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New $7.5m funding to power weather sensor network expansion

Understory looks to expand its presence in international agricultural market.

November 21, 2018

2 Min Read
New $7.5m funding to power weather sensor network expansion

Weather network and analytics company Understory 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 Washington, D.C.-based investment firm founded by Steve Case, former chief executive officer of AOL. 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,” Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution, said. 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), as it was 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 multibillion-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 life cycle 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,” interim head of Bayer Growth Ventures Jürgen Eckhardt said. “We are eager to see how the company’s expansion can further enrich localized weather insights.”

With patented technology, Understory can provide the agricultural market with actionable information that radar, satellite and other remote sensing technologies cannot deliver, the company claims.

“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.”

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