Thomas Helms, CEO and co-founder of Vaavud, is building a crowdsourced weather platform…a Waze for weather
Everyone has experienced a weather forecast that did not quite hold true and experienced how it can ruin everything from picnics to a wedding party. The wind meters developed by Danish startup Vaavud aim to fix that problem. Vaavud is a crowdsourced weather service with a mission to provide high-resolution and personalized weather information. It’s basically a “Waze for weather”.
Vaavud has developed two different wind meters for smartphones, which are used by kitesurfers, golfers, sailors, drone pilots, hunters and many others. The wind meters help users get an accurate assessment of the conditions right where they are. Vaavud founders, active kitesurfers themselves, launched their first wind meter on Kickstarter in 2013. “We needed an easy way to check the conditions on the spot to help choose the right kite size. We also wanted to share the info online so that others could see if it was worth going or not,” explains founder and CEO Thomas Helms, who started his journey in a niche market and has now found himself entering a mass market of weather-information-hungry individuals.
From niche to mass
We quickly learned that other kinds of users also needed the product. Today we reach an estimated market of more than 500 million people, and we are seeing monthly retention rates of about 30% after 9-12 months, so we strongly believe we have created a product that our users really like,” says Helms.
One of the main issues with the general weather forecasts is the low resolution and the lack of real time data for your specific location, since you might be miles away from the nearest weather station.
The Vaavud team is working on integrating the crowdsourced data with meteorological models, meaning you can get a tailored weather forecast for your exact location. “Wind conditions are the most significant input variable in weather forecast models, so we have a unique ability to generate personalized weather forecasts.”
Vaavud is also inviting others to access and apply the real time data that they are crowdsourcing. The team has recently launched an SDK and an API, so other apps can integrate the wind meter functionality, and the first integration partners are already on board. The first apps with the Vaavud functionality included will launch within the next few months.
“It has been great to see the developer interest. This will be an effective way for us to tap into several verticals at once, and it will generate a lot of extra data points that we can use in our models,” explains Thomas Helms of the future of Vaavud.