Meet the team
Jonathan Risley, CEO (Bsc Biotechnology 2017)
Sam Bruggen, COO (MSc Biochemistry with Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Management 2018)
Muhammed (Maks) Maktari, Chief Engineer (MEng Materials Engineering 2018)
Ben Kirk, CFO (MBA 2018)
Get in touch
By Jonathan Risley
One in four people are affected by water scarcity, and this will only worsen with the expanding population. By 2030, we will need 35 per cent more food, 40per cent more water and 50 per cent more energy. Existing sources of water are not sufficient to meet future demands. ThinAir’s solution utilises a previously untapped resource – atmospheric water. Inspired by structures and chemistries identified in nature, our technology rapidly condenses water from the air to create a new source of clean drinking water.
ThinAir began in October 2016 when the founding team were in the final year of their biochem degrees and wanted to develop a project that addressed one of the three biggest problems humanity faces: Energy, Food or Water.
I brought the founding team together when I was Biochemistry Society President and Maks joined after the opportunity was advertised on the relevant engineering Facebook groups. Ben Kirk, the latest addition to the team joined, thanks to involvement in the Idea Marketplace and participating in ThinAir as part of his Entrepreneurial Journey module, as part of his MBA course.
The Enterprise Lab were instrumental in ThinAir’s initial development, we benefited from the workshops and mentorship whilst participating in the VCC 2017 cohort. In addition, there has been numerous networking and presentation opportunities that the Enterprise Lab have provided for us. ThinAir has also been part of the Imperial Venture Mentoring Programme and has benefited from the advice and expertise of Richard Gourlay and Justin Starling.
We are currently in the process of completing their first live demonstration, as one of the final five teams in the Global XPRIZE Water Abundance competition. Off the back of this demonstration in Malaysia we plan to raise a round and scale-up for manufacture and further pilot projects in different potential markets.
Our biggest successes so far have been winning 10 startup competitions, being named as a global finalist in the XPRIZE Water Abundance competition and securing an InnovateUK grant.
The biggest challenge we have faced is that science research and development always takes a longer than initially thought, but don’t be afraid to tackle big problems. Big problems have big markets and you are able to raise awareness for a great cause as you go!