This is a monthly column that runs down five interesting deals every month that may have flown under the radar. Check out last month’s entry here.
The summer can be slow for funding to startups — but not necessarily to unique ones.
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A handful of deals caught our eye in July, including a couple of startups applying AI in interesting ways; one looking to preserve your privacy, and even one in spacetech. Let’s dive in.
AI battles wildfires
It’s officially wildfire season out here in the West, and while it’s started off quiet, we all know that can change in an instant.
Pano AI locked up a $17 million growth capital round led by Valor Equity Partners to apply AI to fighting those wildfires. The San Francisco-based startup’s solution uses mountaintop cameras, satellite feeds, 5G connectivity, cloud software and — of course — AI to detect and pinpoint new ignitions and alert fire personnel in minutes.
The company says its intel also helps first responders get to fires faster and with the latest information — like what equipment may be needed — to stop new ignitions.
The new cash infusion will help Pano expand across additional high fire-risk areas within North America and Australia.
This summer, everyone got to see the devastation caused by the horrendous Canadian wildfires. With wildfires top of mind, it’s good to see tech playing a bigger role in trying to stop the destruction.
AI can be used to write research papers, help with customer service, and even create art. But it may soon take your voice — or at least clone it.
Last month, Resemble AI raised an $8 million round led by Javelin Ventures. The Santa Clara, California-based startup has created a voice platform that uses generative AI to allow users to clone their voice for uses in gaming, acting, music production and more.
The company says it already has 1 million users and more than 200 business customers. It also announced that with the new cash it has developed a product that can tell whether audio is AI-generated or not.
Voice cloning sounds a little creepy, but if it can also help prevent AI-generated fraud and scams, maybe that lessens the uneasiness factor.
When thinking about industries that need to cut carbon emissions, ammonia production doesn’t necessarily come to mind. However, its production actually creates about 500 million tons of carbon a year.
The company has created a one-step electrochemical reaction way of creating ammonia with water and air at low voltage. It claims the process is low-power consuming and significantly reduces carbon emissions while producing “green ammonia.”
The majority of ammonia is used in the agriculture industry as fertilizer, but it also is used in the manufacturing of plastics, fabrics, pesticides and other materials and supplies. Considering all those uses, it’s not surprising firms see reducing its carbon footprint as a good investment.
Everyone wants to protect their data and privacy, but the question is always, how? It’s not like you can just go on an app, see what data companies have on you, and delete it.
Well, maybe you can.
PrivacyHawk, which locked up a $2.7 million round led by ff Venture Capital, is a privacy app that lets users control who uses and shares their personal data. The app identifies which companies have a user’s personal data and helps them choose which ones to opt out of.
It can also help users delete personal data or opt out of having it shared with third parties and unsubscribe from marketing emails (who doesn’t love that?). The app even provides security alerts about breaches that may affect a user’s personal data.
Our personal data is becoming a critical part of our identity — protecting it at all costs is becoming just as important.
We love space
If it seems like there always is a spacetech startup on this list every month, that’s probably because there often is one.
But who doesn’t like space?
While more companies are launching things into space, it can still be difficult to get payloads into higher orbits. Redondo Beach, California-based Impulse is creating a platform to deliver multiple payloads into different orbits. The startup expects to offer rapid deployment of satellites beginning in October.
That’s not all. Impulse also is scheduled to be part of the first commercial mission to Mars in 2026, in partnership with spacetech company Relativity.
Planning to go to the red planet will often get you on a list of interesting rounds.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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