Making clean cooking a reality for anyone, anywhere
Frustrated with his own extractor hood being difficult to clean and not up to his aesthetic taste, Maxime Augay designed AirHood during college.
So, what is AirHood? It is a portable range hood that reduces grease, smoke and cooking odours as they occur, and stops oil films from forming on surfaces. It therefore keeps the air and kitchen countertops clean while adding a friendly, non-intrusive touch to any kitchen.
Its compactness makes it suitable for small and medium sized apartments without built-in range hoods, and also can replace the often ugly, poorly functioning built-in range hood.
In 2019, Maxime won the imm Cologne 2019’s ‘Pure Talent Contest – Living Kitchen Selection’ with his design concept, kickstarting AirHood into reality. Due to the resulting media presence, Smart Product Concepts (SPC) became aware of the product concepted and invited Maxime to Hong Kong to present his idea and prototype. Maxime decided to partner up with the team to ensure the concept was brought to life successfully, thanks to SPC’S experience in sourcing, developing and manufacturing of electric kitchen appliances for retailers and brands all around the world.
Maxime and SPC decided to launch the AirHood through crowdfunding on Kickstarter, so they can rely on the foodies as well as tech- and design-lovers of the world to bring the idea to life.
A strong fan draws in cooking fumes, through a two-filters-system, before passing the fan and diffuser, venting them out into the surrounding area. This structure protects the fan from any dirt particles, which significantly improves its lifetime.
The oil filter together with the air duct give the device its distinctive appearance. After getting sucked in through the air duct, the fumes first pass the oil filter, which extracts the grease particles from the fumes caused by cooking.
This reduces cooking odours and prevents a yellow sticky film from developing on kitchen surfaces. It then passes through the activated charcoal filter, which filters smoke and toxic fumes from cooking at high temperatures. The activated charcoal filter also binds odors, leading to a more pleasant cooking experience. Finally, the filtered air is passed through the diffuser which is another aesthetic highlight of the device.
SPC Airhood’s mission is to make clean cooking a reality for anyone, anywhere at any time. “For this reason, we try to offer the AirHood at the most affordable price. Our long-standing connections to our factory partners enable production at good rates without having to accept compromises in product quality or labour conditions in the factories,” said Sebastian Stangenberg, Project Manager, SPC.
As of now, comparable products cannot be found on the international market, however AirHood is already distinguished and will continue this, by the simplicity of cleaning and its unique product design.
AirHood’s innovative design combined with its powerful fan solves problems that have existed as long as the basic idea of the hood range itself.
Firstly, the portability allows for pinpoint placement close to the cooktop, which, combined with the powerful fan, results in more effective extraction and filtration of cooking fumes.
Secondly, the AirHood enables effective operation at a low-speed setting due to its effective suction, which results in quiet operation.
Thirdly, the easy assembly and disassembly of the filters invites to clean the device regularly and easily. Who does this with their pre-installed cooker hood?
Finally, the portable design also opens up the possibility of use in kitchens where there are no pre-installed hoods or in places where such hoods are not available... just think of the raclette in the living room or eggs and bacon in the camper van.
SPC's team has for years consisted of a variety of industry professionals with a focus on the sourcing, development and production of small domestic appliances.
At the beginning of the AirHood project, only one employee was assigned full-time to the tasks at hand, while he was able to draw on the capacities of the rest of the team and the factory partners as needed.
To push the realisation of the project, to close possible competence gaps for the launch of a crowdfunding campaign and to create further capacities, the cooperation with external partners was established.
In the course of AirHood’s brand development, the necessary talent for this is and will be brought in-house step-by-step. The AirHood team now consists of several team members to ensure appropriate support for the brand.
SPC AirHood has completed a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and Indiegogo during which $500,000 was raised.
Sebastian exclaimed: “Only through the support and endorsement of our backers have we been able to certify the developed product and produce our first inventory. SPC recognised the great potential behind Maxime's idea and invested the development costs incurred before the campaign.”
The journey hasn’t come without minor bumps in the road. A variety of challenges have arisen whilst building its B2C availability. These range from packaging design and the development of a web store, to logistics and customer support.
“Although many of the tasks are not particularly complex in principle, it often takes longer to obtain or provide all the necessary information. It is a constant learning process from which the team emerges stronger,” explained Sebastian.
The next steps
After the fulfilment of its crowdfunding campaign, the next steps are focused on building a permanent and stable availability of the product through the website. In addition to building a web shop for the European market, the team is also working on distribution via US retailers and distributors worldwide.
“Of course, during all this we do not lose sight of the future competitiveness and are working on improved AirHood concepts,” explained Sebastian.
Teamwork truly does make the dream work, and for the team, the support of its backers will always remain special. Sebastian concluded: “It makes us happy to hear that in the eyes of many we are solving a problem that should have been solved a long time ago. Moreover, it is their excitement about getting the product in their hands soon.”