Private weather forecaster Skymet Weather Services has raised $4.5 million in Series B funding from a syndicate of investors led by dmg::information Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of UK-based media conglomerate Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT) and existing investor Omnivore Partners.
The company had earlier raised Rs 4.5 crore from Omnivore Capital in return for a 33% stake in the company, way back in August 2011.
The funds will be used to expand Skymet’s weather monitoring network and to introduce new instrumentation for tracking hail and frost as well. It also plans to use this capital to invest in R&D for weather forecasting and crop area or yield forecasting.
Apart from this, it also plans to re-launch its website on August 20, following which it will apparently provide weather-related information in seven languages, including Hindi and Marathi. The company mentions that it will also start targeting consumers across Asia and Africa in order to expand its services beyond India.
Founded in 2003, Skymet is a private weather monitoring service that claims to have the largest network of automatic weather stations (AWS) in the country. The company claims to have a network of 2,000 automatic weather stations (AWS) in the country, as indicated by a report on The Economic Times
Skymet claims to provide accurate short-range, medium-range, and seasonal weather forecasts to companies, along with agricultural risk solutions like crop area or yield forecasts, remote sensing, and agricultural insurance product development among others. It’s clients includes Tata Power, the Maharashtra Government, Symphony Air Coolers and Agriculture Insurance Company of India among others.
Opportunity: The demand for weather predictions is no longer restricted to media outlets and the agriculture sector. Now FMCG companies, commodity traders and even stock brokers also track weather forecast, because it has an impact on rural consumption patterns, interest rates and pricing.
Competition: Skymet competes with Kolkata-based ExpressWeather, Delhi NCR-based BKC WeatherSys, and WeatherRisk among others. These companies are essentially filling the gaps left by the weather forecasting services of India Meteorological Department.