Cork firm Treemetrics secures €1m contract
Cork-based forestry software firm Treemetrics is to create 20 jobs after securing a €1m contract from the European Space Agency (ESA).
The company will more than double its headcount from the current 18 employees.
The ESA win is the latest contract for the Irish firm from the space agency, which has previously awarded high-profile work to the company.
The new jobs will be in Treemetrics' software engineering and sales departments and will come on stream by the end of the year.
Treemetrics develops and deploys systems designed to automate forest mapping and analysis.
Traditionally, forestry companies and other landowners involved in the sector have had to always physically visit forests to estimate the amount of timber likely to be harvested.
Treemetrics' web-based systems allow forestry owners to remotely monitor and manage vast tracts of planted land.
The latest contract with the ESA will allow millions of hectares of forested land, from the Urals to the Amazon, to be monitored using the Treemetric's system.
It also enables the rapid detection of issues such as illegal logging, forest fires and disease.
It also helps forestry owners to accurately assess the quality of the timber that is growing in their plantations, and to lower overall costs and deliver higher profits.
Treemetrics chief executive and co-founder Enda Keane said that the company's software is now used by governments and private forestry owners across Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
Its clients include Coillte, Scotland's forestry commission, and Finland's state-owned forestry company, Metsahallitus.
Mr Keane said the company is now applying trends such as cloud technology, space technology and big data analytics to improve its offering to customers.
Mr Keane added that Treemetrics has just completed an intense eight-year phase of research and development in conjunction with partners at the University of Michigan and University College Cork.
Treemetrics is backed by investors including Enterprise Ireland, the International Fund for Ireland and a number of private shareholders such as businessman Gerry McCaughey.
Mr McCaughey sold his Century Homes business to Kingspan in 2005 and now heads environmental sustainability company Infineco.
Tony McDonald of Enterprise Ireland said that Treemetrics is one of a number of Irish companies that are currently engaged with the ESA in its satellite communications applications programme.
He said that 50 Irish firms are now involved in the scheme, with over 80 companies from Ireland having secured ESA contracts over the past 10 years.
Minister of State for Innovation Damien English said Treemetrics is one of a number of Irish companies benefiting from Ireland's membership of the European Space Agency.