Victoria-based Origen secures $1.5 million in its quest to make offices more breathable

The cleantech company uses bioengineered plants to filter and purify air.

Alexander Suhorucov

Credit: Pexels/Alexander Suhorucov

The cleantech company uses bioengineered plants to filter and purify air

For a company to care about its employees’ health in addition to their productivity is a breath of fresh air these days. And with the increasing importance of office spaces that allow for both, any company that doesn’t invest in improving the workplace risks being swept away by the wind.  

The thought is catching on as Victoria-based cleantech company Origen Air, which uses bioengineered plants to make air purification systems for commercial indoor spaces, just secured $1.5 million in seed funding. With support from Toronto-based venture capital firm First Inflection Business Advisors (FIBA), Origen is also set to receive consultation services to help with its expansion across North America.

The Pinnacle by OrigenFirst Inflection Business Advisors. Origen Air’s flagship product, the Pinnacle

Co-founders Susan Blanchet and Andrew Crawford launched Origen Air in 2019 to transform walls into living, breathing air purification systems for commercial properties.” Blanchet, who also serves as CEO, spent 15 years as a barrister before founding the company and guiding its team from two to 16 people. And CTO Crawford—who has a background in botany and irrigation systems, having developed vertical farms, living walls, water filtration and electric vehicles—is involved in its innovative approach to air purification. 

Origen’s flagship product, the Pinnacle, is a free-standing device with HEPA filtration and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) sensors which, together, result in a 90 percent reduction of harmful compounds in the air. These engineered plants are 96 times more effective than regular plants in remediating air, thanks to its ability to absorb CO2 while producing O2, balance humidity levels and collect air quality data.  

This can translate to fuller workplaces as employees show up feeling happier, healthier, more energetic and productive.