Forest drone startup raises $4.8m

Forest drone startup raises $4.8m

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A US startup has raised $4.8m for an AI-based forest monitoring systems using drones.

Treeswift uses drones to fly underneath the forest canopy and machine learning algorithms to process data for monitoring the environment for timber value estimation, deforestation monitoring, advanced growth forecasting, carbon capture estimation, and wildfire fuel estimation.

The seed round was led by Pathbreaker Ventures and brings the total raised to $6.4m. Other investors include Crosslink Capital, TenOneTen Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Boom Capital Ventures, Yes VC, Susa Ventures, Draft Ventures, Anorak Ventures, S7 Ventures, Awesome People Ventures, Switch Ventures, Convective Capital, and Dorm Room Fund.

The SwiftCruise system controls the drones under the canopy, which is a poor environment for GPS navigation, collecting terabytes of data. The system is able to extract individual tree metrics through a combination of cameras, sensors, and machine learning algorithms.

“Treeswift’s solution is able to measure the natural world in a way never before possible,” according to Ryan Gembala, Founder and Managing Partner of Pathbreaker Ventures. “The implications for commercial forestry, carbon capture, and more are profound. I expect the data from their deployments to become a foundation for the biggest opportunities in nature-based solutions and management over the upcoming decades.”

“Our mission is to build the data ecosystem for the natural world, and we are accomplishing that by capturing important data from below the forest canopy,” said Steven Chen, CEO of Treeswift. “We anticipate that Treeswift technology will help to obtain a more transparent, verifiable, and accurate view of the planet from the ground up.”

Treeswift is currently deploying or piloting with commercial forest companies such as Molpus Woodlands Group, Superior Pine Products Company, and Weyerhaeuser where they are estimating forest timber quantity and carbon volumes. 

 “The Molpus team has been particularly impressed with Treeswift’s ability to accurately allocate trees into product classes and to identify stem quality issues impacting value,” said Randy Taylor, Senior Director, Resource Planning of Molpus Woodlands Group. “Understanding and accurately maintaining timber inventories play an important part in managing our clients’ forests to their potential.”

“Treeswift is helping us to manage our business smarter and more strategically,” said Scott Griffin, President and CEO of Fargo, Georgia-based Superior Pine Products Company. “Not only have I been impressed with how much faster and more accurate it is to collect data from our forests, I’m equally impressed with the professionalism and know-how of the Treeswift management team.”

“Forest inventory collection is an enormous part of our business so we are always looking for ways to improve,” added Corey Davis, Vice President, Superior Pine Products Company. “Treeswift helps our timber cruisers collect more actionable data than ever before and we can do so with fewer boots on the ground”

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