Bacho Khachidze & Lashe Kvantaliani Want to Create a Device that Helps you “Breathe Through Your Own Forest”
“Being a team of young entrepreneurs, we wake up every day and ask ourselves: What does the world need that we can provide”?
I had the pleasure to interview Bacho and Lasha the founders of Tbilisi-based startup Treepex. Treepex is an innovative portable device that replicates a tree’s process, transforming polluted air into fresh, mineral-enriched air. The device, uses CRISPR technology to provide a solution to the ever-growing air pollution problem. Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main causes of the evolving air pollution crisis, which takes the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. People living in larger cities, where emissions are more prevalent, are especially affected by air pollution-related diseases. That is why this Greenovative startup, based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally — decided to take action.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for your time. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Bacho: Georgia, our home country, has the highest mortality rate caused by pollution in the world. The problem is unfortunately a global one and the biggest enemy for major big cities. The causes are twofold — increased emissions and disappearing forests. Trees clean the air we breathe by turning it into pure oxygen. At the beginning, our initiative was to encourage people all around the world to plant trees in order to offset pollution. Unfortunately, there was not enough interest in this approach, so we decided to find another way. Now that we have developed our Treepex device, we are confident that we are doing our part to improve and save lives worldwide.
Yitzi: What is your current company goal?
Lasha: Since the beginning of the year, we have been working with sustainability. Now we are focusing on releasing our Greenovative technology. We are making a global launch with the hope that our revolutionary device will change the way people live.
Yitzi: Can you explain how Treepex works?
Bacho: The Treepex device transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen. It replicates the tree’s process of transforming polluted air into fresh, mineral-enriched air.We use CRISPR technology to extract the DNA of actual trees to recreate the living cells that are responsible for photosynthesis and compress them into the device’s cartridge, which emits fresh, clean air for the user. One cartridge contains the same amount of oxygen as a mature tree. We also have a mobile application that will notify you when the cartridge needs to be replaced or the battery charged.
Yitzi: How do you hope to improve the environment for the better with Treepex?
Lasha: We hope that Treepex will become an inseparable part of our lives. It will not only help solve the pollution problem, but it will also save millions of lives.
Yitzi: What drives you?
Bacho: Being a team of young entrepreneurs, we wake up every day and ask ourselves: What does the world need that we can provide? Having grown up in Georgia, I’m unfortunately all too familiar with the problem of pollution. Coming from a relatively small country that is not at the forefront of innovation, I am proud to be contributing a product that will have a major impact on both the Georgian people and so many people worldwide.
Yitzi: Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to a young entrepreneur?
Bacho: Be honest with yourself. Figure out what drives you and what it is that you want to do with your innovation. Whether you’re successful in the end or not — at least enjoy the ride!
Yitzi: Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Lasha: David the Builder, one of the greatest kings in Georgian history. Before one of the battles, he ordered his troops to block the way back home, for the battle was the only way forward. I think this is a good example for entrepreneurs — always go forward and never look back.
Yitzi: What are your future plans?
Because of Treepex’s projected success, we’ve decided to move our headquarters to New York City and to go global. We also continue to brainstorm and develop other ideas that can similarly benefit people worldwide. In fact, we have one project that is already in the planning stages, so stay tuned!
Yitzi: This was really fascinating. Thank you!