“Almost every business on earth is affected by weather,”
These are the words of Alexander Levy, an investor and serial entrepreneur who recently founded a weather forecast startup Atmo.
The company, which earlier this year graduated from Y Combinator, has in recent months raised a whopping $2 million from Sound Ventures and Signia Venture Partners for its predictive software to businesses that need a reliable weatherman to accurately forecast which way the winds will blow.
Atmo was established by Johan Mathe, a former Google X staff who worked on Project Loon, a business unit aimed at offering internet connectivity via floating balloons designed to create a network of wireless coverage in upcoming markets.
“I spent a lot of time working on weather,” noted Mathe. His main assignment was to invent ways to make the balloons navigate in various areas and weather patterns made the navigation more complex.
“As I needed to build that there was so much complexity from the sheer amount of data with the weather,” Mathe said. “I thought I have to build something to make the intersection of weather and AI much more available for everyone.”
This marked the beginning of a four year journey, which led to the formation of Atmo (formerly named Froglabs.ai); a start up based in Berkeley, California and which provides predictive weather analysis for businesses including ice cream shops and renewable energy enterprises.
How Valuable Weather Data Really Is?
Levy a co-founder of Atomwise a drug discovery company, knew Mathe personally and socially and had previously invested in his company in the early stages of its formation—when it was just a mere idea. But with time he discovered how valuable weather data is and jumped from the role of an investor and advisor to being a co-founder.
As at now, Levy, Mathe and Jeremy Lequeux, the chief technology officer, operate from Levy’s house in Berkey as they develop their software and propel the company to the next higher level.
Recent events have created a niche for the company’s solutions. Since 2019, the United States has spent approximately $89 billion on climate-related events, according to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Every business is on this weather spectrum,” stated Levy. “Let’s say you just are an ice cream location. Degree to which it’s hot or cold will affect your sales 10%. We’ve worked towards creating a general purpose predictive system and takes weather data on one hand and all the historical weather collected around the world. It compares the two and analyses how all of your key business metrics affected by the weather.”
The company already boasts half a dozen clients including two billion-dollar corporations within the renewable energy, eCommerce and logistics sectors, Levy revealed.
“One of the areas that we work on is risk and extreme weather, like how do you predict these fluke events that you have very little intervention around,” said Levy. “We make that kind of prediction separate and apart from how you can best optimize when things are in a relatively normal state.”
Demand is set to increase as extreme weather events become common and as more businesses and governments look for more effective ways to enhance their ability to survive or better adapt to the emerging catastrophic conditions.
“There’s a need because everybody is talking about resilience these days,” noted Levy. “I see Atmo as the company that’s going to provide these insights for the big companies that are concerned about this problem now.”
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