The Financial Times rewards Gaetano Lapenta, CEO of the startup Fybra, among the Alumni change makers in the Responsible Business Education Awards 2022. He is the only Italian entrepreneur in the list of prizes established by the prestigious British economic newspaper to celebrate the best young entrepreneurs who have graduated from business schools around the world, true leaders of change in the name of sustainability.
Fybra was founded by Gaetano Lapenta, together with co-founder Marco Scaramelli, 18 months after receiving an MBA from MIP, the Graduate School of Business at Milan Polytechnic, in January 2020. The startup has patented a smart sensor able to improve air quality in closed spaces, such as schools and offices, which allows windows to be opened only when necessary, ensuring comfort and energy efficiency. To date, only in the school sector, almost 1500 Fybra sensors have been installed in the classrooms of 120 Italian schools in 13 provinces, involving 30,000 students.
A business idea that quickly became reality, with constant growth in recent months, which last November earned Lapenta the Best Alumni Entrepreneur award in the Shape The Future global challenge promoted by MIP. The next step was the nomination for the London newspaper’s Responsible Business Education Awards. Yesterday the announcement of the winners on the Financial Times website with an article (at this link) and a video.
«The idea for Fybra was born while I was attending MIP, the Graduate School of Business at the Politecnico di Milano,” says Gaetano Lapenta, “and the skills I acquired during my studies were essential in helping me turn an idea into a concrete business reality and successfully launch it on the market. Creating Fybra has been a life choice in every sense of the word, which has led me and my team to leave our previous jobs to become entrepreneurs in the first person. It is based on a great passion and the desire to create a positive impact on society, starting with improving the quality of the air we breathe. A challenge that, after the launch of Fybra for schools and offices in 2021, a few weeks ago we extended to the home environment, with the new Fybra Home device, designed for smart workers and for all those who spend part of their days at home».
The “change makers” were selected by a jury made up of Rodney Appiah (Cornerstone Partners), Steve Davis (Stanford University/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), André Hoffmann (InTent), Jacqueline Novogratz (Acumen), Felix Olale (LeapFrog Investments), Paul Polman (Imagine), Oliver Rothschild (Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation) and Matthew Vincent (Financial Times). In addition to Gaetano Lapenta, the winners were Johanna Baare from IE Business School in Spain, George Boghos from the University of Chicago: Booth and Elisa Dierickx from Insead in France, while Chaoxing David Fu from Ceibs in China received a special mention.
How Fybra works
Fybra detects three parameters – carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity – and over time, through predictive and dynamic algorithms, it “learns” their trends and defines the ideal thresholds at which, in a specific environment, the deterioration of air quality can be prevented and comfortable temperatures maintained. A simple LED light tells the class when to open the window to ventilate the room and when to close it because the air has returned to good quality.
The sensor works in a predictive way, it is able to anticipate, thanks to proprietary algorithms, the moment of air saturation in a closed environment. The red light indicates the need to ventilate the room to disperse microdroplets (vehicles for airborne viruses), CO2 and pollutants, before the situation becomes critical. Similarly, the purple light indicates a progressive improvement in air quality and predicts how long to ventilate given the characteristics of the environment and the indoor and outdoor temperatures. When the light finally turns blue, it means that the air quality is good and will remain so for a calculated period of time, and it is then possible to close the windows, avoiding heat wastage and colds.
The physical sensor is complemented by an advanced monitoring system through proprietary apps and dashboards, allowing real-time analysis of air quality in the classroom. A set of easily accessible knowledge, also useful for educational purposes: just think of the educational value in relation to physics, environmental science and civic education.