Throughout the city, Shameek Das (MA 2018) strolls around with a burnt orange leather messenger bag in hand and a sleek black bag on his back. Both bags are part of Das’ venture called Feuvio, a company that combines reliable technology and luxury design to create functional travel bags for an active urban lifestyle.
Shameek Das is a University of Toronto masters graduate from the Biology and Environmental Sciences program. In January 2022, Das presented his self-sanitizing products at the Startup Intake Pitch Competition and at the University of Toronto’s Entrepreneurship Week. In his presentations, he demonstrates Feuvio’s unique feature which is a button that activates a built-in UV light to disinfect bag items within three minutes.
Das had previously worked for a technology company in sunscreen development, and he has spent years studying UV in sunlight and how to block it. “Then I thought, what if we use the UV sunlight instead?” Das says in an online interview, noting that UV is just high-energy light and can be useful to us when properly controlled. Feuvio draws on a sanitization process called UV-C sterilization, where UV-C light rays eliminate germs on items and areas it shines on.
“This technology has been used for hundreds of years now, in spaces like surgery rooms,” Das explains, “we know this technology works and exists, but it’s not necessarily accessible or widely available.” Das notes that there is an unreliable market of counterfeit bags and fake UV lights sold online. This technology can be harmful when misused or when our skin is directly exposed to UV light rays. Feuvio’s design ensures that the technology is safe and is incorporated within the seams so that when the product is zipped up, no light can escape.
Das values including safety in Feuvio’s design and use, so the bag’s sanitization process does not harm items like electronic devices and it includes space for work essentials such as laptops, books and more. Another feature Das describes is adjustable handles and straps, so people can travel comfortably with high quality and fashionable material. “Safety is sometimes ignored because it’s not cool or inconvenient,” Das adds, “like choosing not to wear a hat in the winter when it doesn’t match an outfit, or sanitizing your phone in public because it takes effort and looks awkward.” Das did not want to sacrifice style or convenience in the bag’s design and says, “when you look at the bag, you wouldn’t necessarily know there’s UV light in it, and it will sanitize your items effortlessly and out of sight.”
Feuvio products are functional, fashionable and sustainable. They use vegan leather that is waterproof and chosen for attracting fewer germs than traditional leather. Das notes that these decisions are in an effort to reduce waste production problems that plague the fashion industry. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased use of microplastic-filled disinfectant wipes and single-use sanitization products.
“We don’t know how dangerous our single-use wipes’ waste is in this pandemic,” Das adds, “we dispose of possibly biohazardous wipes if it touched the disease to landfills with animals like bats and mice and we know it can spread to them and right back to us.”
Das brought his knowledge and ideas to The Hub, where they assisted with guidance, opportunities and business planning. “They [gave] me the advice I need to get this project running,” Das says, gesturing to his bags. “I envisioned this product to be useful for those who are safety conscious, and our heroes in the front-lines since you never know what’s on the last thing you touched,” Das says, so that Feuvio can provide an effective, safe, and stylish measure, essential for living and working during a pandemic or even post-pandemic.
With support from The Hub, Feuvio plans to launch a Kickstarter to gather interest in their products. Learn more at www.feuvio.com
Watch an interview with Shameek here