From Building Custom Commercial Living Walls to Launching a Residential Living Wall Solution

If you are passionate about a project, nothing can stop you from making the impact you desire. Passion, growth mindset, and drive have immense power in shaping who an individual is and what they can accomplish. It is these characteristics that come to mind when thinking of the Respira founders that we will feature today. 

Respira Air is the air-purifying garden that takes care of itself. This tech-driven system allows users to monitor the garden’s health from anywhere in the world and keep their plants in optimum conditions. Sensors in the system monitor water levels, nutrient levels, and lighting schedules making sure your plants always have what they need. 

About the Founders

Mitchell Cowburn and Dylan Robertson launched Respira just over a year ago, but the partnership goes back much further than that. The two founders met back in 2014 at university while studying in a Real Estate and Housing program. It was through this program that they bonded over their shared interest in sustainable real estate solutions. Over the subsequent years,  they gained experience in sales of smart home systems and in solar energy, but had always discussed the potential of going into business together and disrupting the real estate industry through innovation and sustainable design.

Passionate about this life course, they launched their first company together in 2018, called New Earth Solutions. The company’s mission—to drive the world towards more sustainable solutions that enhance lives and connect people with nature. 

Through this company, the pair began to design and build commercial living walls for offices and retail spaces across Canada. They did this successfully for three years, and during this time, they noticed they always received the same question: “how can I get one of these in my home?” When the pandemic hit, and many businesses began to struggle, they took the opportunity to pivot and fill this gap in the market. They unveiled the Respira design in September 2020 and began pre-sales only a few weeks later in November.


Developing Respira Air

Dylan and Mitchell came to revolutionize not only the standard air-purification design but the indoor gardening experience as well. They used the knowledge they had gained in the commercial living wall industry to design a product that provided the same benefits but required less maintenance and was significantly less expensive. While the design of Respira Air is much more simplistic, the idea is the same — to provide an intimate experience between the user and nature. 

The design of the system is sleek and minimal, lending itself to the complex beauty of nature within. The idea behind this design was to have the product represent a relationship between technology and nature, where the two functions work together to improve the overall ecosystem that is the indoor environment. 

While the product is aesthetic in its design, it is also packed with tons of advanced technology to offer several functional benefits such as self-sufficient lighting and watering schedules for the garden. The system is fitted with various sensors that monitor the conditions of the plants as well as provide feedback and information regarding the surrounding indoor air quality. 


Start-Up Success  

When they launched Respira to the market in November of last year, their goal was to pre-sell enough units to pay for the first manufacturing run. They decided the best way to get this done was through a crowdfunding campaign, so on January 26th they launched their Kickstarter project to the world. Not only did they reach their funding goal in under 10 minutes, but they were able to raise a quarter-million dollars in only 30 days. This allowed them to place the initial order and begin the tooling and manufacturing processes.

In addition to substantial market success, they have also been performing thorough research on the Respira product and its effectiveness. They have done this by working with Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada to complete third-party testing.  The results of this study showed a 97% removal efficiency of the tested volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as Benzene, Toluene, and Acetaldehyde. 

Another benefit Respira has been praised for is its unique ability to purify the air in a natural and sustainable way, which is something the air purification market has yet to see. With traditional air purification systems, you are required to change and dispose of the filters every few months. This adds up over time and leads to over twelve thousand tons of filters ending up in landfills every year. Respira uses a reusable and washable pre-filter to help combat this issue. 

The system also removes toxins from the air in your home using an organic process known as biofiltration, which occurs in the plant’s root zone. Not only is this a natural process, but the air purification abilities with this process actually get better over time. 


It’s clear that Respira is on the path to improving sustainability and healthy living in our homes, and the Respira Air smart garden is only just the beginning. Check them out on their social media platforms or visit their website to get your very own air-purifying garden today. 




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