Dendra raises $10m to restore biodiversity with drones

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Dendra has raised $10m in funding to combine drones, AI and ecological expertise to work towards restoring degraded ecosystems.

On Wednesday (16 September), Dendra announced that it has raised $10m in funding to expand its platform for restoring biodiverse ecosystems.

The start-up aims to tackle land degradation, which is one of the factors accelerating the climate crisis. Dendra combines AI, drone technology and deep ecological expertise to help rehabilitate land and restore ecosystems at scale for Fortune 500 companies across regulated industries.

The funding round was led by At One Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Future Positive Capital and Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital. Tom Chi, founding partner of At One Ventures is set to join Dendra’s board of directors, along with Airbus Ventures partner Nicole Conner.

Dendra’s plans

The start-up said that as the link between the destruction of ecosystems, the climate crisis and global health becomes increasingly apparent, companies and investors are seeking new solutions to facilitate private sector leadership on these issues.

Dendra offers these parties an end-to-end platform that uses the whole ecosystem to sustain growth and measurably capture carbon to improve the environment. The company believes this to be a better approach than the trend of planting trees, which some businesses have turned to in order to counteract the impact their work has on the environment.

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Susan Graham, chief executive officer of Dendra, said: “By now, we have all recognised the urgency of climate change and the impact of global land degradation – from frequent flooding, costly wildfires, deforestation and the loss of biodiversity devastating ecosystems across the world.

“We need hands across all industries to fight back if we are going to make a dent on climate change and it starts with restoring our degraded ecosystems and lands.”

The start-up uses ultra high-resolution data capture and ecology-trained artificial intelligence to map and assess degraded land. Leveraging this data, Dendrea creates precise restoration plans for every site’s unique ecological conditions.

Utilising its drones, the company plants 120 seeds a minute per drone, which Dendra claims is significantly faster than traditional manual planting methods.

Dendra continues to collect data and run analytics against progress to predict where future work will be needed, ensure full restoration and put numbers on carbon capture without either the cost or risks of putting physical boots on the ground.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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