Five Questions With: Jamie Mitri

Jamie Mitri is the founder and CEO of Moss Pure, a maintenance-free, live moss product that filters air quality while bringing a natural aesthetic to indoor spaces.

PBN: For those unfamiliar with Moss Pure, what is the product’s function, and how does it work? What gap did you envision it would fill in the market and customers’ lives?

MITRI: I created Moss Pure during a startup competition at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] (MIT Lebanon Challenge) where it won First Place Startup in June 2020. The United Nations then asked me to participate in their Development Programme, where Moss Pure won Top 10 Startup in August 2020.

During the MIT competition, I realized that live moss has tremendous health benefits. But no one was able to keep living moss alive for more than a few days and no other company was able to use live moss as an air filter. Most moss wall décor companies were using preserved or dried moss, which are no longer living.

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Customers wanted live moss products without needing to water or provide maintenance to their product. So, I created Moss Pure: the world’s only live moss air filter and stress relief device. No watering, sunlight, or maintenance is needed. All while being an aesthetically pleasing and modern décor piece in your home and office.

PBN: What are the main challenges of working with live moss, and how did you innovate around these obstacles to create Moss Pure?

MITRI: If you were just to take live moss and put it on a frame or a décor piece, it wouldn’t live for more than a few days and it wouldn’t be an effective air filter. We aren’t just adding moss to a frame or décor piece. Our patent-pending science is what makes Moss Pure a long-lasting moss air filter that doesn’t need watering or maintenance. I spent months conducting testing with live moss and using both biology and engineering to create our design.

Another innovative trait is the simple design. Most air filters are not aesthetically pleasing décor pieces. Our products use a lot of science but have such a simple, modern design. I did this purposely and took a design risk based on testing with 150 customers in the U.S.

PBN: How do you think the state’s recent push to further biotech and life sciences innovation could impact Moss Pure?

MITRI: I think it’s a good thing. I’m a graduate of URI [University of Rhode Island] with two Bachelor of Science degrees, in biology and chemical engineering. The biotech field is where most chemical engineers end up, as this industry is where the high-value and high-paying jobs are.

When I graduated URI in 2010 during the recession, I didn’t want to commute or move out of Rhode Island, and I wanted to work in the biotech field. I’m a huge advocate of pushing biotech and life sciences innovation in the state because it gives native Rhode Islanders the opportunity to create high-value and high-paying jobs that compete with the jobs in Boston. By doing this, you retain the talented and educated Rhode Islanders who would otherwise be going out of state for the higher-paying jobs.

PBN: What are your thoughts on Rhode Island’s overall innovation ecosystem, and what else needs to happen to support entrepreneurs in the Ocean State?

MITRI: We were recently awarded 2023’s Most Innovative Company in Biotech and Life Sciences field by the Providence Business News. This award in itself is not only good for Moss Pure but for other biotech companies and entrepreneurs in the state.

Innovation in this field is being celebrated, and I hope it inspires others to do the same. I’m not sure if there are already grants and programs in place, but I’d like to know about more opportunities for grants, especially for women entrepreneurs. It’s a difficult task being not only an entrepreneur, but creating an innovative business makes entrepreneurship even more challenging.

PBN: What are your goals for Moss Pure going forward?

MITRI: I’m continuing to grow and expand the business. We ship nationally and globally, and I want our innovation and impact to reach as many people as possible!

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.