WeatherCheck named only Kentucky Finalist for Startup of the Year 2018
Enrolled by Singularity University
Will integrate with Esri platform
Honors come amid record-breaking progress
For more information: Jan Winter
Louisville, Ky. – WeatherCheck has been named Kentucky’s only finalist for Startup of the Year. The top 100 emerging startups from around the world compete for connections to investors, influencers, and other accelerated support.
“We are humbled and honored to be in the company of the other finalists,” said Chief Executive Officer Demetrius Gray. “It validates the hard work our team is doing, and the momentum we are gaining every day.”
WeatherCheck was founded in 2016 by Gray and Chief Technical Officer Jermaine Watkins. It is the only African-American owned meteorology company in the country, and the only company tracking weather by address. Its meteorology team is creating new weather data sets that are otherwise unavailable.
WeatherCheck is automating severe weather response, from damage detection through the claims process to full repair and recovery.
Its patented, proprietary software serves numerous industry segments including mortgage servicing, real estate, logistics, emergency response, and insurance. The company is on track to have 20 million structures enrolled nationwide by the end of Q1 of 2019.
WeatherCheck uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to aggregate and analyze weather, real estate, and other data. WeatherCheck notifies homeowners and property managers only when severe weather has caused enough damage to qualify for repair by insurance claim. Clients pay a per-structure monthly fee for the service.
Startup of the Year has been attracting the most innovative, emerging startups from around the world since 2006, including GrubHub, Groupon, LivingSocial, AddThis, Desk, and Uber. This year’s class represents 43 states and 46 countries.
Also this month, Gray and Watkins began the 10-week Secure Erie Accelerator program, hosted by the Erie (Penn.) Innovation District for emerging insurtech companies. It is sponsored in part by Erie Insurance Group, a Fortune 500 company. WeatherCheck’s team is receiving intensive training and a significant investment, with the goal of achieving a partnership with Erie Insurance.
Acceptance in the Erie accelerator includes enrollment in Singularity University.
The city partnered with Singularity University (SU) to deliver the high-velocity accelerator. Created in 2009 by Google Co-Founder Larry Page and futurist Ray Kurzweil, SU’s mission is to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s “grand challenges.”
WeatherCheck has also announced that it has been invited to integrate with Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software.
WeatherCheck has been accepted into the Esri Startup Program, which helps emerging businesses add location analytics to their services and solutions. This three-year program provides qualified businesses with free ArcGIS platform technology to integrate spatial functionality into their products. WeatherCheck is the first and only Kentucky-based company to be enrolled in the Esri Startup Program. Other Kentucky companies have leases for the platform; only WeatherCheck has been given access in order to achieve integration.
“For the first time, the Esri marketplace will offer what only WeatherCheck can provide: a way to automate weather-response strategy, from early warnings and damage alerts to a fully automated claims and repair process,” said Gray. “For WeatherCheck, this is a giant leap toward our moonshot goal of protecting every structure in the country.”
Esri Startup Program members receive software, tools, support, and opportunities that help their businesses succeed. Key benefits include access to an ArcGIS Online organizational subscription, an ArcGIS for Server license, and the Esri Developer Network package plus training, support, and maintenance.
The partnership will make it possible for any Esri client to track damaging weather by individual address, and check the weather history of any residential structure in the continental United States. WeatherCheck’s exclusive solution will be available on the ArcGIS Marketplace, which enables ArcGIS users to search, discover, and get apps and content from qualified providers.
Before WeatherCheck, property owners had to conduct on-site inspections of every property potentially damaged after a weather event or risk missing hidden damage that progresses to much more costly repairs. Now, owners will be able to map entire real estate portfolios, and know precisely and immediately which addresses incurred damage from a weather event.
WeatherCheck has seen a 400% increase in revenue over the past nine months, and has added 12 full-time employees for a total of 14. A new line of data sales efforts has largely contributed to the increase. Gray forecasts a bright future for the company, given that severe weather claims total $54 billion annually in the U.S.
WeatherCheck is a Software-as-a-Service company, currently enrolling property assets by annual subscription for protection from severe weather. Only WeatherCheck makes premise-specific damage assessments and sends post-event weather alerts to trigger actions such as filing an insurance claim. The entire process, from damage detection to repair, is being automated by proprietary WeatherCheck algorithms.
WeatherCheck currently tracks hail damage, and will track several other perils by the end of 2019, including wind, fires, floods, and storm surge. It is on pace to have 20 million properties enrolled in the next six months, and has applications in the mortgage servicing, real estate, logistics, emergency response, disaster recovery, and insurance industries, among other business segments.
According to its website, “Singularity University is a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Our learning and innovation platform empowers individuals and organizations with the mindset, skillset, and network to build breakthrough solutions that leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. With our community of entrepreneurs, corporations, development organizations, governments, investors, and academic institutions, we have the necessary ingredients to create a more abundant future for all.”
What is “technological singularity?”
SU’s philosophy is based on futurist Ray Kurzweil’s theory of “technological singularity,” the belief that emerging technologies will massively increase human intelligence over the next two decades, and fundamentally reshape the economy and society.
According to its website, “Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, offers the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Since 1969, Esri has helped customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Today, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world’s largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and location analytics to inform the most authoritative maps in the world.”
Erie Secure Accelerator
According to its website, in September 2016, Mercyhurst University received a $4 million grant to lead development of the Erie Innovation District in collaboration with corporate partners Erie Insurance, McManis and Monsalve Associates and Velocity Network, Inc. The Secure Erie Accelerator, a program conducted by the Erie Innovation District in partnership with Singularity University, has attracted startup companies in the cyber security and IoT space to the city for a 10-week program that includes mentorship, funding and opportunities to partner with local companies and organizations.
Isn’t the Weather Channel owned by an African-American?
Yes, but it is a primarily a broadcasting/communications company, that uses meteorological data. The WeatherCheck meteorology team is creating new weather data sets that have heretofore been unavailable.