In 2014, co-founder Tien Hsieh realized that whether they realized it or not, one day people around the world may need to be protected every day from extreme air pollution. It wasn’t until a few years later, as a master’s student in London, that Tien began to feel the drastic effects of the city’s air pollution. He was drawn in by the friendly, historical, colorful city, but couldn’t truly enjoy it due to the extreme situation of the city’s air pollution. His respiratory system felt uncomfortable during daily transportation in the city, and it was then that he realized people have nothing to protect themselves from outdoor air pollution in Western countries. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and worked to create a solution to what he viewed as a public health emergency.
In 2019, Tien had a chance to visit Kjenndalsbreen glacier in Loen in Norway. The beauty of the unique terrain was inspirational, and the clean, fresh air seemed to be locked into this glacier valley, creating an otherworldly feeling. Tien felt that he was breathing the cleanest air that he had ever experienced before, and he had never felt as relaxed and peaceful. Immediately, he knew he wanted everyone around the world to experience air this clean, this superior.
Upon his return to London, Tien discussed his revelation with his old friend John Chen, who is also an air expert and a Ph.D. student at Washington University in St Louis. With their combined environmental knowledge and scientific backgrounds, Tien and John began to perform intensive research to find a solution to the problem of air pollution that the world currently faces. Within 6 months, they had created a wonderful method and device that offers people sustainable protection, indoors or outdoors, for any and every occasion. Inspired by the clean air of the Kjenndalsbreen glacier, they named their new innovation LIK.