Hong Kong based venture capital fund Beyond Ventures has led a HK$6m Series A investment in a company which intends to protect over four million hectares of forests – a land area 42 times larger than Hong Kong itself – from wildfires.
Robotics Cats, which is also based in Hong Kong, is a global leader in detecting wildfires at an early stage. Its robots help look after national parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites and private plantations
The InsightFD Early Wildfire Detection System is a network of InsightFD robots linked to the Insight Globe management platform in a typical wildfire control centre.
InsightFD robots constantly rotate and scan for visual and thermal signals of burning vegetation using sensors, while an image-detection system combined with an artificial intelligence algorithm are able to detect wildfires within a distance of 15 kilometres.
The new Series A round funding from Beyond Ventures will be channelled into R&D, as well as sales and operational functions. It will also finance development of applications and a push into new markets in geographies as far flung as Australia, Spain, Greece, the US, Brazil and Chile.
Some of the cash will go into funding resources to support customers in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Portugal and Mexico, while enabling the company to build partnerships with private fire service contractors, woodland management service companies and telecommunications providers.
Lap Man, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Beyond Ventures, said: “Our investment in Robotics Cats represents a success story on several fronts. One is about bypassing the bottleneck effect on Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem normally caused by the difficulty of commercialising technologies. But I am happy to see Robotics Cats demonstrating how Hong Kong-developed technologies can be successfully commercialised and deployed globally.
“Another success factor for us is the way Robotics Cats aligns with the Beyond Ventures mission to bring about positive impact on society.”
“The AI-enabled wildfire detection solution developed by Robotics Cats provides an automated 24/7 monitoring system that vastly improves accuracy and response times – all to help reduce the massive loss of life, myriad environmental problems and financial burdens caused by wildfires globally.”
Beyond Ventures is a Hong Kong-based VC fund established by eGarden Ventures in partnership with locally-grown serial entrepreneurs in 2017. eGarden Ventures is a venture capital fund focused on technology, media and telecoms (TMT) and holds nearly 20 years investment track record in Mainland China.
The fund is also supported by leading investment company, Hony Capital, which manages more than US$10bn in assets.