climate tech

Startups enter uncharted waters—with help from VCs

October 18, 2021

Saildrone's robotic boats gather data from the oceans. (Courtesy of Saildrone)

Investors believe that precision maps made with far-flung sensors can turn profits, as climate threats call for novel ways to monitor a changing planet.
  • Ocean data startup Saildrone has raised a $100 million Series C led by Bond Capital, with XN, Standard Investments, Emerson Collective and Crowley Maritime also participating.

  • The California startup made waves recently when one of its solar- and wind-powered drones captured video from inside Hurricane Sam and survived the voyage. The company's data is used for defense applications, climate and weather forecasting, and monitoring of fisheries and wind farms.

  • Saildrone has emerged as an apparent leader, but competitors abound. Bedrock and Terradepth offer ocean data collected by unmanned submarines, and Xocean is building out a surface fleet.

  • In space, a similar robotic armada is being used for monitoring. Satellite data companies Planet and Spire both struck SPAC deals to go public this year, with the former valued at around $2.8 billion.

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