Welcome back to our Founder Spotlight Series interviews, where we share insights, experiences, and advice from some of our client founders. For this post, we spoke with Brad Reid, founder and President of Brighter Future Homes, to hear how they're using organic cleaning systems to improve air quality and replace the need for traditional filters.
As winter brings cooler days and nights across much of the world, many of us will spend more time indoors. That means sharing space—and air—with coworkers and family members. Before the pandemic, that might not have caused much concern. But now, with our expanded understanding of airflow, the need for efficient and high-quality air cleaning is becoming more top of mind.
Thankfully, it's a problem that Bright Future Homes founder Brad Reid has been thinking about for some time. Reid and his team have developed and patented the Living Atmosphere Control System (LACS). This organic air cleaning system provides more air benefits than traditional HEPA filtration while costing less to install and operate.
Reid said he has always been fascinated with sustainability and finding ways to use nature as a blueprint for solving problems. Like paths in nature, his entrepreneurial journey wasn't a straight line. He started studying pre-health sciences to become a paramedic.
"I always wanted to help people. I knew that. But I determined that being a paramedic wasn't right for me, so I went back to study business. I had always run my own businesses throughout school, from a portable car detailing business to a painting and staining company," Reid said.
After building and running those businesses for over a decade, Reid had the finances and time to think about his next move that would bring him back to his goal of helping people using innovations based on nature.
"I've always wanted a career of doing something more sustainable. What I really wanted to do was work with plants. I had some ideas and had filed for patents on my designs for Living Atmosphere Control Systems and they were approved in pretty short order," Reid said.
The inspiration for Reid's ideas came from his studies of ant colonies. He said his fascination with nature and insects helped him develop the technology behind the LACS. Reid studied how ants control the conditions to grow fungus underground year-round.
"They do this without the use of fans or anything like that. They manage the thermal conditions inside their colonies by opening and closing air ducts and using thermal layering to their advantage. It allows them to maintain the conditions needed to grow a fungal garden that they keep up all year round. I saw some interesting principles applied there. Nature has already done everything we need, we just need to take the time to study it closer," Reid said.
While Reid had found success as an entrepreneur with his previous ventures, he said he had some skill set gaps and needed help to bring Brighter Future Homes to life. He said joining the Accelerator Centre was the perfect way to help fill those gaps with access to our experienced mentors.
"I knew there'd be a lot that I could learn from joining the Accelerator Centre. I leaned on the experiences of the mentors where I needed to. I think it's important for any entrepreneur to know that you can't do everything on your own," Reid said.
As part of the AC:Studio program, Brighter Future Homes received a $30,000 grant to help Reid develop their MVP. Reid said the funding and mentorship were highly beneficial to bringing his vision to reality. Today, Brighter Future Homes has three versions of its air purifiers available for purchase.
"They plug and play into any standard outlet and they use our LACS process to filter the air for debris like a HEPA filter does, But we also impact CO2, O2, and humidity, things those other filters don't do. To top that off our Canadian-made purifiers are made from 100% recycled plastic and generate zero waste while cleaning the air," Reid said.
Reid said choosing the Accelerator Centre was the right move to get the funding and mentorship needed to bring LACS to market. When Reid applied, his original goal was to produce prefabricated homes that had the LACS technology built into them. One of the first things he said the mentors helped with was narrowing that focus down to something more manageable.
"I joined the Accelerator Centre with kind of a grand ambitious plan—and the mentors really showed me how moving to a more realistic category would be better. Specifically, I needed to prove product market fit," Reid said.
Reid said Accelerator Centre Mentors Kevin Hood and Kevin Elp helped build a solid foundation for Brighter Future Homes' sales, marketing, and finance structure. He added this was critical for him as a hardware startup founder.
"We were a brand new physical product, not another app. It's kind of creating a new niche industry in itself—and it's a lot of work. We had to do a bit more legwork in terms of focusing on the MVP to get some market traction and then get sales. The mentors helped us develop a business plan that got us from here to there," Reid said.
For founders looking at the Accelerator Centre, Reid said there are two things to remember. First, every entrepreneur has to go into the experience of starting a business, realizing that things are not going to be precisely what they want at all times. Second, entrepreneurs need to be persistent and patient—your plans will change along the way to your vision, but you need to keep working towards your goal.
"At the end of the day, when you come into a new idea, and you're gonna make a go of it as an entrepreneur, be willing to listen to other people's ideas and interpret that into yours. A good entrepreneur is going to be flexible. You're not going to always win every battle. You need to learn from your losses—and part of that learning philosophy is making some changes."