ImageTree, a Morgantown, W. Va.-based startup that provides imaging and sensing data services about forests, has closed a $4.5 million Series B round of funding. The investment was led by Battelle Ventures, which last week said it had put $8 million into three energy startups.
Two-year-old ImageTree uses topographical imaging and sensing systems combined with statistical forestry software to provide detailed reports on a forest’s volumetric value. ImageTree CEO Mark Redlus told Earth2Tech that his company plans to use the funding to market and grow the business, and continued work on their ForestSense service, adding functionality like data on carbon sequestration rates.
As the carbon market heats up, Redlus hopes that ImageTree will be well-positioned to accurately quantify the carbon sequestration in a forest, as forests “represent 80 percent of the above ground biomass globally.” A new function of ForestSense will offer customers carbon sequestration information as measured in metric tons of carbon. “[Foresters] will be able to manage their forest at the level they need to with actual information,” said Redlus.
The company says it has already worked with prominent conservation groups like The Conservation Fund and The Nature Conservancy, providing information on forest health, and surveying endangered species habitat and movement patterns. It’s also worked with state governments looking to assess the status of public natural resources.
Working with private enterprise in the form of Timber Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is where ImageTree does most of its business. Redlus explained that forestry management is a centuries-old business but one that many old forest managers, like paper product companies, are exiting. This is good for ImageTree, which can move in and make relationships with the relatively new publicly held REITs and privately owned TIMOs.
Redlus said that ImageTree is also looking to apply their technologies outside of forestry; their systems can be used to measure most any natural resource, he said, including flood plains and natural gas pockets.