Business

Meet The Canadian Co-Founders Building The Next Unicorn To Revolutionize The Fragrance Industry With AI

Through the ages, humans have gone to great lengths to craft perfumes, candles, and oils—honoring the brain’s powerful response to scents and their ability to connect us to memories and emotions. Muneeb Mushtaq, alongside co-founders Nabeel Mushtaq and John Travis have gone one step further, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build the ultimate scent experience with their new venture, Airzai.

For years, Machine Learning and AI have been utilized in various industries, including cyber security, aviation, social media, and the fashion industry. 

These technologies have also already proven beneficial for companies in the fragrance world, specifically. The largest fragrance companies such as Firmenich, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc, or luxury brands such as Saint Laurent (YSL) have utilized AI tools to improve their fragrances through neuroscience and algorithms. 

In 2020, researchers at the University of California, Riverside published a study detailing how they used machine learning to predict how humans perceive chemicals through their sense of smell. This knowledge has paved the way for various innovations, such as replacing ingredients that are potentially toxic with chemicals that are safer and more natural. 

Using similar tools, Muneeb Mushtaq and his team at Airzai is intent on bringing an innovative diffuser to the market—revolutionizing regular candles and synthetic air fresheners that can contain harmful chemicals.

Instead, Airzai’s flagship product, one they have identified as “the smartest diffuser in the world,” utilizes data to diffuse fragrances that will bring an aromatic experience that lingers longer and that the average consumer is more likely to find pleasing and derive wellness benefits from.

So far, the company has utilized data from over 100,000 users to master their intended fragrance goals, according to Airzai. In addition, the company lists Fred Bould as one of its partners—-the designer behind some of the award-winning household brands such as Nest and GoPro’s products.

Such an innovation to the global fragrance industry may prove highly beneficial for the company and its stakeholders, as the market reached a value of $30.6 billion dollars in 2021 and is expected to reach a value of $43.2 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 5%, according to Fortune Business Insights. 

In addition to large global market size and lucrative business potential, Mushtaq and his team are hoping to provide fragrances that will stir up pleasant emotions and create positive memories for their consumers, by utilizing all-natural essential oils. While most people have strong emotional connections to certain scents, a majority of consumers surveyed in an IFF report, said that they specifically desired emotional and wellness benefits in their fragrances. 

“The consumers today are more aware of their preferences and they simply need better alternatives that offer multiple benefits and a better value for money,” co-founder John Travis said. “We consider ourselves a tech-first company. We are bringing something innovative, premium, and natural to the market.”

Currently, the company is in the process of closing its seed round of funding and is focused on innovating its manufacturing processes to bring its flagship product to the market. As of now, it is assessing regions such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and more recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as locations to set up potential manufacturing.

“There is a massive potential in the middle east region, specifically the UAE,” Muneeb Mushtaq said “China has been a go-to for almost all consumer products related companies but the reality is that, unless you are Apple, it’s very hard to build quality premium products there. In order to build a truly premium product with high-quality material and finishes, we have to look outside the box.”

Airzai is planning to set up an R&D team and potentially a manufacturing facility in the UAE. Such decisions come as the Middle Eastern country is opening its arms to further entrepreneurship. 

The UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, Omar Al Olama recently spoke on the economy and the country’s business efforts.

“[The future economy is a] key pillar in the UAE’s vision to establish a global hub for incubating and supporting entrepreneurs in various sectors of innovation, technology, and the digital economy,” Minister Omar Al Olama said. “To develop their concepts and expand their business from the UAE.”