Start up environmental recovery AirSeed Technologies works together with impact investment manager Conscious Investment Management (CIM) in setting 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 problem is through reforestation.
AirSeed was co-founded by mechanical engineer Andrew Walker and geo-spatial data expert Andries Louw, and is based in Sydney and Cape Town, South Africa. The startups Tree planting drones use artificial and data-driven intelligence to reseed barren soil. AirSeed earlier grossed over $437,000 in a crowdfunding campaign in early 2020.
Walker said the idea was based on using technology to improve the environment. Their model uses drones to autonomously plant seed pods while logging GPS locations and tracking growth.
“Entering an agreement to partner with CIM as it establishes one of the largest carbon sequestration funds of its type is an important validation of our value proposition for large-scale deployment of our solution and moves us significantly closer to our goal of 100 million plants by 2024,” Walker said.
He said their company’s reporting is transparent, objective and provides measurable data on effective solutions for reforestation, carbon and wildlife projects for large corporate and government clients.
AirSeed Technologies began trials of its drone technology in South Africa in early 2019, planting 10 hectares with 10,000 seed pods using a drone that they say is 95% faster than traditional manual planting, and at 20% of the normal cost .
Climate technology is launching its Series A capital raise to provide additional funds to execute the CIM contract and scale the company.
The company’s customers include Telstra, whose 240 hectares are seeded to capture approximately 160,000 tons of carbon over 25 years.
They’re also partnering with Treasury Wine Estates’ St Hubert’s The Stag brand to plant 100,000 seed pods this year.
CIM partner Alex Debney said he was 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 organizations to rapidly achieve emissions reductions and biodiversity outcomes,” he said.
“We look forward to delivering institutional-scale carbon sequestration and Indigenous Australian reforestation 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 previously led business development for CSIRO.
Bun said that, according to the IPCC, since humans started settlements 10,000 years ago, we’ve broken through 70% of nature.
“That just can’t go on, and AirSeed is the biggest bet to recover all of that at scale and speed, which is why I’m thrilled to be joining the board,” she said.
“There is tremendous global opportunity 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 plant 100 million pods by 2024, including through projects that have been too large and expensive to tackle until now.
Pilot projects are already underway in Australia in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, covering more than 650 hectares.