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  • Writer's pictureConnar Stratton

Startup Idea #28: Hyper-localised weather forecasting

Idea: A weather forecasting device that allows for hyper-localised weather forecasting. Where existing weather forecasting uses weather balloons and satellites to do a top-down forecast, this device would be doing a bottom-up forecast. Weather can vary significantly across short distances, so providing hyper localised weather forecasting for farmers allows them to better manage their crops, and can increase yield drastically. You would sell a weather device directly to farmers with a subscription service that aggregates and analyses data from other farms around the region to generate more accurate insights.

Problem: Weather explains up to 50% of variation in crop production. Rather problematically, climate change has led to more frequent extreme weather conditions such as La Niña. Without clear weather insights farmers overwater, and underwater their crops, or choose the non-optimal time to plant.

Insight: Not yet

Validation method: Apart from building the technology, the most challenging part of this business is educating farmers about the benefits of such a device and convincing them to buy it. You would need to go on a road trip to farms in the region with sales collaterals, and try to sell it to them in person. Although this would be more time consuming than the usual social media selling validation method, it would help you understand farmer appetite a lot better. Given the high amounts of capital that would go into researching the technology, creating the device itself, and creating a forecasting model you want to make sure that you accurately validate farmer demand.

Notes: Although the technology exists it's still quite early, so you may need to partner with a university, find a deep expert co-founder, or license the technology from an IP commercialisation government arm. There are definitely players in the market who have already reported hyper localised forecasting accuracy rates as high as 95%. IBM has already created an app that can forecast local weather reasonably accurately, so you will need to validate whether your approach would be more desirable. Once you understand the market better, there are definitely better angles that you could approach this startup at. Rather than hyper localised weather forecasting, there may be more demand for an decentralised big data platform that can disrupt the agricultural big data monopoly of Bayer and Monsanto.

Why am I doing this? I’m an innovation consultant who helps businesses build new products, and ventures. And I want people to see how easy it is to build, and validate an initial business idea. Hopefully inspiring them to start their own business.

Am I worried that people will take the ideas? I hope they do. These ideas will hopefully make the world a better place. Just remember, “Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything”. What’s most likely is that within a month of testing the idea, the idea would have completely pivoted, but this is a starting point.


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