Venture Capital

Burnbot Reels in $20 Million

SAN FRANCISCO — BurnBot has raised $20 million in financing to expand its mechanized vegetation management and fuel treatment solutions to prevent destructive wildfires. The round was led by ReGen Ventures, with participation from Toyota VenturesAmFam VenturesConvective CapitalBlue Forest Asset ManagementSkip CapitalOverture VenturesLowercarbon Capital and Pathbreaker Ventures.

As the frequency and severity of wildfires increase, preventing mass devastation requires scalable, fuels treatment for brush clearance, prescribed burns, and forest restoration. Composed of a team of wildland firefighters, scientists, engineers, prescribed fire practitioners, and forestry professionals, BurnBot is addressing these challenges with its system of technologies that amplify workforce capacity to conduct safe, efficient, and ecological fuels treatment from mastication to prescribed fire.

“We know that to prevent destructive wildfires, we need to reduce ignitions around critical infrastructure, we need to fortify homes and communities with fuel breaks, and we need to restore our forests, grasslands, and watersheds with beneficial fire. BurnBot exists to amplify efforts across all these areas,” said Anukool Lakhina, Co-Founder and CEO of BurnBot. “We are delighted to have the commitment from this investor group, which will allow us to scale our manufacturing and field operations, advancing towards a future that is resilient against destructive wildfires.”

Systematic use of beneficial fire plays a pivotal role in fostering a healthy ecosystem and mitigating the risk of devastating wildfires. The prescribed burn process today however is labor intensive, weather and season-dependent, and although rare, can lead to escaped fires. This limits its application to specific times of the year and on lands far away from infrastructure and neighborhoods.

To amplify prescribed fire capacity, BurnBot developed the RX, a mechanized prescribed fire system that precisely deploys fire within an enclosed chamber, cooling the land as it moves. “Our technology is a force multiplier, enabling small crews to treat areas 10X faster and more efficiently. We know that fire is an effective and ecological way to manage fuel buildup and we designed the RX to operate with minimal smoke and escape risk, so it’s safe for use year-round, even near communities and critical infrastructure. This investment will allow us to expand our technology development and operations, and we’re excited to make a positive impact,” said Waleed “Lee” Haddad, Co-Founder and CTO of BurnBot.

“With the RX, we were able to quickly establish unit segments and boundaries, simplifying the most labor-intensive part of our operations and freeing up personnel to complete a safe, broadcast burn on time. We literally could not have done this treatment without BurnBot,” said Jared Childress, burn boss and program manager for the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association who leveraged BurnBot to complete a prescribed burn with CAL FIRE in August which is traditionally one of the most difficult months to implement prescribed fire due to hot and dry conditions.

“BurnBot has invented, designed, and launched the world’s first robot for scaling ‘good fire,” said Dan Fitzgerald, Managing Director of ReGen Ventures. “At ReGen Ventures, our thesis is to invest in category creators that leverage a convergence of technologies to create planetary-scale solutions to planetary-scale problems. BurnBot’s fully integrated prescribed fire solution, utilizing remote precision technology to regenerate land, prevent catastrophic wildfires, and protect lives, property, and the planet does just that. We are delighted to partner with Anukool and Lee to scale BurnBot across the U.S. and globally.”

To date, BurnBot’s system of mechanized vegetation management technology has been deployed across California and Oregon, from helping PG&E precisely deploy prescribed fire under high-voltage transmission lines, to clearing out 60 acres of hazardous brush around evacuation routes for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, to the City of San Rafael where a three-person BurnBot team completed a 40-acre fuel break in five days, to a 2,200-acre fuel break that BurnBot expects to complete in half the time, one full year ahead of schedule. BurnBot’s technology amplifies boots-on-the-ground capacity and deploys the right treatment based on the unique needs of each area, across diverse urban environments and forested landscapes.

“This investment in BurnBot is a catalyst that will deploy new technologies to boost workforce capacity and significantly advance California’s aim to treat 1 million acres annually and the US Forest Service’s goal of treating 50 million acres over the coming decade, meaningfully reducing wildfire risk while protecting lives, communities and critical watersheds,” said Chris Anthony, former Chief Deputy Director of CAL FIRE.