Indian weather forecasting startup Skymet Weather Services has raised a Series C Round to expand its network of 6,000 automatic weather stations (AWS). The round closed at approximately $10 million, according to an anonymous source. This round was led by BlueOrchard Finance, an impact investment management firm investing on behalf of the German government’s InsuResilience Investment Fund.
Skymet provides climate, weather, and crop analytics to insurance companies, banks, agribusinesses, and public sector institutions in India. The company also serves as a finch platform in rural India for insurance companies and banks, providing claim settlement and product design.
Through its various activities, Skymet directly or indirectly reaches more than two million farmers, according to the company.
“Skymet has built technologies and instruments to mitigate weather risks, thereby supporting farmers to cope with the consequences of climate change. We are delighted to partner with Skymet in increasing the resilience of poor and vulnerable households in India,” said Ernesto Costa, co-head of private equity at BlueOrchard.
Skymet got started in 2003 when India’s crop insurance industry was just getting organized and growing rapidly. According to Mark Kahn of Omnivore Partners, the company is the main source of weather data for banks and insurers looking to substantiate insurance claims and forecast risk.
Before Skymet, according to Kahn, all of India’s available weather info came from the government and it wasn’t very user-friendly. In its early years, Skymet made layman’s weather forecasts available to television and radio stations.
“They started to recognize that the biggest opporutiny for them was at the intersection of weather and agriculture,” said Kahn.
Skymet now operates AWS covering nearly the entire country.
The proceeds of this investment will help Skymet to expand its AWS network and secure new business in weather data, crop measurement, climate analytics, and disaster management.
The company’s fundraising total is now more than $15 million, a relatively small sum for a company that covers almost all of India.
“Jatin is one of the best CEOs in our portfolio and he embodies what is great about frugal Indian startup CEOs,” said Kahn of Skymet founder Jatin Singh.
According to Singh, as climate change continues, weather data becomes more important to preserving Indian farm economies.
“Climate change is India’s leading national security challenge. Between the year 1900 and 2000, there was one drought per decade in India; but between 2000 and 2017, there have been five droughts and two below-normal monsoons. As climate change accentuates rain variability over the subcontinent, India’s water tables are collapsing and farmer distress is increasing. This investment allows Skymet to further expand our capabilities in mitigating weather risks across India,” said Singh.
In the future, Skymet may be looking to expand to other developing economies with less than ideal weather data availability said Kahn.