- US-based Pano AI has raised a $17 million growth capital round for its technology that can detect wildfires and issue warnings to local firefighters.
- Valor Equity Partners led the round with participation from new investors Salesforce Ventures, T-Mobile Ventures, and the 5G Open Innovation Lab,
- Existing investors Initialized Capital, Congruent Ventures, Convective Capital, January Ventures, Kevin Mahaffey and Jade Van Doren also contributed.
- Pano AI will allocate the new funding towards R&D as well as new hires and market expansion.
Why it matters:
“The world has seen increasingly severe and frequent wildfires and other natural disasters in recent years,” says Pano AI CEO and founder Sonia Kastner.
To her point, extreme wildfires will increase 14% by 2030, 30% by 2050 and 50% by 2100, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Incidences like last summer’s wildfires in London — not a place normally associated with such disasters — and the “off the charts” numbers of wildfires in Canada this summer underscore the urgency of the situation.
“Even in an economic downturn, we must act rapidly to cope with these escalating effects of climate change,” says Kastner, who adds that the new funding “signifies [Pano AI’s] emerging market leadership and growing commercial traction and emphasizes the urgent need for innovative technologies that focus on climate adaptation.”
The Pano AI setup involves high-definition cameras installed on mountaintops that scan the landscape. AI can absorb this footage to detect smoke or fires, then alert fire professionals “within minutes.”
Pano AI says it currently serves more than 6 million acres across US states California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. It also operates in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. Typical Pano AI customers right now include power utilities, private landowners and government firefighting agencies.
Pano AI also has a partnership with T-Mobile to deploy cameras over the latter’s 5G networks, thereby speeding up the time it takes for the system to detect fires. T-Mobile Ventures, which came onboard for this round, is an affiliate.
Pano AI will use the new funding to further advance its platform as well as build out its team and expand across high fire-risk areas in North America and Europe. According to an interview with TechCrunch, an eventual expansion to Europe is also in the works.
The growth round is an extension of Pano AI’s $20 million Series A raise from last year. The company is planning a Series B for 2024.