Over the past decade, drones have become an increasingly important tool for forest surveillance. This is a fast and efficient way to collect a lot of data at the same time without affecting the natural balance too much. Founded in 2020 as a subsidiary of the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab, TreeSwift is committed to delivering on that promise.
Founders Stephen Chen, Elizabeth Hunter, Michael Shomin and Vaibhav Arcot combined their expertise in drone swarming and forestry to create a system capable of collecting vast amounts of data in one go. This information, collected by onboard cameras and sensors, can be used for a variety of applications, including monitoring deforestation, measuring carbon sequestration, and forest fire prevention.
“Our mission is to create a data ecosystem for the natural world, and we achieve this by collecting important data from under the canopy,” Chen, CEO of the startup, said in a press release. “We hope that TreeSwift technology will help provide a more transparent, verifiable and accurate representation of the planet above the earth.”
This week, accordingly, the company announced a seed round. $4.8 million in funding led by Pathbreaker Ventures brings the total to $6.4 million.
“TreeSwift’s solution is able to measure the world around us like never before,” said Pathmaker’s Ryan Gembala. “The implications of commercial forestry, carbon capture and more are huge. I expect the data from their implementation to be the basis for the greatest opportunities in natural solutions and management in the coming decades.
The Philadelphia-based startup’s main offering is SwiftCruise, a combination of hardware and software capable of collecting statistics on a tree. The information is processed by built-in machine learning algorithms and collected on a cloud-based dashboard. This is a more detailed image than a typical image obtained using methods such as satellite or aircraft imagery.
TreeSwift is currently testing its technology with several commercial forestry companies.