Understory Secures $7.5M in New Funding

The company will use the funding led by 4490 Ventures to expand its global presence in the agriculture market.

(Image source: Understory homepage.)

Understory (Madison, Wisc.), creator of a weather network and analytics services to the insurance and other industries, has secured $7.5 million in additional funding led by 4490 Ventures (Madison, Wisc.). The funds will be used to expand Understory’s presence in the international agriculture market, according to an Understory statement.

Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution.

Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, a Washington D.C.-based investment firm founded by former AOL CEO, Steve Case is a new investor in the current round. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund invests in high-growth companies attempting to scale outside of the coastal tech hubs.

“Understory is powering innovation in weather data infrastructure with its sensor networks and on-the-ground insights,” comments Case, who is Chairman and CEO of Revolution. “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.”

Greg Robinson, Managing Director, 4490 Ventures.

The new funding round follows Understory’s recent expansion into South America in partnership with Bayer (through the former Monsanto), as well as the company’s being named as one of  Forbes’ 25 Most Innovative AgTech Startups in 2018, and its co-founder and VP of Engineering being named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 within Manufacturing.

“Understory represents innovation at its finest,” comments 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.

Enriching Localized Weather Insights

Alex Kubicek, CEO, Understory.

“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,” comments 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.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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