Understory Secures $7.5M to Power Weather Sensor Network
Understory, the weather network and analytics company, today announced that it has secured $7.5 million in additional funding led by 4490 Ventures. A new investor in the current round is Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, the DC-based investment firm founded by former CEO of AOL, Steve Case. Funds will be leveraged to expand Understory’s presence in the international agriculture market.
“Understory is powering innovation in weather data infrastructure with its sensor networks and on-the-ground insights,” said Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund invests in high-growth companies that, like Understory, are scaling outside of the coastal tech hubs. “We look forward to seeing how Understory continues to leverage regional expertise and talent to redefine real-time weather information for insurance, agriculture, academics, utility companies, and more,” Case added.
The injection of venture capital comes on the heels of Understory’s recent expansion into South America in partnership with Bayer (through the former Monsanto), being named as one of Forbes’ 25 Most Innovative AgTech Startups in 2018, and their co-founder and VP of Engineering being named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 within Manufacturing.
“Understory represents innovation at its finest,” said Greg Robinson, managing director at 4490 Ventures. “The technology developed by Understory has real potential to redefine multi-billion dollar markets while empowering environmental efficiencies that impact our global food supply. That’s a winning combination we are proud to be investing in over the long-term.”
Understory has deployed more than 500 stations throughout five major metropolitan areas in the U.S. and plans to expand nationally to 5,000 sensors by the end of 2019. Its international presence was kicked off through a partnership with Monsanto, now Bayer, to deploy weather stations in South America to measure rainfall, temperature, humidity, evapotranspiration (moisture leaving plant), and growing degree units (where a plant is in its lifecycle to determine best harvesting time), to inform decisions around irrigation, harvest dates and times, and seed production.
“We at Bayer have seen the value that Understory provides to growers, using technology that adds a layer of hyper-local weather information in rural farming areas where local weather information is not as accurate,” said interim head of Bayer Growth Ventures Jürgen Eckhardt. “We are eager to see how the company’s expansion can further enrich localized weather insights.”
With patented technology, Understory can provide the agriculture market with actionable information that radar, satellite, and other remote sensing technologies cannot deliver.
“This funding represents another step forward towards realizing our goal of disrupting the status quo when it comes to weather analysis,” said Alex Kubicek, Co-founder and CEO of Understory. “It has taken a number of years and a lot of dedication from our team, but Understory is now positioned to truly enable a fundamental shift in how the insurance and agriculture industries utilize data to make informed weather-related decisions.”
About Rise of the Rest
Rise of the Rest is a nationwide effort, powered by DC-based investment firm Revolution, to invest in and work closely with entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems. Since 2014, Steve Case and the Revolution team have logged more than 10,000 miles touring entrepreneurial communities by bus in 38 cities. In 2017, Case and JD Vance announced a $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, backed by a group of iconic entrepreneurs, executives and investors that believe the next great startup investments are located outside of coastal cities. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund invests catalytic capital, often alongside regional investors, to the most promising early stage investments in Rise of the Rest cities. For more information, please visit: www.revolution.com/rotr or follow them on Twitter @RiseOfRest.
About True Ventures
Founded in 2005, True Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology startups. With more than $1.4 billion under management, True provides seed and Series A funding to the most talented entrepreneurs in today’s fastest growing markets. The firm maintains a strong community that supports founders and their teams, helping True companies achieve higher levels of success and impact. To date, True has helped more than 250 companies launch and scale their businesses, creating over 10,000 jobs worldwide. To learn more about True Ventures, visit: www.trueventures.com.
About 4490 Ventures
4490 Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests broadly across the software technology spectrum, including hardware-enabled software and information businesses. 4490 Ventures specializes in partnering with Midwest-based entrepreneurs focused on building billion-dollar enterprise value companies. For more information, please visit: www.4490.ventures.
Understory analyzes and processes the data it collects to create real-time data sets, views, and actionable information from historical, current, and forecasted weather events to provide better insight and early detection of risks. Understory’s composite of granular weather data has applications across a variety of markets, including broadcasting, agriculture, forecasting, and risk mitigation. For more information, visit: www.understoryweather.com.