Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Google Ventures' next big bet: Weather insurance (GOOG)

We had a few mentions of  WeatherBill early in this blog's life but I couldn't figure out how to make money off their output, it looks like a product made for selling, not for buying. Links below.
From Fortune:

Together with Khosla Ventures, Google announced an investment of $42 million into WeatherBill.
Over 90% of crop loss is due to inclement or unexpected weather conditions.  With climate change in full swing, more and more agricultural businesses are at risk for unpredictable weather conditions.
WeatherBill uses an algorithm to calculate risk and sell insurance online against unpredictable weather.
WeatherBill's flagship product, Total Weather Insurance (TWI) is a the first full-season weather protection program for U.S. farmers designed that addresses the adverse weather conditions they face every season. WeatherBill's TWI provides the U.S. agriculture industry with a private-sector supplement to government-subsidized crop insurance.

Today Google (GOOG) Ventures is investing.

"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, in a press release (bel0w). "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.  Google Ventures is excited to support the WeatherBill team as they take on big data challenges and create products to protect a foundational global industry: agriculture."

Existing investors include NEA, Index Ventures, Allen & Company, Atomico, First Round Capital and Code Advisors....MORE
January 2009 
Weather Investing (Hedging, Insuring)

April 2007 
The Masters and Climate Change
I apologize for promising more on coal and not delivering (yet).
This is topical, the Supreme Court decision was so last Monday

From: Physical Geography, vol.27 no. 3
Lightning at "The Master's": An Evaluation of April Thunderstorms in and near the Augusta National Golf Club.

From: WeatherBill (13 page PDF)
Impact of Climate Change on Golf Playable Days in the United States
"A Mann-Kendall test was used to test for trends in the Golf
Playable Days for each location. Values for Golf Playable
days for each of the last thirty years were used as input to
the Mann-Kendall test and trends were determined to be
significant if they passed the Mann-Kendall test with 95%

From: The Journal of Leisure Research (Reg. req.)
The Impact of Climate Change on Golf Participation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): a Case Study
"It is clear that the North American golf industry attributes a considerable share of its economic success to weather and climate, yet surprisingly very few studies have attempted to assess the empirical relationship between weather and climate and the golf sector. "