London-based geospatial intelligence startup PlanetWatchers raises $3.5M to provide Analytics as a Service (AaaS) to the crop insurance industry
PlanetWatchers, a London, England-based crop monitoring startup that uses advanced machine learning to provide detailed insurance claims assessment, has closed $3.5 million in the Pre-A series funding round. The round was co-led by Seraphim Capital and Creative Ventures, a Deep Tech venture fund, co-led the funding round
Other backers include The Trendlines Agrifood Fund and Ridgeline Partners. PlanetWatchers will use the proceeds to significantly expand the commercial team and invest in ground-breaking technology to ensure it becomes the market leader in SAR-based data analytics.
Founded in 2016 by Ariel Smoliar, Dominic Edmunds, Roi Shilo, and Shai Lev, PlanetWatchers provides a SaaS solution for enterprises, governments, and NGOs to monitor their natural assets across multiple sectors.
PlanetWatchers combines advanced machine learning algorithms, elastic cloud infrastructure, and multi-source satellite sensors to deliver a robust monitoring and alerting system, which provides critical information to advance the management of large-scale assets at global and regional scales.
PlanetWatchers uses advanced machine learning to support crop insurers in reporting planting dates, acreage, crop classification, and claims validation at scale. The Company uses Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data to provide accurate insight regardless of cloud cover, bad weather or poor lighting. PlanetWatchers exploits the unique benefits of SAR, to create in-season insights that reduce overheads and increases customer satisfaction.
Dominic Edmunds, Chief Executive for PlanetWatchers, said: “Our vision and technology can turn months of manual adjustment into minutes of automated analysis. We are thrilled that Seraphim and Creative Ventures, as co-leads, have decided to join us on this journey as we aim to use the latest technology to transform the crop insurance market. We welcome the insight from all of our investors who bring with them extensive experience in the worlds of insurance, agriculture the public sector, and space technology. Over the next year, PlanetWatchers aims to expand its services across America and into Europe.”
PlanetWatchers, which works, amongst others, with crop insurance company ProAg, the World Bank, and the Environmental Protection Agency, uses time series-based radar data to provide detailed analysis of claims without ever visiting the field. The use of SAR, a powerful remote sensing technology bouncing microwave signals off the Earth’s surface, helps PlanetWatchers to detect physical properties and the changes to them over time, proving valuable insight to its customers.
Mark Boggett, Chief Executive Officer of Seraphim Capital, said: “PlanetWatchers is an AaaS business driving new capability and pricing models which we hope will revolutionize the insurance industry, starting with the crop insurance industry, providing reliable data-driven insights that will enable considerable efficiencies and cost savings in their business.
“Our investment reflects the potential we believe this breakthrough technology will have across the environmental sector. With the most advanced SAR technology, providing reliable, accurate and efficient analysis, on a global scale and at speed, PlanetWatchers will help transform, reshape and develop the industry as a whole.”
Champ Suthipongchai, General Partner of Creative Ventures, said: “The number of extreme weather events has been increasing by 400% over the past 40 years, leaving the crop insurance industry vulnerable as the victim of climate change. PlanetWatchers offers an extremely compelling value proposition that is 10x faster, cheaper, and more scalable than existing solutions that can help its customer manage the inevitable and unavoidable impact of these extreme weather events.
“We are convinced that PlanetWatchers’ leadership in SAR technology combined with the climate-induced market demand will pave the way to one of the most successful data analytics companies in this space.”