Everyone has experienced a weather forecast that does not quite hold true and ruins everything from picnics to camping trips. The anemometer developed by the Danish startup Vaavud has set out to solve this problem.
Vaavud is a crodwsourced weather service on a mission to deliver personalized weather information in high resolution. It is basically a “Waze for the weather.”
Vaavud has developed two different wind meters for smartphones used by kite surfers, golfers, sailors, drone pilots, hunters and many others. The anemometer helps users to get an accurate assessment of weather conditions, right where they are.
The founders of Vaavud, active kitesurfers, originally set out to solve the problem for themselves – but quickly found that there was a need for wind gauges beyond kitesurfing.
“We needed an easy way to check the facts on the ground to help choose the right kite size. At the same time, we also wanted to share the information online so that others could see if it was worth going out or not,” says founder and CEO Thomas Helms. A successful Kickstarter campaign was the first indication that their user base was much wider than the thought.
A platform for weather data and forecasts
One of the main problems with general weather forecasts is that they are low resolution and lack real-time data from specific locations, since you can be many kilometers from the nearest weather station.
Vaavud integrates crowdsourced data with traditional meteorological models, which means that you can get a tailored forecast for your specific location.
“Wind conditions are the most significant variable in meteorological forecasting models, so with Vaavud anemometer we have a unique opportunity to create personal weather forecasts.”
Sailors, surfers and…drone pilots?
In 2016, the team behind Vaavud launched a number of new apps that target some of their different customer segments – such as sailors, kite surfers, and drone pilots.
“We quickly learned that other niches also needed product. Today we estimate a market size of over 500 million people, and we see that 30 per cent. customers still active 9-12 months after they have downloaded the app, so we believe that we have created a product that our users really like,” he explains.
The team feels that having drone pilots among their users is a particularly big advantage.
“Drones and virtual reality will continue to grow wildly, so if you sell your product and it becomes a hit in one of these markets, you can ride on a wave of momentum,” says Thomas.
From hardware to weather geeks
In the long term, the team behind Vaavud dreams of developing a meteorological platform.
“We want to experiment with launching a dedicated app for several specific segments, so that the apps are built on a common platform with as many technical overlaps as possible. It should enable us to start making money on “premium features” in our apps from the start of the second quarter of 2016.”
Only after the apps have been developed and launched does Vaavud plan to focus on growing their number of users.
“And of course, in addition, sell a whole lot of wind meters,” says Thomas.
“The vision is that we want to go from being a company that makes wind gauges to being a meteorological platform that combines traditional weather models and weather data with our own crowdsourced data and integrates with other apps and services,” explains Thomas.