Climate and Clean Tech | July 17, 2023

T-Mobile backs Pano AI to detect wildfires using its 5G network

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, July 7 — T-Mobile, through its sustainability-focused venture capital arm T-Mobile Ventures, has backed San Francisco-based Pano AI, which has built a wildfire detection device that uses cameras, satellite feeds and artificial intelligence to pinpoint where new wildfires are starting and alert firefighters and other first responders to stop them from spreading.

T-Mobile formed a partnership with the climate tech startup in September last year to tap into its 5G network, which covers 1.9 million square miles in the US, to collect and analyze more data in real-time for faster wildfire detection and response.

Before Pano AI, T-Mobile had been looking for creative ways to use the network “beyond just selling smartphones to customers,” T-Mobile’s John Saw told ImpactAlpha. Pano AI was an obvious partner “because we had like 60,000 wildfires in the country last year, and we know it’s gonna get worse because of climate change,” Saw said. “We are doubling down on our commitment to bring this life-saving technology to more areas.”

Climate adaptation

T-Mobile invested in Pano AI’s $17 million Series A financing round alongside investors including 5G Open Innovation Lab, Congruent Ventures and Convective Capital, a venture capital firm that invests exclusively in startups with wildfire solutions.

The funding will support Pano AI’s expansion into high fire-risk areas in North America and Australia.

“The world has seen increasingly severe and frequent wildfires in recent years,” said Pano AI’s Sonia Kastner. “Even in an economic downturn, we must act rapidly to cope with these escalating effects of climate change.