A start-up crowdsourcing the weather

This start-up is turning users into real-time meteorologists.

"People are frustrated with how inaccurate their weather apps are. What they see or experience in real time doesn't quite match with what was forecasted or reported, " BloomSky Director of Marketing and Business Development Samuel Chow told CNBC.


Rain check

So in February 2014, product designers Juntao Xiao and Yi Liu co-founded BloomSky, a weather system "in which weather images and weather data merge to form a new combination of crowdsourced information," said Chow.

The BloomSky weather system consists of an at-home weather-data collecting station that connects to the start-up's free mobile app. The BloomSky device itself, which includes a wide-angle camera, atmospheric sensors and solar panel, can be set up outside to record local weather data, snap real-time pictures, and generate time-lapse videos showing the day's weather patterns. This data get uploaded to the app and may be shared with the BloomSky community.

"BloomSky is the only weather app to give you an accurate, real-time glimpse of what the weather looks like," said Chow.

According to the start-up, there are nearly 2,000 active BloomSky device users worldwide.

The BloomSky solar powered weather kit is available for sale on the company website for $229.

Under the weather

BloomSky solar powered weather kit.
Source: BloomSky
BloomSky solar powered weather kit.

Stephanie Palmeri, a principal with SoftTech VC, asked how the start-up planned to monetize its service.

Chow said the 30 percent gross margin on the BloomSky device is "healthy," adding that the start-up intends to expand its community of app users as well as implement hyperlocal targeted ads.

He also said BloomSky plans to leverage strategic partnerships with organizations interested in weather data and predictive forecasting, including educational institutions, national parks, government entities and the travel industry.

But Alicia Syrett, board member of New York Angels, asked how BloomSky stood up against competitors in weather forecasting. Chow said the camera sets BloomSky apart. "BloomSky users can easily search and view realtime, hyper local weather data and images at their locations of interest."

Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, the start-up has raised $5 million in Series A funding.

In the coming year BloomSky plans to deliver over 20,000 devices in the U.S and expand its mobile app user base to 3 Million, Chow told CNBC.


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