Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures have invested $42 million in a San Francisco-based start up WeatherBill, a provider of insurance to farmers against weather-related damages.
"The capital will support WeatherBill’s aggressive product and sales expansion in the U.S. and internationally," WeatherBill said.
Launched four years ago, WeatherBill protects the $3 trillion global agriculture industry from the financial impact of adverse weather with fully automated weather insurance products.
WeatherBill's flagship product - "Total Weather Insurance" - pays clients automatically based on measured weather conditions, without a claims process. The company's sevice enables customers to customize, price and buy weather insurance online in just minutes - and get paid if bad weather happens.
"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,” said Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures. "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."
Friedberg said more than 90 percent of crop losses are due to unexpected weather and climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. The recent droughts in Russia and China and extensive flooding in Australia have decimated global commodity supplies.
"The flip flop of weather from one year to the next is the biggest challenge farmers face,” said Steve Wolters, a farmer growing corn, soybean and wheat in Celina, Ohio. “Protecting my seasonal profits with this product, before I even plant a seed, greatly reduces the risk I take every year and allows me to invest in improving my growing operation.”
The company's existing investors who joined the new financing round include: New Enterprise Associates, Index Ventures, Allen & Company, First Round Capital, Atomico, and Code Advisors.
“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," said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. "Now WeatherBill can help farmers globally deal with the increasingly extreme weather brought on by climate change."