Forests are not only the lungs of our planet, but they are also home to more species than any other terrestrial habitat on Earth. Balancing the preservation of these rich habitat structures with the sustainable production of wood products is no easy task, particularly given the lack of transparency and the persistent corruption in the logging sector. While technology can’t solve all of our problems, it can surely curb unlawful practices, contribute towards improved transparency in the forestry sector and even tackle climate change through sustainable practices.
We’ve put together a list of 10 most promising European forestry tech startups that are set to digitize the industry, boost trust in forest management and combat rising levels of CO2 by embracing digital advancements. Each one of these business models showcases that there’s never been a better time to invest in forests and the digital revolution that will give back decades into the future.
Xylene – Xylene revolutionises the way wood is offered on the market. Founded by Giuseppe Benenati and Christopher Edwards in 2019, in Reutlingen, Germany, the company provides a transparency and traceability solution for all producers and importers of products like regulated raw materials, by enabling them to take control over their supply chain and comply with legislations and certifications. Their unique approach works hand in hand with European legal frameworks, such as the EUTR (European Union Timber Regulation) and allows for the tracking of the wood supply chain, at the same time validating the origin of the wood as certified or not. The young company combines space technology, blockchain and supply chain mapping to create a single source of truth for all parties, thus contributing to sustainable forestry. Finally, Xylene’s innovative technology allows for the sharing of the timber journey with the final consumer of forest products.
Timbeter – Timbeter is a forest tech company specializing in timber measurement and data management using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Aiming to make forestry more sustainable, one log at a time, the company introduced a smartphone application that helps measure timber quickly and accurately. Founded in 2013 by Anna-Greta Tsahkna, Martin Kambla and Vallo Visnapuu, Timbeter has its headquarters in Tallinn, Estonia. The startup promises to optimise forestry, securing legal trade and eradicating illegal logging. “By facilitating smooth digital data exchange between the government and companies, it is easier to ensure sustainable forest management and fight illegal logging,” says Anna-Greta Tsahkna, CEO of Timbeter.
20tree.ai – is on a mission to become the standard in predictive planet intelligence by leveraging AI, satellite imagery and computing power. The startup is working towards a greener future by providing a solution that aids forest industry companies, NGOs, and governments to improve decision making with timely and accurate insights into natural resources. Founded in 2018, the Portuguese startup combines Planet’s daily monitoring with Copernicus’ Sentinel 1 and 2 data to understand the characteristics of forests and harvest wood sustainably.
CollectiveCrunch – Based in Helsinki, Finland and founded in 2016, this Scandinavian startup is all about harnessing the power of technology in the world of natural resources. The team has developed an innovative AI platform dubbed as Linda Forest, which is a turn-key SaaS solution that predicts wood mass, wood species and wood quality of target areas far more accurate that any existing conventional methods. The company utilizes climate, geo, and customer process data to make better predictions of forest inventory. Their cutting-edge AI platform was officially launched in September 2019 and is a game-changer for forest management companies, forest funds and wood product companies who can now make better buying and selling decisions. Probably one of the largest AI initiatives in this sector, CollectiveCrunch has the potential to become the “Google Maps” of the forestry industry, handling the forests in a much more sustainable and dynamic way. The Finland-based analytics startup has raised, so far, a total of €850K in funding over 2 rounds.
Satelligence – On a mission to help its customers thrive on a healthy planet, Dutch geo startup Satelligence leverages satellite data to change the world for the better, fighting deforestation and protecting our natural resources. Aware that they are tackling a complex problem, the Utrecht-based team founded in 2016, works with important partner organisations, such as environmental NGOs, government agencies and big players in commodity value chains. Apart from geomatics and remote sensing, the Satelligence team is educated in environmental science and computer programming to be able to orchestrate the innovative geodata platform. The startup recently teamed up with Dutch investment management firm, Robeco to make sustainability investing a reality and detect deforestation in palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, and raised its last round of €600K in 2019.
Tesselo – Portugal-based startup Tesselo tackles natural disasters, such as forest fires by combining the use of satellite images and artificial intelligence. With a clear focus on preserving forest areas, the team comprises of sustainability-minded professionals who believe that they can act at scale to take better care of our environment by drastically improving monitoring capacities. Founded in 2017 in Lisbon, the startup is able, through its technology, to classify tree species, measure and predict the growth of the forest, monitor crops, detect pests and even estimate the risk or impact of forest fires.
Dendra Systems – Dendra Systems, previously called BioCarbon Engineering, is a UK-based technology company leveraging artificial intelligence and drones to plant trees and, ultimately benefit the environment. The team strives to “re-green” our planet and restore our ecosystems by using automation and digital intelligence. The company promises to be 150x faster than any other traditional planting methods. Their method is indeed likely to be far more efficient as seeds are fired directly into the ground covered by a biodegradable pod, with the help of drones. Founded in 2014, the company is made of passionate engineers, plant scientists and drone experts committed to leaving the earth a better place than they found it. With Dendra’s technology, 10 billion trees can be planted each year and in often hard accessible places. The company gained global recognition for its efforts and was featured by the World Economic Forum.
Land Life Company – Based in Amsterdam, Land Life Company is all about trees, specializing in giving life back to degraded land, and offering full reforestation services. The Green Dutch startup came up with a low-cost, sustainable and scalable solution, a COCOON technology, which allows them to revitalize entire ecosystems and communities all over the world. Operating across 25 countries and counting on a diverse team of 30 motivated professionals, the company succeeded in patenting a product that enables trees to grow in dry and degraded land. Using GPS-led drills and automated planting systems to drive speed and efficiency in the field, Land Life is bringing back nature where it cannot come back unaided. The company planted 1 million trees in 2019 and plans on tripling this number by the end of 2020 as well as continue working on their journey to restore the world’s 2 billion hectares of degraded land. The Holland-based startup raised €3.5 million in Series A funding in 2018.
Terramonitor – Finland-based startup Terramonitor is on a mission to democratize satellite data and make it accessible for everyone. Their goal is to help companies and individuals take better decisions and one of the sectors that benefits most from their state-of-the-art technology is the forestry industry. The team developed ForestMonitor as a complete service for getting up-to-date images of forests and other land areas. The maps in ForestMonitor are pre-processed using artificial intelligence and machine learning models. There is a constant detection and optical correction running to produce the best quality of maps. Besides an accurate report of logging, the startup promises to improve the way forests are managed and grown, by detecting changes in biodiversity, determining biomass and finding out the ratio of various tree types.