Aussie drone planting start-up wins backing from billionaire investor

Australian-based drone planting eco-tech company Lord of the Trees, a B-Corp that deploys swarms of drones to undertake reforestation, has gained funding from U.S. entrepreneur Tim Draper. The investment by the billionaire whose investment portfolio includes PayPal Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, Skype and Hotmail increases Lor of the Trees’ valuation to AUD$7 million.

The investment comes from Draper’s ESG fund that backs technology start-ups with inherent ESG principles and the potential to transform industries for a better future.

“For ages I had been wanting to invest in a company that’s truly committed to planet regeneration, and then I found Lord of the Trees!” Draper said. “I was thrilled by their simple technological solution and innovative business model, plus their commitment to meet the growing needs of carbon reduction across the globe.

“I marvel at the possibilities this company is creating for our planet and their commitment to restoring our ecosystems,” Draper added.

Lord of the Trees, featured in a recent issue of the Inside Small Business Magazine, uses precision drone technology, AI and proprietary seed pods to restore ecosystems worldwide. Their technology enables them to achieve a planting rate of about 400,000 seed pods in 12 hours, thereby enhancing the plants’ symbiotic relationship to ensure success of the replanted areas. Currently the company has projects underway in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and imminent plans for new planting to begin planting in Australia’s Daintree rainforest, Greece and parts of America. Discussions for additional projects are under way with local and international government agencies, NGOs, environmental groups, mining corporations and agricultural landowners.

“Not all planting is created equal,” Aymeric Maudous, Lord of The Trees founder and a regular ISB columnist, said. “The old manual, hand planting methods were time-consuming and came with a high failure rate, so the entire approach to reforestation needed a major rethink.

“By combining the knowledge of environment experts, scientists, engineers, animal protection agencies and indigenous communities we are able to deploy swarms of drones to undertake companion planting.

“I believe our significant research and tech capabilities really appealed to Tim Draper, and we are delighted to welcome him as Lord of the Trees’ lead investor,” Maudous added.

The announcement comes at a time when the need for innovative, effective replanting of the planet has never been more urgent:

  • 18.7 million acres of the earth’s forests are lost per year – that’s the equivalent of 27 soccer fields per minute.
  • About half of the world’s tropical forests have now been cleared.
  • 80 per cent of earth’s land animals and plants live in forests.
  • Deforestation threatens these species including the orangutan, Sumatran tiger and many species of birds.