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Draper backs ecosystem restoration startup

Megan Hernbroth
Mar 30, 2022
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Lord of the Trees, a climate tech startup that wants to restore damaged ecosystems using drones and engineered seed pods, raised $1.25 million in pre-seed funding, the company tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Reforestation and ecosystem restoration companies are key players in the supply side of the carbon credits market that other companies rely on to reach net-zero goals.

The details: Draper Associates led the pre-seed round, which included other individual private investors.

How it works: Australia-based Lord of the Trees sells contracts to private companies, municipalities or non-profit organizations to undertake restoration of a particular ecosystem.

  • It uses pre-programmed military drones from partner manufacturing companies, outfits them with proprietary seed pods engineered to provide nutrients to different seed species and sends them out to drop the seeds in a pre-determined area.
  • Many of the startups' existing customers target hard-to-reach or hostile ecosystems like snake-populated mangroves or remote corners of the Amazon rainforest.
  • Lord of the Trees also manages the carbon credits generated from each project on behalf of its customers.
  • On average, it charges about $1,200 per acre per project.

What we're watching: Carbon offsets remains a hot commodity with increasing investor interest trickling into companies offering buy-and-sell carbon offset markets. If demand keeps going up and to the right, any startup generating carbon credits could be in a unique position.

What's next: Lord of the Trees will use the funds to develop new pods optimized for what founder and CEO Aymeric Maudous calls "blue carbon," which includes kelp forests and seaweed fields.

  • The company did not disclose when it would embark on another fundraise.
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