Our year in review: why the Overstory mission is more important than ever

Overstory: the uppermost layer of foliage in a forest, forming the canopy

2020 has been a year like none other for everyone. At Overstory, we feel fortunate to have celebrated so many important milestones this year, and we’re more convinced than ever that our mission — to help solve our climate crisis by providing real-time intelligence about the planet’s vegetation — is more critical than ever. The devastating wildfires of 2020 brought a new level of urgency to our work. Everyone on the team is motivated by and passionate about the role that Overstory can play in preventing more disasters like those.

As we close out 2020, we wanted to share a few highlights from this unforgettable year.

In August, we celebrated our Seed investment round and rebranded to Overstory. And now, we are thrilled to be able to announce two more U.S.-based climate-tech investors as part of that Seed round: MCJ Collective and Sierra Peterson. MCJ Collective is led by Jason Jacobs, the founder and former CEO of Runkeeper who has become a leader in the climate tech world through his “My Climate Journey” podcast, community and investment fund. Sierra has a background working on climate in the Obama White House and is an investor in early-stage climate companies. MCJ Collective and Sierra will bring a wealth of experience from both the climate and tech worlds to our existing stellar lineup of investors that is led by Pale Blue Dot (Sweden) and also includes Powerhouse Ventures (U.S.), Techstars (U.S.) and Futuristic VC (Denmark).

This new funding will allow us to invest in broadening our customer base, growing our global team and expanding our operations in the U.S.

We continue to focus primarily on the utility space, and are proud to have Europe’s leading utility companies in Spain, Portugal and Finland as customers. We also support different environmental and research projects, which are important for our mission and they help us scale our vegetation intelligence platform by providing new data sources. We were thrilled when the Wall Street Journal featured our work with Södra, the Swedish forestry cooperative, to detect bark beetle infestations through satellite data.

Overstory - Greentown Labs
Greentown Labs Boston

Last month, we took two important steps in our U.S expansion. Overstory is now officially incorporated in the U.S., and we have opened an office in Boston at Greentown Labs, the climate tech innovation hub that is home to about 100 companies. We see this as a great opportunity to connect and collaborate with an extensive network of startups and corporate partners who are driven by the joint mission of designing a more sustainable world. It will help us expand Overstory’s footprint and build a dedicated team for our U.S. clients and partners. Although there is nobody in the office right now, we are looking forward to bringing our coffee mugs and filling the walls with brainstorming sticky notes when going to the office is a thing we do again!

Another major step forward this year was the expansion of our leadership team with Fiona Spruill joining as Chief Product Officer and Killian Tobin as Head of Business Development. Fiona, formerly COO at Meetup, will lead Overstory’s product strategy and development team and play a key role in the future of product development within the company. Killian, formerly the CEO of Omega Grid, has an exceptional track record in the utility industry and will be responsible for driving business growth in the U.S. market. We are excited to have them on board since their experience and knowledge are critical for our company’s growth and future success.

Overstory - T&D World Wildfire & Risk Mitigation

This year we’ve continued to cement ourselves as subject matter experts through media coverage and multiple speaking engagements. One highlight was the T&D Wildfire Mitigation Forum, a utility conference in the U.S., where we gave a talk on maximizing the value of satellite data and artificial intelligence for vegetation management. Another highlight was seeing Overstory mentioned in an MIT Technology Review piece about the climate-tech investment boom.

Despite the immense challenges that so many faced in 2020, we feel fortunate for what the year brought us. We have an incredible team that has poured their time and talent into everything we do, and we are grateful for the opportunity to do something meaningful in the critically important mission of helping to solve our climate crisis.

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