Green.org sat down with Anton Radulea, the CEO of Airvolt, which is an advertising platform that also cleans a city’s air.
Anton, thank you for being here! Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am Anton Radulea, a 35yo Climate Tech entrepreneur, originally from Bucharest, Romania. Since late 2019, I’ve been working to establish and launch Airvolt DOOH, a Clean Tech Start-up dedicated to improving air quality in cities, in the US, the EU, and the rest of the world. I’ve been a freelancer and (later on) an entrepreneur, for most of my life. I was primarily (read heavily) involved with the music industry for the first 22+ years of my professional activity, something that, later on, “translated” to becoming a full-stack marketer and co-founding a small, but really versatile Marketing Company.
To my parents’ delight, I was, unfortunately, a precocious individual, favoring work over formal education as early as high school. As a marketer as well, I must admit I was pretty much a Jack of all trades for more than a decade, with Arts, Media, Fashion, Mobility and so many others. But, at some point, a series of both positive and negative events such as losing three members of my family in a very short span of time – turned my attention to Clean Tech and eventually Climate Tech, and especially Air Quality. We tell a more in-depth story, on our blog, here: https://airvolt.io/2022/11/12/anton-radulea-ceo-airvolt-io-we-help-brand-access-a-novel-realtime-esg-channel/
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
I’d definitely use it to establish more businesses that are deeply embedded within Communities and their SDGs. And I would definitely focus on investing in emerging markets. I have this simple belief that people can surprise us in really positive ways when given adequate tools. But, a lot of times, this requires shifting your perspective from direct and immediate profits to more holistic and human-centric approaches. I believe that this stands to generate immense returns over time, exceeding the expectations of even the most “pragmatic” investors.
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
Sustainability should’ve become an important topic at least 10-15 years ago. Ideally, the financial crisis of 2008 would have been averted, or at least, it would have served as a wake-up call. All that inflated value and the loss it generated could have been way better invested, even early on. The climate was a topic even back then, but the needle continued to fall toward indifference & climate change deniers. Today, we’re at the brink. Today, sustainability isn’t an important topic, it’s a mandatory subject.
Taking today’s Air Quality as an example, the math shows that all people in existence will, collectively, lose more than 13,5 Billion years in lifespan. And that is more than 3 times the age of planet Earth! Albeit we weren’t that well prepared for funding two years ago, I remember some London-based investors asking us how much runway has Airvolt left. London is 5th on the Top 10 list of cities that risk floods from falling under the sea level. So, if I could, I’d go back in time and ask those investors how much runway their city has now…
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Looking at Outdoor Media and Display OOH from a technology standpoint, I am fairly certain that the lines between online and offline will become blurred even more. We only have to look at the rapid advance of digitization, with Cities getting smarter, gathering and interconnecting more data points, with Machine Learning driven by ever-expanding Neural Networks and more Augmented Reality consumer electronics becoming mainstream.
All I can hope for is that not all of this Display inventory will be used for selling stuff. But what I really envision is Airvolt, being present in that future, providing content that is meaningful and useful, and carving a niche in the global OOH market.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Nothing. The average person can do absolutely nothing to make a difference – unless they stop being average. And no, I am not being harsh or elitist. I am merely trying to point out that taking an interest is the only way to go forward. And once you start taking an interest, you start educating yourself on the topic of climate and sustainability, you are simply no longer average, even if you find yourself at the beginning of this journey. And this is in fact the underlying mission of Airvolt DOOH.
To scale and grow its reach so that it provides, not just a better quality of air in cities, but also informative, educational content to people, hopefully, rather sooner than later.