Wildfire Home Protection: Frontline, Firemaps and Other Start-ups

In October 2017, Anil Arora sat helplessly in San Francisco when Tubbs Fire approached his home in Calistoga, California.

Arora looked through a ring camera before the fire passed through his yard and consumed the rest of his fortune. That night, Arora and his family were able to smell the smoke from the fire that burned their home over 70 miles away.

“It was just a shocking scene,” Arora said. “The next day we just sat down and talked about it and said,’What do you know? We’re going to rebuild.'”

In October 2017, Anil Arora saw through a ring camera when Tubbs Fire burned down his home in Calistoga, California.

Courtesy of Anil Arora

When the family planned to rebuild, Arora wanted a roof sprinkler for her house, so it never burned out again. After searching for options on Google, Arora came across Frontline Wildfire Defense. This is exactly the startup that just created the sprinkler system he was looking for. Two years later, he owned a new house with 12 sprinklers on the roof. Each sprinkler can fire up to 30 feet of water and bubbles in any direction.

Arora is seeing an increasing number of homeowners looking to climate technology starters to strengthen their property against natural disasters that are becoming more frequent and effective as a result of global warming.

“We see it anyway, regardless of climate change or population, but adding climate change to the equation increases the chances of a fire,” said Frontline’s CEO, who raised $ 3 million. Harry Statter says. With funding.

In August, the United Nations Climate Panel made a disastrous report calling for immediate action. Authorities have said that limiting global warming to nearly 1.5 degrees Celsius and even 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels will “in the next 20 years without a rapid and major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It will be unreachable. ” At 2 degrees Celsius, extreme heat often reaches the agricultural and health marginal tolerance thresholds, according to the report.

“It’s very realistic for us because the house has burned down. It’s not conceptual,” Arora said.

Entrepreneurs and investors are beginning to devote their time and money to this almost untapped market, considering how homeowners can protect their homes.

Greg Smithies, a partner and climate technology officer at venture capital firm Fifthwall, said: To date, FifthWall has raised more than $ 300 million for the Climate Technology Fund.

By November, more venture capital was invested in climate technology in 2021 than in the previous year, according to data provided by PitchBook. According to PitchBook, about $ 26.7 billion was invested in climate technology in 2021, up from $ 15.3 billion in 2020 and $ 11.8 billion in 2019.

Climate change poses risks to $ 35 trillion in real estate assets by 2070, especially for homes and buildings, Smiths said, citing a 2016 report by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Given the size of the market, the opportunity for startups to make large amounts of cash is much easier than any other opportunity we’ve seen instead,” Smithy’s said.

The Frontline Wildfire Defense system uses sprinklers. Sprinklers can fire up to 30 feet of water and bubbles in each direction to help homeowners fight wildfires.

Courtesy of frontline wildfire defense

Peace of mind against fire

The point of the frontline system is to wet the property by hydrating the flammable vegetation that surrounds the house and building materials, making it harder to light when a fire approaches, Stutter told CNBC. The system can be toggled in the home or activated via the Frontline mobile app. If the Wi-Fi or cell connection goes down due to a fire, the system can also connect to the Frontline via satellite, allowing the customer to activate the sprinkler no matter what.

The company also plans to release a new version of the app in December, which will provide everyone with near real-time comprehensive wildfire safety information. This includes wildfires, evacuation warnings, orders, and maps showing that status can be safely rearranged, the company said.

“You don’t have to be a system owner to use the new app,” says Statter. “This is to reduce the risk to everyone living in the wildfire area.”

Harry Statter is the CEO of Frontline Wildfire Defense, a startup that created roof sprinkler systems to help homeowners protect their property from wildfires.

Courtesy of frontline wildfire defense

According to Statter, Frontline systems cost between $ 15,000 and $ 25,000 on average, while defense systems cost about $ 10,000 on Arora. Arora said she decided to rebuild her house because her family was so attached to the place where the children were raised. He said paying $ 10,000 to a fire sprinkler is well worth the money.

“It’s an emotional investment, an economic investment. Our kids grew up there with an attachment to it,” Arora said. “I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can.”

Arora turned on the system to wet her property when there was a nearby fire a few months ago, but he still doesn’t rely on the system to fend off the fire. But perhaps most importantly, this system is something Arora can do, rather than passively monitor it.

“That’s the most peace of mind for me,” Arora said.

Sylvia Wu and her husband fight this year’s wildfire in California using Firemaps, a startup that helps homeowners identify which parts of their property are most at risk. Decided to strengthen Corralitos, California.

Courtesy of Sylvia Wu

Risk mitigation

Technician Sylvia Wu and her husband went on a road trip in September 2020 when they became uneasy. Wildfires began to spread in Santa Cruz County, California, unpleasantly approaching Corralitos’ home.

Fortunately nothing happened, but in June 2021, the couple decided to take steps to protect their home. Wu has contacted Uber’s former colleague Jahan Khanna. The entrepreneur is helping homeowners build homes against wildfires by the latest startup, Firemaps.

Firemaps uses technologies such as drones, computer vision, satellite imagery, and artificial intelligence to analyze homes and identify the areas at greatest risk of wildfires and the steps you can take to improve their resilience. increase.

Firemaps creates a 3D model of the home and presents the homeowner with a list of recommendations. After the homeowner decides what to accept, Firemaps submits a job to bid on a network of contractors who have previously scrutinized everything. Firemaps does not charge homeowners for services, but instead receives referral fees from contractors.

Firemaps uses technologies such as drones, computer vision, satellite images, and artificial intelligence to create 3D renderings of homes and take steps to determine which parts of real estate are most at risk of wildfire. It is a start-up company that analyzes and judges whether it can be done. To improve their resilience.

Courtesy of Firemaps

Kanna and his co-founder said they felt that nothing was done to protect their homes from the increased risk of climate change.

“The founding team all lives in California. We’ve been working on wildfires ourselves,” Kanna said. “Not many people seemed to be working on the practical impacts of climate change here right now. It was like the openings and needs we could meet.”

Firemaps has determined some steps that Wu and her husband can take to protect their home.

These include raising the canopy of the trees that surround the structure, cutting down the bamboo grove, removing the large trees that were right next to the house, reducing the size of the decorative bushes and grass around the house, and placing decomposed granite soil. And so on. ..

“I always thought I liked going out with a tape measure and measuring things, but you got busy and lazy and I didn’t do that,” Wu said.

Jahan Khanna is a serial entrepreneur and its latest start-up, Firemaps, helps homeowners consolidate their homes against wildfires.

Courtesy of Firemaps

Wu and her husband decided to carry out the recommendations, and after two days of work, the contractor was able to complete the work. At her friend’s discount, Wu said she paid $ 4,000 for her job.

“If the fire gets worse, nothing prevents the house from burning down,” Wu said. “It’s always possible, but I wanted to make sure I took all possible precautions. Beyond that, I can’t really control it myself.”

When the job is complete, Firemaps will create another 3D rendering of the house. The company has confirmed that the work has been done properly and is communicating it not only to homeowner insurance, but also to local fire departments and other businesses that need to know, Kanna said.

Climate change is an unmanageable global problem, and people need to take steps to protect themselves, Kanna said.

“People’s first tendency is to go away, but people have to worry about the fact that this is a major crisis and it never disappears,” Kanna said. “If we don’t do such a hard job, it will continue to get worse. We have to deal with this problem, otherwise it will get worse.”

Wildfire Home Protection: Frontline, Firemaps and Other Start-ups

Source link Wildfire Home Protection: Frontline, Firemaps and Other Start-ups

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