Three years ago, Mila appeared on Kickstarter with her smart air purifier. The company created an air purifier with a choice of different filters depending on the use case (and price) customers were interested in, as well as an impressive array of sensors built into the device itself. Today, the San Francisco-based company announced the closing of a $10 million Series A to take the bad guys out of the air for more people.
The company round was led by none other than Electrolux. Mila says it was Electrolux’s first seed investment. The appliance giant also participated in the current round. Mila’s $10 million Series A was led by returning partner Cercano Management (the former venture capital arm of the late Paul Allen’s investment firm) and “an undisclosed global consumer goods brand “. The company says it will spend money to hire, grow its operations, expand its product portfolio and work towards its ultimate goal of meeting the global need for better indoor air quality. The company also plans to launch Mila Halo, a smart humidifier.
The company raised its $10 million seed round in an all-stock deal at a post-money valuation of $52 million, the company tells me. He says the new valuation represents a 3x increase in value from his seed the previous year.
“We are at the dawn of a great ‘air awakening’ as the quality of the air we breathe becomes a priority for families. But product families usually turn to provide little to no information on whether or not they actually work. With Mila, families can finally monitor and control indoor air quality effortlessly,” said Grant Prigge, CEO and co-founder of Mila in an interview with TechCrunch. “This investment
will allow us to meet growing demand while continuing to create beautiful, thoughtful experiences that improve the health of our homes.
The company operates in a very competitive market – it’s not like there’s a shortage of air purifiers to choose from – but the company’s smart, cute design and ability to use a number number of different filters according to the needs distinguish it. of its competitors. The app is also outstanding, reporting particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5, PM10), humidity, temperature, volatile compounds (TVOC), CO2 and co. The purifier uses this data to clean the air smarter – running the fans slowly if they’re not really needed, or running full blast if the nasties need cleaning the air.
We spoke with Grant Prigge, CEO and co-founder of the company, to find out a bit more. The interview is edited for clarity and length.
TC: Who are the main investors and how has it been working with them so far?
Grant Prigge: Mila went from a small hobby project with a few hundred thousand dollars in angel funding from friends, to having Electrolux, one of the world’s largest appliance makers, as its first institutional investor. Mila was Electrolux’s first venture capital investment in the company’s 100-year history.
After launching what became the biggest air purifier launch in crowdfunding history, with more than $1.5 million in pre-orders, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital led Mila’s second round. Our Series A was led by Cercano Management, the spin-off company of Vulcan Capital and one of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers.
Most people warned us against working with big companies, but they were some of the best partners we could ask for, providing thoughtful feedback and support along the way. With the support of Electrolux, we have been able to significantly punch above our weight, especially when it comes to meeting the supply chain challenges of recent years. And with our new investor, we’re seeing the same synergy in marketing and branding as we bring Mila to millions of homes around the world.
What is the purpose of fundraising? What unlocks money?
This fundraiser allows us to grow our team and meet the growing demand for Mila’s award-winning air purifier. Additionally, it will allow us to expand our product portfolio with additions that improve the health of our homes and indoor environments. In the New Year, we are extremely excited to launch Mila Halo, which is the first humidifier of its kind that makes it safe to use tap water, thanks to Halo’s proprietary water filtration system. Halo received a CES Innovation Award in 2022.
It is the convergence of a growing portfolio of hardware solutions with an air quality control system that is getting smarter every day. We believe that Mila will become the home health operating system of the future.
What is the long term vision?
Our mission is to bring every family of airblivion shaping the healthy home of tomorrow. The quality of the air we breathe is now recognized as the greatest environmental threat to human health. Around the world, polluted air is the cause of 7 million premature deaths each year, more than AIDS, diabetes and road accidents combined.
The past two years have only underscored how little we know about the air we breathe. Consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of their home environment to their health – they simply don’t have the tools to address it. In fact, 91% of consumers say they now understand the impact of air quality on their health, but 69% say they don’t know what to do about it.
Mila intends to solve this problem. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a $16 billion market ripe for disruption. We aim to be the leading brand, making every home a healthier place to breathe.
What is the Mila Cares program and why do you offer purifiers for free?
One of the things that blew our minds during our first Kickstarter campaign was the letters we received from our customers asking who they were buying their Mila for. Spouses bought it for their husbands who suffered from allergies, girlfriends bought it to save the relationship between the cat and her boyfriend, dads bought it for their young children with asthma and an autoimmune problem. . These thoughtful notes and stories have inspired and humbled us, and made it clear that people buy our products for the health of their loved ones, and we are committed to taking this responsibility seriously in everything we do. This reinforced that compassion and care should always be a central pillar of our brand (hence the name “Mila Cares”).
To do this, we use the Mila Cares program in particular. Any customer can nominate someone who needs clean air, and any Mila team member can donate a Mila Cares package. The only requirement is that it affected them in some way. Sometimes a laugh, sometimes a cry. The candidate then receives a surprise Mila Cares package, almost always containing a Mila air purifier, with a personal letter from us.
To date, we have distributed over 100 Mila Cares packages, and this allows us to meaningfully celebrate deserving ventilators in the communities we are fortunate to be part of.