Understory Raises $1.9M from True Ventures to Deploy "Ground-Truth" Weather Data Network
Company to begin commercial rollout of patent-pending weather stations across Kansas City
BOSTON, April 30, 2014-- Understory, creator of next-generation weather sensor hardware and data networks, announced today that it has received $1.9 million of funding in a seed round led by Palo Alto, CA-based True Ventures with participation from RRE Ventures, Vegas Tech Fund, SK Ventures and Andrew C. Payne. With this new funding, Understory will implement the planned and approved deployment of its network of patent-pending weather stations across the Kansas City, MO metropolitan area. After spending a year at Boston-based Bolt, a hardware-focused seed fund, Understory is now actively recruiting data scientists, back-end software developers, product managers and electrical engineers.
While traditional, radar-enabled weather centers collect data by analyzing conditions observed in the atmosphere, UnderstoryŚnamed for the area in a rainforest beneath the forest canopyŚ detects rain, hail, wind and other weather events directly at the earth's surface, where the risk to life and property is greatest. This "ground-truth"-based detection is a marked enhancement in both resolution and fidelity, providing real time datasets and graphical views of the movement and intensity of weather events, which leads to better insight and early detection of risks.
"Climate change has become more and more palpable as extreme weather has increased in both frequency and severity. Currently, weather impacts billions of dollars of business activity across nearly every aspect of the U.S. economy," said Understory founder and CEO Alex Kubicek.
"More accurate weather data can impact the bottom lines of nearly every major U.S. industry, from agriculture to transportation to insurance, and broadcasters," he said. "With this round of funding, Understory can manufacture and deploy our sensors at a scale that will deliver high-resolution data to the growing number of customers eager for in-depth weather information. We can now harness our research, engineering and development efforts and truly impact the landscape of weather data and its commercial value."
In January 2014, Understory announced that American Family Insurance would be the first customer for its weather data products starting with the Kansas City, MO metropolitan market. Kansas City was chosen as the initial market for deployment because it experiences frequent severe weather events resulting in significant property damage claims.
"Understory is in a position to have a tremendous impact on every industry where weather sensitivity and risk has an impact on the bottom line," said True Ventures partner Puneet Agarwal. "One of our investment themes at True is 'products that capture the imagination,' and we are incredibly excited about the implications of more accurate, real time weather data and how it can impact the world. We were very impressed with founders Alex Kubicek and Bryan Dow and are thrilled to lead Understory's seed round."
"Understory has built a great team around a powerful new technology in a space that has not seen innovation like this in decades," said Eric Norlin, general partner at SK Ventures. "We have been impressed by the Understory team from its earliest days and have great confidence in its technology and leadership."
Founded in 2012 by Alex Kubicek and Bryan Dow, Understory is a weather data company that provides dense surface observations generated by proprietary weather stations. This composite of granular weather data has applications across a variety of markets, including broadcasting, insurance, agriculture, forecasting and risk mitigation. The information collected by Understory is analyzed and processed to create real-time datasets, views and actionable information from historical, current and forecasted weather events to provide better insight and early detection of risks. Understory was one of the first portfolio companies of Bolt (www.bolt.io), a seed-stage fund that invests capital, personnel, equipment, and expertise in hardware startups. More information on Understory is available at http://www.Understoryweather.com.
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