US billionaire Tim Draper, famed for his investments in PayPal, Tesla, Twitter, Coinbase and Robinhood, among others, has backed Australia-based eco-tech firm Lord of the Trees (LOTT) that plans $1.25 drones. million (A$1.67). m) pre-seed round.
The investment values LOTT, established in 2019, at A$7 million.
Lord of the Trees is a global reforestation company that uses swarms of precision drones, AI and patented seed pods that can plant up to 400,000 seed pods in 12 hours.
The startup already has projects underway in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, with plans underway for new plantings of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, Greece and parts of the Americas.
LOTT founder Aymeric Maudous said talks are underway with local and international government agencies, NGOs, environmental groups, mining companies and farmland owners for new projects.
His drone planting solution has the potential to transform reforestation programs and the scale at which they can operate.
“Not all plants are created equal. The old manual, manual planting methods were time consuming and had a high failure rate, so the whole approach to reforestation had to be thoroughly reconsidered,” Maudous said.
“By combining the knowledge of environmentalists, scientists, engineers, animal protection agencies and indigenous communities, we can deploy swarms of drones to plant companion animals.”
Maudous said the LOTT planting rate improves the symbiotic relationship of the plants to ensure the success of the replanted areas.
“I believe our significant research and engineering capabilities have greatly appealed to Tim Draper, and we are delighted to welcome him as Lord of the Trees’ lead investor,” he said.
Draper said LOTT was the answer to a question he’d been asking for a while.
“For ages I wanted to invest in a company that is truly committed to restoring the planet, and then I found Lord of the Trees!” he said.
“I was impressed with their simple technology solution and innovative business model, plus their commitment to meeting growing carbon abatement needs around the world. I am amazed at the opportunities this company is creating for our planet and their commitment to restoring our ecosystems.”