Accelerating clean air technologies to defeat COVID

The world's first startup accelerator focused on clean air technologies to prevent spread of COVID-19 and other airborne diseases


Our mission: Safe air to breathe in all indoor environments

In the 19th century, cholera was eradicated by removing deadly bacteria from water supplies. Today we wouldn't dream of drinking water that's contaminated by human faeces. Yet we still breathe air that could contain deadly viruses when we share indoor spaces such as offices, shops and schools.

The pandemic has shown us that the world needs to bring in a new paradigm of clean indoor air to combat COVID and other airborne diseases.

We believe that in the future it will be unthinkable for people to breathe air contaminated by pathogens. Breathing clean air will be considered an essential human right in the same way as we expect to drink clean, safe water.

We are already in the early stages of a global clean air revolution, with a growing number of countries introducing new standards for clean indoor air. However, widespread impact will require a range of new and improved technologies as well as better uptake of existing products and services.

The Clean Air Accelerator is a not-for-profit startup accelerator that will support the development and implementation of technologies that can provide clean air to the world.

Ten startups will be selected to receive mentoring and guidance from experienced startup founders and investors, and deep domain input from some of the world's leading scientific and industry experts.

Accelerator themes

The accelerator will support teams working on high-impact solutions in the following areas:

Air monitoring

CO2 monitoring, real-time detection / visualisation of virus particles, air quality displays.

Filtration / HEPA

Domestic, commercial and specialised HEPA filters, kits and DIY systems. High CADR, low noise.

HVAC / ventilation

Improved domestic and commercial HVAC systems to reduce risk from airborne viruses inside buildings.

Germicidal UV / Far-UVC

Domestic and commercial systems for sterilisation and inactivation of airborne viruses.

Masks / respirators

P2 / N9x respirators, elastomerics, new mask materials, more breathable masks, affordable PAPRs, masks that look good and will be worn by more people.

Data / tracking

Online tools to visualise air quality, provide alerts, display air quality of venues.

Certification / compliance

Tools for building owners and operators to achieve and maintain indoor air quality.

Awareness / education

Projects / education campaigns / documentaries that inform people about airborne virus transmission and the importance of safe indoor air.


If you're working on something that doesn't fit any of the other themes, but could be a game-changer, we'd like to hear about it.

Who can apply?

The Clear Air Accelerator is not a traditional startup accelerator. Given the diversity of groups working on clean air solutions, and the urgency of addressing indoor air quality, the accelerator is open to a wide range of applicants - including startups, scale-ups, researchers, engineers, clinicians and corporate innovation teams.

Preference will be given to teams that can move fast and will benefit most from taking part in the program.

We are agnostic as to whether applicants are for-profit or not-for-profit, proprietary or open-source, as long as you can show a path to becoming self-sustaining and having near-term global impact.


Idea stage, prototype, MPV, early product release.


Product in market, ready to scale or add new product lines.

Researchers and clinicians

Teams with deep domain knowledge, developing new technology. Potential for near-term commercial application.

Corporate innovation teams

Projects that sit within a large company but can be run like a startup.

Accelerator structure

The Clean Air Accelerator is delivered entirely online and available to teams anywhere in the world.

We'll soon be releasing details of our real-time masterclasses with the aim of fitting with as many time zones as possible.

Weekly masterclasses

Workshops led by experienced startup coaches and clean air domain experts to provide the best possible guidance and insights.

Individual mentoring

Regular one-on-one sessions with experienced startup mentors to help you develop your commercial plans.

Domain experts

Individual input and advice from leading experts on air quality, matched to each startup.

Online learning

Online startup course to ensure you follow startup best practice and avoiding mistakes that cause many startups to fail.

Connections to customers

Leverage the accelerator's global network to tap into a wider group of experts, investors, partners and customers.

Online showcase event

End-of program event to pitch solutions to an online audience of investors, customers, policy-makers and industry leaders.

Mentors and advisors

The Clean Air Accelerator is supported by a group of experienced startup mentors and some of the world's leading experts on clean air. This combination of skill sets provides founders of clean air startups invaluable guidance as they take their companies global.

