How Project Firefly got started.
The founding members of Project Firefly met through The Knowledge Society, a 10-month Olympic level training program for entrepreneurs and technologists aged 13 to 17. They teamed up for the moonshot hackathon, which challenged teams to develop a solution to a problem using technology that was not yet feasible but could be within the next 3 to 5 years.
While brainstorming for this hackathon, the team was initially inspired by a device developed by Viet Tran and Seth Robertson which used a speaker to extinguish a small flame. They saw potential for this device to be used with drones to help fight wildfires, and reached out to a drone company called ARSAC Technologies that had been mentioned in one of the articles about Seth and Viet's project. When we spoke with them, ARSAC Technologies had been working on developing this technology for a few years already, but instead of using a speaker device to keep wildfires contained they had pivoted to using vortex canons.
Project Firefly structured their hackathon project around providing solutions for the main barriers to implementation of this technology that they had learned from their research and through discussions with ARSAC Technologies. After the hackathon, they continued working on the project and building their relationship with ARSAC Technologies.
In June 2021, Project Firefly won the #beapirate challenge put on by Moonshot Pirates. The prize was an all-expenses-paid week-long trip to Silicon Valley, where the team met startups, attended workshops, visited companies like Instagram, Apple, Pinterest, and Google, and toured places like Singularity University and Stanford. They were also able to connect with other youth founders and potential investors.
Jesse and Valkyrie in San Fransisco, December 2021
After the Silicon Valley trip, the Project Firefly team spent the first two months of 2022 in Manhattan, New York at the Edyfi hackerhouse. There, they officially incorporated as a company, set an IP agreement with ARSAC Technologies, worked on prototyping, and continued with research and validation.
In June of 2022, Project Firefly was selected to be included in the first-ever cohort of the 776 Fellowship. This grants them $100K as well as mentorship and support over the next two years. They have also recieved micro-grants from the 1517 Fund and The Cansbridge Fellowship Alumni Endowment Fund.
Over the next two years, Project Firefly will we working with their partner (formerly ARSAC Technologies, now EVOEMS) and with the 776 Foundation to develop a prototype and conduct field tests. Over the summer of 2022 they will be focusing on developing partnerships and preparing for testing on controlled burns in the US which will take place in the winter of 2022.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are interested in partnering with us to transform the future of wildfire fighting.
Project Firefly with Suchinder Dhillon (CEO of EVOEMS) in Manhattan, February 2022
Project Firefly prototyping in New York, January 2022