Ann Arbor company that uses drones to detect methane leaks closes $2 million seed funding round

Sniffer Robotics, an Ann Arbor company that use drones to safely identify and detect methane leaks, recently closed a $2 million seed funding round.

Sniffer Robotics was founded in 2016. The company’s patented “SnifferDRONE” provides an alternative for field technicians who would manually identify and measure methane emissions, which can be a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous process. To date, Sniffer Robotics has completed projects in 28 states, identifying over 16,000 methane leak sources across over 150 sites.

Sniffer Robotics CEO Arthur Mohr Jr. 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.” 

More information on the Michigan Angel Fund can be found here, and more information on Ann Arbor SPARK’s services for entrepreneurs can be found here. To learn more about Sniffer Robotics or request a quote for services, visit their website.

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Photo courtesy of Sniffer Robotics.
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