Colin Kinner
Program Director
Colin is one of Australia's most experienced startup coaches and mentors. Over the last 20 years he has worked with over a thousand startup founders while running incubators, accelerators, early-stage venture funds and Silicon Valley missions. He is a vocal advocate for better responses to the COVID pandemic.
Dr Pieter Peach
Clean air zealot
Pieter is an anaesthesiologist with training in microbiology and public health. He has developed software for a variety of side projects over 15 years, the most recent being, an open source portable air filter recommendation tool to reduce barriers to adoption of clean indoor air.
Professor Lidia Morawska
Air quality expert
Lidia is Distinguished Professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia, and Director of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health. She is recognised as one of the world's leading researchers in air quality and its impact on human health, and in 2021 was among Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. More
Associate Professor Robyn Schofield
Aerosol scientist
Robyn is an Associate Professor at University of Melbourne. She is an atmospheric chemist and aerosol scientist whose research includes observing and modelling indoor air quality and airborne transmission of viruses via aerosols.
Jeremy Howard
Startup mentor
Jeremy is co-founder of and a successful serial entrepreneur. He has founded, invested in, mentored, and advised many startups in Australia and the US. He is also an advocate for clean air and better public health. He was lead author of the world's largest evidence review of masks and co-founder of the Masks4All movement.
Dr Bronwyn King AO
Clean air advocate
Bronwyn is a radiation oncologist and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios, where she has helped to bring about a global shift away from financing the tobacco industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic Bronwyn has been an advocate for clean air to combat COVID, and is one of Australia's most influential leaders in the push to prevent airborne disease. More
Professor Geoff Hanmer
Ventilation and building systems
Geoff is an architect and expert in design of building ventilation systems to minimise airborne virus transmission. He holds senior positions at ARINA, ARC ITTC, ICC Pandemic Task Force, OzSAGE and Centre for Research Excellence in Airborne Threats. He holds research positions at University of Adelaide and UTS, with a focus on building ventilation and regulation.
Dr David Berger
Public health advocate
David is a remote GP and Emergency doctor, and a well-known advocate for improved airborne protections against COVID.
He is also CEO of CO2 Radical which distributes air quality monitoring devices for home, business and schools.
Kate Cole OAM
Workplace health and safety
Kate is a Certified Occupational Hygienist, engineer and scientist who specialises in workplace health and safety, with a focus on airborne contaminants. She is a member of OzSAGE and advocates for better COVID mitigations by providing specialist expertise on ventilation, respiratory protection and workplace health and safety.
Tim Moore
Software startups
Tim has experience in software development and team leadership roles at successful high-growth startups including Atlassian and Culture Amp. He has deep expertise in scaling engineering teams, back-end software architecture, extensible platform services.
Dr Asit Kumar Mishra
Ventilation and air conditioning
Asit is an expert in ventilation and air conditioning. His research focuses on healthy indoor air and systems to combat airborne diseases. His goal is to work towards healthier indoor air to ensure buildings are sustainable, resilient and equitable.
Peter Vogel
Clean air / legal
Peter is a serial inventor, lawyer and father of school-age children. He is legal advisor to COVID Safe Schools, a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for safe education through air testing, filtering and other mitigations. He also works with individuals and organisations on legal issues relating to clean air.

We're expanding our mentor and advisor group. Contact us if you'd like to be involved.

Submit an Expression Of Interest

Submit an expression of interest now to be notified as soon as the program is open for applications. Your EOI will also help us to refine the structure of the program and select mentors and domain experts that will add maximum value to startups selected for the program.

We are looking for:

Committed founders. This is more than a side project, it's something you feel compelled to bring to the world.
Public health ethos. You are doing this because you recognise that more needs to be done to protect people from airborne viruses.
Deep domain knowledge. You are at the bleeding edge in your field and have unique insights that enable you to see opportunities that others have not.
Unique technology or approach. Your project is new to the world and has some important competitive advantage over existing approaches.
Global impact. Your startup or project may be small now, but it has the potential for near-term global impact.

"We need a paradigm shift in how the world addresses transmission of respiratory infections to protect against unnecessary suffering and economic losses."

Distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska
Air Quality Expert

Frequently Asked Questions

Why clean air?

COVID is an airborne virus. It is transmitted primarily by aerosols, which are microscopic particles produced by breathing. When a person with COVID exhales, they expel aerosol particles containing the virus into the air. Anyone who inhales these virus-laden particles can potentially become infected.

Aerosols can travel long distances and can remain suspended in the air for hours in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, similar to cigarette smoke. A person can be infected by breathing in virus particles regardless of how far away they are from the infected person, and even if the infected person is no longer in the room.

Breathing clean air is going to be a major part of the long-term solution to the COVID pandemic, and to preventing spread of other airborne diseases. It will also address other common indoor air pollutants such as particulates, VOCs and mould.

Just as cholera was eradicated in the 19th century by ensuring people had clean water to drink, the world now needs to bring in a new paradigm of clean air to combat airborne diseases.

