LAST DIWALI IN DELHI. Air pollution was at 28 times the safe limit. Jay Kannaiyan set up a particle counter outside his Delhi home to measure air pollution before, during, and after Diwali. That number added weight to the strong arguments against air pollution in the country’s capital. And it explained why Kannaiyan’s company, Smart Air Filters, set up in association with Thomas Talhelm, did so well. Its air purifiers, which cost anything from Rs 4,000 up, are being snapped up by Delhi residents gasping for clean air. Established players such as Philips and Sharp price purifiers at eight times that price.

Now Kannaiyan wants to build an even cheaper model priced under Rs 3,000. “Our existing filters are still not accessible to the masses in smaller towns. We want to bring down the cost of breathing easy for everyone,” he says.

Kannaiyan’s focus is on R&D. “The holy grail is when you can integrate an air-quality monitor with the purifier, so that the efficacy is there for everyone to see. We want to do this within the price range we operate in,” he says.

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