase our demand.
Are you optimistic about the future? Is it possible to make a difference?
I am a problem-solver, so yes, I think we can make a difference, not only to people’s lives but the environment around you and the air around us.