Environmental restoration startup AirSeed Technologies is partnering with impact investment manager Conscious Investment Management (CIM) as it sets up a $200 million carbon sequestration fund.
Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or industrial emissions. AirSeed’s way of tackling the issue is through reforestation.
AirSeed was cofounded by mechanical engineer Andrew Walker and geo-spatial data expert Andries Louw, and is based in Sydney and Cape Town, South Africa. The startup’s tree-planting drones use artificial and data-driven intelligence to re-seed barren ground. AirSeed previously raised over $437,000 in a crowdfunding campaign in early 2020.
Walker said the idea was build on using technology to improve the environment. Their model uses drones to autonomously plant seed pods while logging GPS locations and monitoring growth.
“Securing an agreement to work with CIM as it establishes one of the largest carbon sequestration funds of this type is important validation of our value proposition for large-scale application of our solution and brings us significantly closer to our 100 million planting goal by 2024,” Walker said.
He said their company’s reporting is transparent and objective, delivering measurable data on effective reforestation, carbon, and nature project solutions for large corporate and government clients.
AirSeed Technologies began trials on its drone tech in South Africa in early 2019, planting 10 hectares with 10,000 seed pods using a drone they claim is 95% faster than traditional manual planting, and for 20% of the normal cost.
The climate tech is launching its Series A capital raise to provide additional funds to execute the CIM contract and scale the business.
The company’s clients include Telstra, with 240 hectares being seeded to capture around 160,000 tons of carbon over 25 years.
They are also working with the Treasury Wine Estates’brand St Hubert’s The Stag to plant 100,000 seed pods this year.
CIM Partner Alex Debney said they’re delighted to welcome AirSeed as a new impact partner in the environmental sector.
“CIM’s carbon strategy focuses on working with high-quality mission-aligned environmental organisations to rapidly deliver emissions reduction and biodiversity outcomes,” he said.
“We look forward to delivering carbon sequestration and native Australian reforestation at institutional scale by working closely with AirSeed.”
Mara Bún, chair of Australian Impact Investments, and director of Australian Ethical Investments, and GreenCollar, has joined the startup’s board. She is also the Founder of the tech scale-up advisory group, The Salmon Project, and has previously led business development for CSIRO.
Bun said that according to the IPCC, since humans began settlements 10,000 years ago, we have crunched through 70% of nature.
“That just can’t continue, and AirSeed is the biggest bet for restoring all of that at scale and speed, which is why I am delighted to be joining the Board,” she said.
“There are immense global opportunities for AirSeed given the uniqueness of its bio-diverse, scalable “seed pod meets drone” system. Nowhere else is there proprietary technology where the pod captures the local biome and is planted and then monitored via drones for the best chance of success.”
AirSeed is on track to achieve 100 million pods planted by 2024, including via projects that were too large and expensive to tackle until now.
Pilot projects are already underway in Australia across Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland covering more than 650 hectares.
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