DroneSeed, an environment-focused tech company, announced last week the company raised $36 million or roughly Rs 266 crores in its Series A funding round. The Seattle, US-based startup DroneSeed gained prominence last year when it announced plans to reforest areas in the US West Coast affected by wildfires via drones. Currently, the company is executing projects in the US states of Idaho, Colorado, California, British Columbia, Hawaii, and Washington DC. In a press note, DroneSeed claimed it is the only company approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to deploy a fleet of heavy-lift drones to reforest after wildfires. In 2021, wildfires across the US have reportedly affected nearly six million acres of land – demonstrating the growing need for a full suite of vertically integrated reforestation services like those DroneSeed offers.
The funding drive was led by Palo Alto-based venture capital firm Social Capital and Miami-based firm, Seven Seven Six. The whopping amount of Rs 266 crores also includes the investment needed for acquiring the 130-year-old forestry company, Silvaseed. Along with Social Capital and Seven Seven Six, new investors in this raise include DBL Partners, which was an early investor in Tesla and SpaceX; Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify; Resilience Reserve; and Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures. This move is aimed at expanding the seed cultivation and collection area of DroneSeed.
Speaking over the development, DroneSeed CEO, Grant Canary, fire season in the US is expected to “get worse” because of climate change. “This funding round, coupled with the acquisition of Silvaseed, enables us to scale up the infrastructure needed for reforestation to meet this skyrocketing demand and customer need. That starts with seed,” Canary added in the press release.
Flying close to the landscape, the drones deploy seed packets at places where the probability of growth is the highest. The company uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze and find healthy spots of land. What used to take multiple human labourers and long hours of manual work is now done by DroneSeed very smoothly and human-free.