Insurtech Hillridge has raised $2.3 million in seed funding to expand its weather insurance platform into Southeast Asia and provide access to parametric coverage for agriculture and other climate-sensitive industries.
Sydney-based Hillridge says its mission is to help farmers mitigate the financial impact of inclement weather on their crops or livestock “in a way that goes far beyond existing crop or livestock insurance.”
The platform offers affordable weather insurance against risks that local insurers may not cover, such as drought, frost, heat and too much rain. It takes weather data, machine learning, and personalization based on farmers’ production to provide blockchain-based insurance and self-executing contracts.
The startup recently received a $200,000 ($277,362) grant from the NEAR Foundation to develop a blockchain-based parametric tropical storm insurance platform to be piloted during typhoons in Vietnam.
The Insurtech Australia member started locally with Marsh, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and distributor Nutrien last year after winning the global startup competition Extreme Tech Challenge.
“There will be an increasing need for climate resilience tools like Hillridge’s data-driven technology. We see applications in many industries such as agriculture, construction, energy and tourism,” said Simon Wright, Managing Partner of InterValley Ventures.
InterValley and Artesian Venture Partners led the latest investment round. Sangha Capital, ACTAI Ventures and WAVIA also attended.
Hillridge CEO Dale Schilling says a “climate protection gap” has left hundreds of millions of people and businesses uninsured and exposed to the financial consequences of more frequent extreme weather events.
“These are vulnerable people who need financial protection but don’t have access to the weather
Derivatives and insurance, which are a matter of course for large companies,” said Schilling
He says traditional insurance companies rely on a costly operating model designed for large contracts. This denies many of the world’s half a billion farmers and climate-exposed businesses financial protection from the weather, the risk that affects them most.
Hillridge says the use of satellite weather data, big data analysis and distributed ledger technologies bridges insurance’s “efficiency and transparency gaps”.
The platform generates a price in seconds and triggers automatic payout instructions in adverse weather conditions, allowing policies to be delivered at scale at a fraction of the cost of traditional insurance. Payouts are usually made within a few days.