WeatherBill raises $42m in funding from investors including Google

by Artemis on March 1, 2011

WeatherBill, the high profile technology focused provider of weather risk solutions for industries such as farming, have secured a new round of funding to help them grow their business and target the global agriculture industry for growth.

We’ve written about WeatherBill a lot in the past and it’s pleasing to see them get approval from high profile investors such as Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures. This vote of confidence in the weather insurance market can only be good for other participants looking to expand and should see increased attention from investors and venture capitalists in weather risk management solutions and companies who have unique ideas for ways to distribute their products.

“With a firm belief that technology can create new markets and address vital global challenges, Khosla Ventures immediately recognized the potential of WeatherBill to fundamentally change the risk profile of the global agriculture industry,” said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. “WeatherBill is one of those rare companies that has the leadership and vision to apply new technology to an ancient and daunting problem – weather’s impact on agriculture. Now WeatherBill can help farmers globally deal with the increasingly extreme weather brought on by climate change.”

“Global agriculture production is more than $3 trillion per year, and it is at risk today from extreme weather conditions, as evidenced by the recent droughts in Russia and China and extensive flooding in Australia, which have decimated global commodity supplies,” said David Friedberg, CEO and co-founder of WeatherBill. “More than 90 percent of crop losses are due to unexpected weather and climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. Dedicated to addressing this global concern, WeatherBill is applying the use of our technology platform to become the first company to provide every farmer – from the developing world to the technologically sophisticated – with a simple and effective solution for removing weather-related risk from their financial profile, in order to support and ensure the sustainability of the global food supply.”

“Nine years ago we had a very dry growing season in rural Ohio. A year later we experienced 14 inches of rain in 10 days. The flip flop of weather from one year to the next is the biggest challenge farmers face,” said Steve Wolters, a farmer growing corn, soybean and wheat in Celina, Ohio. “It makes sense to me to take advantage of WeatherBill’s automated weather insurance programs that pinpoint the weather conditions expected to affect my land and pay me if they happen. Protecting my seasonal profits with this product, before I even plant a seed, greatly reduces the risk I take every year and allows me to invest in improving my growing operation.”

With this additional funding and the access to markets that having such high profile investors and partners brings, WeatherBill should see rapid growth in the future. We’d suggest that other weather risk solution providers take a close look at how WeatherBill have positioned themselves, becoming considered a tech company with a finance focus. Weather insurance need not be boring and WeatherBill have clearly demonstrated that it is an attractive sector for financiers.

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White Knight Jedi March 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

The WeatherBill deal sounds great on paper, but where are the tough questions, such as what WeatherBill’s burn rate is? Why did they take or need $18M USD of Series A VC in their second year of business? Did the $18M dry up? Now another $42M tranche? How strange to take all this VC dough for a company whose founders are ex-Googlers who tout highly automated technology platforms (PaaS, EC2 etc). Its time for Artemis to step up to the plate and start asking some tough questions. WeatherBill has a glaring Achilles heel and it looks like Vinod, Google Ventures and mates stuffed up their due diligence.

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