Weathermob Secures $1.1M Funding, Rolls Out Updates
Weathermob, the Waze-like crowdsourcing app for weather has just released a new version of its iOS app and secured a total of $1.1 million in funding from investors Mark Hastings, Lord Waheed Alli, Victoria Hackett and Drew Volpe.
The app launched in November of 2011 and has an estimated 100,000 active monthly users from 135 countries. With its real-time weather updates from users on the ground, the app allows anyone with an iPhone to become a weather reporter. In the latest version of Weathermob, users get enhanced reporting, the ability to create their own channels and access to real-time weather news and trends.
“We consider ourselves a Waze for weather,” said Julia LaStage, CEO and Founder of Weathermob. “We believe that pulling people in through telling the human story and connecting with them on the human level is the way to get the data we need, and its been working for us and that’s kind of what Waze did in the early years.”
Aside from providing a snapshot of the current weather conditions in your location, the app uses gamification, moods, and socialization to keep you engaged for long periods of time. For example, you can earn points and titles for uploading data and talking about the weather. You can also choose a mood on how the weather makes you feel and what it makes you feel like doing. If you are a popular user who produces a large amount of weather reports, you can become your zip code’s Bureau Chief. LaStage said that Weathermob’s users stay connected to the app much longer than other weather apps, which is one of the reasons why they updated the app.
“Our session times are about 6.5 minutes, on average, and people were coming into our world and staying, which is not necessarily something that we predicted would happen,” LaStage said. “The average hit time for weather channel apps is 20 seconds, and ours is a lot more than that.”
Weathermob is also filling the gaps between weather stations across the world in a cost-effective and invaluable way, creating new weather stations, in a sense, out of people.
“There’s a finite amount of weather stations that all weather agencies and the governments pull off of in the world, and that’s about 20,000,” LaStage said. “We already have five times that.”
The app is particularly relied upon in underdeveloped countries where weather stations stretch across thousands of miles and can’t offer accurate weather data. For that reason, La Stage said the app is continually gaining popularity in other countries that don’t have well-established weather data like Kazakhstan.
“In developing countries, their weather data is almost nonexistent, they are taking averages between thousands of miles of weather stations that may or may not have gone down,” LaStage said.
LaStage hopes that someday, Weathermob will contribute to computer models that forecast the weather so that meteorological data becomes more reliable and consistent. But one things for sure, Weathermob is likely to continue gaining popularity because the one thing we can all connect on is weather, plus Americans are slightly obsessed with it. According to the National Atmospheric Center in Boulder, Americans check the weather 3.8 times a day.
“The thing about weather, is it’s the one thing we have all in common,” La Stage said. “Who doesn’t have something to say about the weather?
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