Sniffer Closes $2M Seed Funding for Drone-Based Methane Leak Monitoring

Sniffer Robotics, a leading environmental technology enabled services firm, has announced first and substantial close of a $2 million seed funding round, led by the Michigan Angel Fund. Other investors include Michigan Rise, Naruhisa Nakagawa (founder of Caygan Capital), and Abhishek Desai of Desai Ventures (London).

The start-up, founded in late 2016, developed a patented, drone-based solution to detect methane leak sources at ground level. Its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), the SnifferDRONE, is a comprehensive system to automate a hazardous and labor-intensive methane emission monitoring method where technicians walk miles to manually inspect landfills, natural gas pipelines, and similar land-based applications.

In December, 2022, the US EPA recognized the benefits of Sniffer’s technology with the first and only approval of their automated tool for compliance. This system is used throughout the United States assisting sites to more accurately account for methane leaks, enhances gas collection, and reduce odors, for a triple benefit – operations, community, and the environment.

In a short period, Sniffer has become a top solution and service provider for ground based emissions monitoring. This capital raise provides funds for continued product development and expansion.

Skip Simms of the Michigan Angel Fund stated “

We were happy to lead this Seed round for Sniffer Robotics. SR has a product and service that falls under the category of ‘why hasn’t someone already thought of this’. They now have first mover advantage in a huge market. The EPA has recognized their value for the environment and waste industry by approving them as a qualified vendor for reporting. Customers repeatedly confirm the value proposition with the savings they provide. And they have the IP to protect their launch. This capital gives them the fuel for acceleration.”

“I’m very grateful to the investors who see the value we offer our customers and the environment and look to harness the momentum from our US EPA approval and successful capital raise to drive the scale we all envision for this business”

said Arthur Mohr, Jr, CEO. 

Mohr  explains that the new funding will allow for building his company’s “key foundational staff” in addition to aiding in product development.

“We saw an opportunity to automate a very hazardous and time-consuming process through drone technology,” Mohr says. “The drone doesn’t fully eliminate the use of people to do this work. We also employ field technicians.”

Sniffer Robotics has deployed its technology in landfills to reduce production of the greenhouse gas methane, but has recently expanded its services into the natural gas and biomass industries, such as wood and wood waste. However, Mohr says, “anyone who needs to monitor methane emissions on land-based applications” could utilize the SnifferDRONE and Sniffer Robotics’ services, such as aerial imaging.

The funding round was led by the Michigan Angel Fund established by Ann Arbor SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Michigan Angel Fund focuses on providing funding through investors to Michigan-based “capital efficient early stage companies.” Mohr says he chose to found Sniffer Robotics in Ann Arbor both because he lives there and because of the support available at Ann Arbor SPARK.

“SPARK offers really good opportunities for small businesses and people with startup ideas, and they have really good mentorship resources,” Mohr says. “Washtenaw has been really good to us. We’ve been growing from our virtual Ann Arbor office and hope to expand soon.”

Sniffer Robotics also participated in SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp program in 2016, another service which Mohr found extremely helpful to the company.

“Washtenaw has a really beneficial organization here with SPARK that creates jobs and value for the state,” Mohr says. “We hope to be another one of SPARK’s success stories.” 

Bodman PLC assisted Sniffer Robotics as legal counsel in the Series Seed financing.

Sniffer Robotics is an environmental technology enabled services firm serving waste, natural gas, biogas, and related industries. Sniffer’s technologies and services improve emission detection and measurement, odor leak identification, and revenue generation from increased gas capture for conversion to energy. To date, Sniffer has completed projects in 28 states on 150+ sites, identifying 16,500+ methane leak sources for remediation. Improving operations and our environment, Sniffer provides aerial (drone-based) and field services, automation tools, and comprehensive software analytics and reporting solutions.

Sources: Press Release; concentrate