The Climate Corp. has raised $50 million in financing to expand its weather insurance program, helping to protect farmers against droughts, heavy rain, freezes and other adverse weather conditions that may arise from climate change. The San Francisco company — founded by former Google engineers David Friedberg and Siraj Khaliq — established an engineering center in Seattle earlier this year in part to be closer to Amazon Web Services.
The company claims to be one of the biggest users of Amazon’s Elastic MapReduce product, using the service to analyze weather measurements from 2.5 million locations and forecasts each day. The Seattle office, located in Pioneer Square, employs 11 people with plans to double in size with the new funding. It also plans to add more than 50 quantitative researchers, data scientists and software engineers across the company in the coming months, adding to the total current staffing of 143.
A company spokeswoman said that The Climate Corp. has capacity for 25 people in its Seattle office, and it would staff up to that size as soon as it could find enough qualified employees.
The new funding was led by the Founders Fund — a backer of Facebook, Spotify and SpaceX — and included participation from previous investors Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, NEA, Index Ventures, Atomico, Glynn Capital, and Western Technology Investment. Total funding stands at $110 million.
“There is nothing easy about what they are doing – nothing less than simulating the weather on a hyper-local basis and codifying the precise relationship between weather events and the outcome of a farmer’s operation,” said Brian Singerman, a partner at Founders Fund. “It will transform the economics of agriculture, making farming and the global food supply more secure in the face of climate change.”
The Climate Corp. represents a wave of Silicon Valley companies that have established engineering centers in Seattle in recent months, joining companies such as Twitter, Splunk, RichRelevance and Zynga. The companies, with buckets of funding, are changing the dynamic of the Seattle tech community by adding diversity and making it harder for startup companies to compete for talent.