Madison agtech startup Understory raises $7.5 million

Madison-based weather analytics startup Understory Inc. has raised a $7.5 million funding round, the company announced today.

The round was led by Madison-based venture capital firm 4490 Ventures. Former AOL chief executive officer Steve Case’s Washington, D.C.-based Rise of the Rest Seed Fund was a new investor in Understory. The fund targets startups that are not based on the coasts.

“Understory is powering innovation in weather data infrastructure with its sensor networks and on-the-ground insights,” Case said. “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.”

Understory, established in 2016, manufactures weather sensors that are placed in fields to collect hyperlocal weather data. The company then analyzes data on historical, current and forecasted weather events to provide insights and early risk detection. It has been used by the agriculture and insurance sectors. It now has more than 500 weather stations providing granular weather data in five major U.S. cities and plans to grow to 5,000 sensors in 2019.

“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.”

Understory recently expanded to South America through a partnership with Bayer (formerly Monsanto).

“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,” said interim head of Bayer Growth Ventures Jürgen Eckhardt. “We are eager to see how the company’s expansion can further enrich localized weather insights.”

The startup also was recently named to the Forbes 25 Most Innovative AgTech Startups in 2018, and co-founder and vice president of engineering Bryan Dow was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2019 in the Manufacturing & Industry category.

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