Climate right for raising tech funds

Friday 28 Feb 2020

 
Startups are capitalising on renewed interest in environmental solutions after Australia's bushfires brought climate change to the front of investors' minds.

"We've got a problem in front of us. If we don't act, it will get worse. Where there's a problem, there's a market," co-founder of AirSeed Technologies Andrew Walker said. Late last year in this newsletter we covered the company and technology.

Mr Walker and his South African-based co-founder Andries Louw have raised more than $180,000 in just over two days (mid-February) on their path to a million-dollar crowdfunding raise via the Onmarket platform for their drone-based seed-planting technology.

Having bootstrapped AirSeed to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars, the pair are now turning to the crowd for a capital boost ahead of expanding trials of their offer into the Australian market.

The startup has developed a process it says is 95 per cent faster than manual tree planting, using drone duos to drop specially designed seed pods and use GPS locating to track their growth. It wants to plant 100 million trees by 2023.

After undertaking trials in Gabon in central Africa, Mr Walker said AirSeed was ready to bring resources home to Australia this year to focus on reforestation efforts for an environment ravaged by bushfire. "This is a global problem and one of the consequences [of climate change] is more loss. As a consequence of that warming, we’re seeing worse disasters, worse wildfires," he said.

AirSeed is aiming to assist with those challenges by providing an efficient way for businesses and governments to replant trees when needed and in the context of offsetting carbon emissions. Mr Walker said the time was right for the business to turn to equity crowdfunding at this point because investors were hungry for information on long-term solutions for a world experiencing climate change.

Companies like AirSeed face competition, like Droneseed, a Seattle-founded business who spoke to local forestry companies at last year’s ForestTECH 2019 series. They use a similar approach to restore environments after wildfire destruction. In its fundraising offer, AirSeed acknowledges the competition but claims its design is cutting edge and can carry more seeds which are non-germinated, meaning they can last longer before planting.

Source: The Age, Photo; AirSeed Technologies



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