Unit8 joins forces with WWF to predict wildfires

Using machine learning, Unit8 is working with WWF to predict the spread of wildfires in South America to ensure preventative measures and an appropriate response. Since its launch in 2017, the startup with strong AI for good focus and about 60 employees can boast an impressive track record and has high ambitions for the future.

Committed to dedicating a portion of its working time to pro bono projects, Unit8 has joined forces with WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization, to predict the spread of wildfires in Bolivia, South America. As Dr Marcin Pietrzyk, the CEO of the Vaud startup explains to Startupticker.ch, the first phase of the project has been run throughout 2020 and will continue this year. The goal is to use Unit8’s ML/AI skills to predict and then prevent spread of wildfires.

Such a system will enable faster reaction times to help firefighters prepare for wildfires. They help park rangers decide how best to deal with emerging threats. For instance, they allow national leaders to determine the best strategy and pick the right tradeoffs (e.g., which parts of endangered areas should be prioritized). Most importantly, faster reaction times help authorities decide which zones and communities should be evacuated, and when. More information can be found in the case study.


Founded in 2017, Unit8 is an AI & analytics solution provider helping companies from non digital native industries to transform themselves, become data driven and compete in the new digital reality. The company sees that many industries are often lagging behind, especially in the old continent, and it believes that making them competitive is essential for our collective future. Data and AI is the key component of this transformation. 

Former Palantir, Amazon, Google and Apple employees


To achieve its vision, Unit8 has set up a strong digital native team around top talent including several ex-employees of Palantir, Amazon, Google, Cisco or Apple plus a number of talented experts from less known brands and startups. Employing close to 60 people, the CEO is convinced that Unit8’s mission is today a lot more attractive than helping tech giants optimize advertising clicks. Fortunately, more and more engineers are starting to see this.  

Headquartered in Vaud with two major offices in Lausanne and Zurich, Unit8 employs nearly 50 employees in Switzerland. The company also has a small office in Krakow Poland that allows it to tap into an additional talent pool in this highly competitive space. 

Daimler and Firmenich among clients


Swiss AI startup Unit8 works for some of the biggest and well-known brands in the country and abroad explains its CEO. Its public references include companies such as Daimler, Firmenich or WWF. Most of its clients are under NDA due to the often strategic and sensitive nature of the projects. But the company is proud to be the partner of one of the biggest banks in the country, one of the most renowned insurance companies, one of the top pharma players or one of the biggest global aviation players just to name a few. What makes it most proud and driven is making tangible business impact for those customers and helping them to make a leap towards a new digital economy. 


Scaling and making an impact


The Swiss startup aims to scale and maximize the transforming impact it has on its clients. Its aim is to become the market leader in the analytics and AI in Switzerland & Europe and to establish itself as a trusted partner on customers' data & AI journey. Its second goal is to become an #awesomeworkplace - an employer where talent can truly strive. To achieve this, Unit8 will remain committed to its core values of engineering for good and continue to give back to society with its pro bono activities - something the team truly enjoys doing. During the last three years, the company led by Dr Marcin Pietrzyk has seen first-hand how much can be achieved, yet it is only getting started.


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