The digitalization of the forest – using AI to detect more than just forest fires

The summer has only just begun, but news about forest fires is already rising, especially in the Mediterranean region.

Some of these are the result of human irresponsibility, such as the weekend fire in Hydra’s only pine forest, which was started by fireworks. However, climate change and the resulting drought in many locations will increasingly be responsible for forest fires in the future. This even applies to areas that were not previously affected. Forest fires created nearly twice as much CO2 in 2021 as all airplane movements combined.

Numerous companies have identified this rising concern and are using cameras, drones or satellites for the early detection of forest fires. Dryad, a portfolio company of eCAPITAL AG, is taking a different approach. Dryad’s sensor technology uses AI to detect the smoke of fire at a very early stage and transmits an alarm via its own self-sufficient wireless network, eliminating the requirement for a power supply or an internet connection. Dryad’s fire sensors mounted on trees detect smouldering fires, allowing firefighting to begin before the fire has fully spread and preventing the worst effects on people, wildlife, and the climate.

Dryad already serves private forest owners, as well as railway and power line companies. And Dryad founder Carsten Brinkschulte has even more ambitious plans. His goal is to sell 100,000 sensors this year and further develop the AI. Paul-Josef Patt, Managing Partner of eCAPITAL, is convinced by the founder and the technology: “Dryad has what it takes to become a gigacorn.”

In its weekly Start-up Check series, Handelsblatt presents young companies whose innovative potential could also provide impetus for products and solutions in other industries. Last week, Nadine Schimroszik presented Dryad in the Start-up Check. She spoke to Dryad founder Carsten Brinkschulte and Paul-Josef Patt from eCAPITAL. Read her article here (only in German, behind the paywall).

About Dryad
Dryad is an environmental IoT start-up based in Berlin and the only provider of solar-powered environmental sensor networks for ultra-early wildfire detection and forest monitoring. The company’s mission is to develop a large-scale IoT network that allows public and private forest owners to monitor, analyse and protect the world’s largest, most remote forests. Dryad’s technology uses solar-powered gas sensors in a large-scale IoT sensor network to reduce unwanted wildfires, which are causing up to 20% of global CO2 emissions and have a devastating impact on biodiversity. Through dramatically reducing reaction times for wildfires, Dryad aims to prevent 3.9m hectares of forest from burning, preventing 1.7bn tons of CO2 emissions, by 2030.

Founded in 1999, eCAPITAL is an entrepreneur-led venture capital investor focusing on early- and growth-stage deep-tech companies with a positive impact on society. eCAPITAL is based in Germany and invests with its own funds with a total volume of over € 400 million in the areas of Sustainability, Enterprise Software, Cybersecurity, IoT and New Materials. In addition to financial resources, eCAPITAL offers its portfolio companies strategic support and access to an international network of entrepreneurs, scientists, investors and founders and was lead investor in various deep-tech companies such as sonnen, Novaled or Jedox, which were sold very successfully to international corporates or investors.

Dryad Networks GmbH
Eisenbahnstr. 37
16225 Eberswalde, Germany

Bettina Schäfer
Hafenweg 24
48155 Münster, Germany
Tel.: +49 251 70 37 67 0