Netflix, Meta, and Lyft Alumni Launch Vibrant Planet with $17M in Seed Funding to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfire

June 23, 2022
5 min read
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  • Backed by Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Earthshot Ventures, and more, Vibrant Planet is the first company to harness AI-powered prioritization, treatment decision support, and monitoring to restore Earth’s most vital, at-risk forest
  • Vibrant Planet will use funding to expand into new markets in the U.S., Europe, and beyond, unlocking every benefit of forest restoration

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (June 23, 2022) – Vibrant Planet, the creator of the OS for forest restoration, launched today and announced a $17M seed round led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, with participation from Valia Ventures, Earthshot Ventures (a venture fund backed by Emerson Collective, John Doerr, Tom Steyer, Microsoft and others), Elemental Excelerator, Cisco Foundation, Day One Ventures, Data Tech Fund, and Halogen Ventures. Angel investors include two of Silicon Valley’s top platform builders: Meta’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Netflix’s former Chief Product Officer and current Vibrant Planet CPO, Neil Hunt. The new funding will enable Vibrant Planet to grow its team with strategic new hires and expand its platform to restore forest resilience across the Western U.S., Europe, and other at-risk forests worldwide.

Vibrant Planet is the first operating system that provides organizations, state and federal agencies, and land managers with a comprehensive platform for forest treatment planning, decision support, monitoring and reporting, and investment prioritization. This technology allows multiple stakeholders to collaboratively plan forest health treatments in months rather than years while staying within a target budget and qualifying projects for carbon financing from companies with net zero goals.

While public sector funding to support wildfire risk reduction and forest restoration is rising, there is no existing infrastructure to help prioritize where and how efforts should be used to maximize impact. With Vibrant Planet, land owners and natural resource managers, organizations, and administrations can:

  • Create forest treatment scenarios in real-time, using AI-generated tree-and-house-level data
  • Prioritize where and how funding should be used to minimize risk and maximize carbon, water, and biodiversity benefits
  • Develop comprehensive treatment plans in collaboration with stakeholders
  • Monitor/report on landscape conditions and restoration progress
  • Adapt strategies and tactics based on monitoring insights
  • Develop verified fire-adapted forest carbon projects that help companies achieve net zero goals

In California alone, 6.5 million of its 33 million forested acres burned over the last two fire seasons. More than 1.3 million acres of California’s forests experienced high severity burning that killed all or most aboveground biomass. For these landscapes, forests may take decades to centuries to recover, if they ever do. To mitigate the impacts of worsening wildfires, rapid and large-scale implementation of targeted forest management is needed to secure forest health and protect surrounding communities. Vibrant Planet is the solution, empowering stakeholders to make strategic decisions needed to restore at-risk forests worldwide.

“From regulating weather patterns to hosting biodiversity to sequestering vast amounts of carbon, forest resilience is at the center of how our planet functions properly, but the world’s forests are being destroyed at a devastating pace,” said Vibrant Planet CEO Allison Wolff. “The consequences of inaction are dire and impact all life on our planet. We've worked closely with more than 100 scientists, natural resource managers, emergency responders, and nonprofit leaders to co-design our land management decision support, monitoring, and carbon finance platform, and are excited to be putting it to work with partners in several key watersheds in CA. Thanks to the support of our investors, we can work to extend its reach to the ecosystems and communities that need it most before it's too late.”

A recent UN report on world wildfire trends showed that far too little investment is being made in forest management before fire or in recovery of ecosystems after burning,” said Dr. Hugh Safford, Vibrant Planet’s Chief Scientist. “As the world responds to the call to rebalance investments from reactive and short-sighted fire-fighting to more proactive, ecosystem-based preparations for wildfire and its effects, it is critical that managers, policymakers, and investors have access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on forest restoration and risk reduction needs and opportunities. Vibrant Planet has built a platform that catalogs and prioritizes that information, in the context of ecosystem services and forest resilience.”

“Vibrant Planet is seizing the opportunity to bring modern cloud-based technology, remote sensing, AI/ML, and intuitive user-centered design to create systems that dramatically reduce the time and cost of decision-making in forests and developing carbon credits to help fund the interventions necessary to restore forest health and resilience,” said Dr. Neil Hunt, Vibrant Planet’s Head of Product. “Our fantastic cross-sectoral team is on a mission to help solve a critical problem and make nature-based solutions part of the solution to climate change and ecosystem degradation.”

The urgency to restore resilience to key forest ecosystems worldwide has never been greater. Human survival is directly dependent on the health of our forestlands. 70% of water originates in forests, and 80% of terrestrial biodiversity is hosted by forests. Forests store one-third of the carbon emitted by humans every year and play a significant role in regulating global weather patterns. Vibrant Planet focuses its efforts on ecosystems where climate change is hitting the hardest such as the highly biodiverse but highly threatened forests in California and Mediterranean climate regions that support most of the world’s population. Forest management scenarios generated in real-time by the company’s software quantify funding needs and workforce capacity necessary to implement restoration projects, as well as potential carbon, water, and biodiversity benefits, are all critical to unlocking multi-benefit forest carbon finance.

“Working with Vibrant Planet, we’ve been able to work with partner organizations and local governments to design much larger scale forest resilience projects” said Eli Ilano, Tahoe National Forest Supervisor. “Not only are we planning on a larger scale, we’re doing it collaboratively. The tools we’re using with Vibrant Planet are helping us bridge the divide between data/science and planning/implementation.”

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About Vibrant Planet

Founded in 2020, Vibrant Planet, a public benefit corporation, harnesses data-driven, cloud-based decision support and monitoring software to help make communities and ecosystems more resilient in the face of climate change. The company’s proprietary technology provides organizations, land managers, and government agencies with a comprehensive platform for treatment planning, monitoring, and financial allocation guidance. Vibrant Planet’s platform works to support net zero goals through verified projects for carbon financing. Vibrant Planet strives to restore and enhance the ability of natural ecosystems to support essential ecosystem services – like carbon storage, clean water delivery, and biodiversity – by helping planners, policymakers, and investors identify and prioritize investment opportunities and implement management solutions in crucial forest landscapes worldwide.

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Tagged: Seed Funding · Wildfire