No single change will fix indoor air. A reduction in the spread of airborne diseases will require a multi-layered approach that includes ventilation, filtration, sterilisation, monitoring, masks and education campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of safe air to breathe in all indoor environments.

This article in The Atlantic and this paper in Science do a great job of explaining the importance of clean air to the future of human health. These reports by the Lancet COVID-19 Commission's Safe Work, Safe School and Safe Travel Task Force highlight some of the latest developments and recommendations for improving air quality.

What's the big deal with COVID?

COVID is without doubt the biggest public health challenge of our lifetimes. Since late 2019 it has killed more than 20 million people worldwide and left millions more with chronic disease, including an estimated 65 million people with Long COVID.

COVID is not a cold or flu. It is a long-term multi-system disease which affects the entire body.

Over the last three years scientists have made a number of concerning discoveries about COVID. A COVID infection can cause damage to organs including the lungs, heart, brain, liver and kidneys. COVID increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. It has also been found to cause noticeable cognitive impairment. These increased risks are found even in healthy people, and even with a mild or asymptomatic infection.

Scientists also now know that a COVID infection gives very little protection against re-infection, and the risk of more serious outcomes increases with multiple infections. Each re-infection further harms the immune system and increases the risk of serious outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and brain damage, and increases susceptibility to other diseases.

This article summarises what we currently know about the short- and long-term health impacts of COVID.

The only way to avoid the short-term and long-term harm from COVID is to reduce transmission.

When does the accelerator start?

We're aiming for the first cohort to get underway in the second half of 2024. Sign up to the newsletter so we can keep you updated on timing.

How long does it run for?

Three months intensive support followed by a further three months of continued light-touch support.

What is the application process?

To apply you'll need to complete a short online application form by the closing date. You'll be asked to tell us about your startup or project, why it could have a significant impact on clean air, and why you are the right person or team to make it happen. We'll also ask you to upload a two-minute video in which you tell us why you should be selected.

Applications will be assessed by the program team and successful applicants will be notified by email.

We are currently accepting Expressions Of Interest. By submitting an EOI now you will be notified as soon as the program is open. Your EOI will also help us to refine the structure of the program and select mentors and domain experts who will add maximum value to the startups selected for the program.

What do I get if I'm selected?

All teams in the Accelerator will take part in weekly masterclasses and group discussions (delivered via Zoom), individual mentoring from experienced startup coaches (also via Zoom), input from domain experts relevant to their field, and help in securing customers, partners and investors.

At the end of the program you'll pitch to an audience of investors, customers and policy-makers as part of an online showcase event.

Following the three month program you'll be able to continue tapping into the Accelerator's mentor group on a lower-intensity mode for a further three months.

Does the accelerator take equity in my company?

No. The Clean Air Accelerator is a not-for-profit initiative and does not take an equity stake in any of the companies accepted into the program.

Is there funding available?

We are working with partners to secure funding for the most promising teams. Funding will be awarded to the teams that have made the most progress in the program and that have the greatest potential for impact on clean air globally.

We hope to be able to announce something exciting very soon!

Who are the people behind the accelerator?

The Clean Air Accelerator was founded by Colin Kinner, an experienced startup coach and mentor from Australia who also has a strong commitment to addressing COVID via improving indoor air. Read Colin's posts about COVID.

The accelerator is supported by a world-class group of startup mentors who have themselves been successful entrepreneurs and investors, and by a group of industry and scientific advisors with deep domain expertise across the Clean Air Accelerator's nine themes.

How do you deal with confidentiality?

All information you provide in your EOI or application will be treated as strictly confidential. Each of our mentors and advisors is required to sign a confidentiality agreement and to declare any potential conflicts of interest.

When will I know if I've been selected?

We are aiming to notify successful applicants in Q3 2024.

How does the online format work?

The Accelerator is delivered entirely online using a combination of Zoom (for masterclasses, group discussions and individual mentoring) and our learning management system for the online course content.

The learning component of the Accelerator is based on Startup Onramp's Founders Course - a high quality online course covering essential startup concepts and featuring deep dives with a diverse group of successful founders, investors and subject matter experts. The course has now been taken by over 1,000 founders from around the world.

Do I need a team?

The Accelerator is open to individuals or teams of up to four co-founders.

Does it matter where I'm located?

No, as long as you can join the masterclasses via Zoom. We'll be releasing times shortly and aiming to make these sessions time-zone friendly for as many regions as possible.

Latest News

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A new accelerator focused on clean air technologies is seeking 10 startups to receive mentoring and guidance from experienced startup founders and investors, and deep domain input from scientific and industry experts.
Read more.

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