DroneSeed today announced it has raised $36 million in its Series A funding round. The round was led by Social Capital and Seven Seven Six, with participation from new and existing investors. Part of these funds were used to acquire Silvaseed, a 130-year-old forestry company, to expand DroneSeed’s seed collection and seedling cultivation services.
A pioneer in climate tech and post-wildfire reforestation, DroneSeed is the only company approved by the FAA to deploy a fleet of heavy-lift drones to reforest after wildfires, enabling healthy forests to grow back. This year, wildfires across the U.S. have already burned nearly six million acres of land, demonstrating the growing need for a full suite of vertically integrated reforestation services like those DroneSeed offers.
DroneSeed can drop seed vessels within 30 days after a fire, compared to traditional methods which can take years of waiting to replant. After it reforests burned land, DroneSeed sells the resulting carbon credits to organizations looking to go carbon neutral or negative.
“Global reforestation is key to our fight against climate change,” said Jay Zaveri, a partner at Social Capital. “We’ve supported DroneSeed from the very beginning given its promise to terraform our planet for good. Since then, DroneSeed has scaled its effort to reforest land, found a profitable model through carbon markets, and transformed the experience of forest development for landowners.”
“DroneSeed is using technology to restore forests faster and help save our planet. Their team’s mission-driven approach is what made this investment and partnership a natural fit for Seven Seven Six,” said Katelin Holloway, Founding Partner at Seven Seven Six who is joining the board as an observer. “DroneSeed has recruited fantastic talent from diverse communities and disciplines, and we are thrilled to support them as they take on an incredibly important global challenge: climate change.”
DroneSeed has expanded Silvaseed, which grows millions of trees per year, to become the largest private seed bank west of Colorado. The acquisition positions DroneSeed as a one-stop-shop for reforestation services including seed collection, seedling cultivation, aerial drone-based seeding, and financing with carbon credits. DroneSeed plans to further expand, doubling its capacity to address increased demand for reforestation services by the middle of next year.
“Recent data has shown that natural forest regeneration is in significant decline due to the size and severity of fires which destroy seed sources. Fire season is expected to only get worse because of climate change,” said DroneSeed CEO, Grant Canary. “This funding round, coupled with the acquisition of Silvaseed, enables us to scale up the infrastructure needed for reforestation to meet this skyrocketing demand and customer need. That starts with seed.”
In addition to acquiring Silvaseed to expand its seed supply, DroneSeed will use this funding to respond to the 2021 fire season already underway, adding on more reforestation projects, generating carbon credits, and expanding its services geographically in the future.
Along with Social Capital and Seven Seven Six, new investors in this raise include DBL Partners, which was an early investor in Tesla and SpaceX; Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify; Resilience Reserve; and Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures. Existing investor Spero Ventures also participated with Marc Tarpenning, the co-founder of Tesla, continuing his role as a board observer. More than 60 percent of the capital invested in the round came from investors with a climate and impact fund focus.
Additional investors and syndicates include Gaingels with Flight.vc, HBS Lady Angels, Julia Lipton’s Awesome People Ventures, and the Coalition angels including Ashley Mayer. Four of nine angel list syndicates are LGBTQ+ or female-led. This round includes continued participation from prior investors Massive, Drone.vc, and Rob Ness Syndicate who have supported the company since DroneSeed completed Techstars Seattle in 2016.
DroneSeed is scaling reforestation to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. The company is the first and only FAA approved for heavy-lift drone swarms in all states west of Colorado. After its recent acquisition of Silvaseed, DroneSeed is now the first vertically integrated reforestation company in the industry and one of the largest private seed suppliers in the nation. The company is actively developing projects in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, British Columbia, and Hawaii. DroneSeed’s current reforestation customer projects include tribal nations, three of five of the largest timber companies, nonprofits such as The Nature Conservancy, government agencies, and family forests. For more information, visit https://droneseed.com/. Download photos and videos here.
Mary Caroline Pruitt