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03/04/2011 11:26 AM     print story email story  

Khosla, Google Get Behind Weather Insurance Company

SustainableBusiness.com News

WeatherBill, a technology company that is selling weather insurance, announced that it closed a $42 million round of Series B funding with new investors Khosla Ventures and Google Ventures. 

The new investors join NEA, Index Ventures, Allen & Company, First Round Capital, Atomico, and Code Advisors in the financing round.

The capital will support WeatherBill’s product and sales expansion in the U.S. and internationally.

WeatherBill’s technology platform continuously aggregates enormous amounts of weather data from many disparate sources, and combines statistical analyses to run large-scale weather simulations. The system enables completely automated, personalized weather insurance products.

As part of its current expansion, WeatherBill is adding to its team of software engineers, mathematicians, climatological agronomists and product managers to build out its platform on a global scale.

In 2010, WeatherBill launched its flagship product, Total Weather Insurance™ (TWI), the first full-season weather protection program for U.S. farmers, designed to address the adverse weather conditions they face every season.

WeatherBill says its TWI provides the U.S. agriculture industry with a private-sector supplement to government-subsidized crop insurance, as well as the ability to lock in profits and protect their businesses against poor weather.

WeatherBill pays out automatically based on measured weather conditions, requiring no claims process and no waiting for payment, the company said. 

“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% of crop losses are due to unexpected weather and climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events."

"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,” Friedberg added.

“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.”

Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures, said: "Google Ventures’ mission is to identify and fund big ideas--and WeatherBill’s vision of helping farmers adapt to climate change aligns perfectly with that mission. WeatherBill’s founders, CEO, David Friedberg, and CTO, Siraj Khaliq, are ex-Googlers, so it’s understandable that they are working on turning the big problem of climate change into a big opportunity."

Website: www.weatherbill.com



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