PlanetWatchers raises USD3.5m funding

PlanetWatchers, a crop monitoring company that can provide detailed insurance claims assessment in just one hour, has closed a Pre-A series funding round, raising USD3.5 million to support the Company’s growth plans.

PlanetWatchers is a world-leading technology company that 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.
 
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.
 
Seraphim Capital, the world's first Venture Fund dedicated to financing the growth of companies operating in the 'new space' ecosystem, and Creative Ventures, a Deep Tech venture fund, co-led the funding round. The Trendlines Agrifood Fund and Ridgeline Partners also invested in the oversubscribed USD3.5 million round.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. 
 
Dominic Edmunds, Chief Executive for PlanetWatchers, says: “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.”
 
Mark Boggett, Chief Executive Officer of Seraphim Capital, says: “PlanetWatchers is an AaaS business driving new capability and pricing models which we hope will revolutionise 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, says: “The number of extreme weather events has been increasing by 400 per cent 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 10-times 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.”
 
Trendlines Agrifood Fund CEO, Nitza Kardish, PhD, says: “Our investment in PlanetWatchers corresponds with our goals and objectives: the company has a robust and unique technology enabling direct access to a great deal of data to all players in the agri-food value chain, from the farmer in the field to insurance companies and banks. PlanetWatchers’ management and development teams bring excellent capabilities and a proven track record, which together with us and our financial and strategic co-investors, provide a complete set of skills and knowledge for the future of the company. In addition to the company's important and direct contribution to its customers, it also makes a very significant contribution to minimising the world’s carbon footprint. We are confident that PlanetWatchers heralds a new paradigm for preserving our planet's resources.”
 
Ryan Clinton, General Partner of Ridgeline, says: "SAR has been around for a long time, but usage primarily centred around military applications. Only recently have we seen the technological improvements in SAR needed to make it more able to reinvent commercial industries. PlanetWatchers has taken advantage of these advancements and developed a unique AaaS offering capable of transforming a multitude of industries. Our investment demonstrates our belief that the technology and team at PlanetWatchers are best suited to disrupt these under-innovated industries starting with the crop insurance. We look forward to partnering with the team as they continue to grow their existing technology and explore new markets."