On February 23, 2021, Highline Beta announced our second cohort of the Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator in partnership with Aviva Canada. Since then, the three startups have been actively working with Aviva Canada, Highline Beta and supporting partners to design pilots and secure industry partners to kick off projects in-market that aim to make roads safer across Canada. The planning phase is officially done, and we are about to switch gears and go into execution mode to bring the pilots to life. Here is a conversation with Scott Kehler, co-founder of Weatherlogics, about their startup journey, program experience and future ambitions.
Weatherlogics is a private weather forecasting company that provides specialized weather forecasts to different industries including agriculture, insurance and transportation, to help people make important weather-dependent decisions.
Highline Beta: Weather is such a go-to topic. Everyone talks about it. Everyday. It seems like there’s so much information available about the weather. Why did you decide to start Weatherlogics and what is unique about your solution?
Scott: Yes, you are right. There’s a lot of weather information out there provided by the governments or apps, but a lot of it is not tailored to the needs of different industries. It’s also not the quality that is needed for commercial use. So, based on the fact that we are professional meteorologists, we’ve taken our skills and created actionable solutions for industry that can help run effectively and ensure they are accounting for the adverse effects that weather can bring.
Highline Beta: The mission of the Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator is to make roads safer for all. How does your solution improve road safety?
Scott: With traditional weather forecasts you can get a sense of when it is going to rain or snow on the road. Then, you have to make assumptions about how it’s going to affect the road conditions. What we’re doing is running a road specific model that uses many different factors, such as pavement temperature, incoming sunlight, wind speed etc. This allows us to determine how any of these factors are going to change the road conditions and road safety for drivers. By doing that, drivers can take a very easy look at how weather is going to change over time and make changes to their plan accordingly.
Highline Beta: How big is this problem for transportation companies in North America?
Scott: In the transportation industry weather is a crucial factor because there are both safety and regulatory concerns related to weather. In many cases there are regulations that transportation companies must follow about putting chains on vehicles, or sometimes vehicles are not able to operate when the wind is at a certain speed. Between all these different factors, you can see how issues can arise related to drivers’ safety, regulatory compliance, costly delays and accidents. So weather is something that these companies have to monitor on a day-to-day basis, but they don’t really have good tools to do that right now. And we’re trying to fill that need with our technology.
Highline Beta: We’re about half way through the program at this point. The first half was heavily focused on designing and scoping the pilot with Aviva Canada, sourcing the right partners and getting the official sign off on the pilot project plan. If you were to describe this experience in three words, how would you describe it?
Scott: The pilot program has been an excellent experience so far. If I were to describe it in three words:
Efficient - we’ve been able to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.
Valuable - the pilot program is structured in a way that brings a lot of value to our company and to the partners involved.
Innovative - there’s a focus on making important changes and pushing the envelope on technology that can help the lives of both individuals and companies participating in the program.
Highline Beta: That’s such a great way to describe it, and we’re happy to hear it’s been such a positive experience. Can you share any highlights, learnings or some takeaways when it comes to working with Aviva Canada?
Scott: We’ve really gained a lot from their knowledge of the industry and thoroughly enjoyed working with the people there. We’ve had a chance to connect with their teams in marketing, PR, social responsibility, and we were matched with a great champion who’s been proactively helping us connect with industry partners.
When it comes to working with large organisations there is a general belief that things move slow and it is hard to get stuff done. But when it comes to Aviva Canada, their team was the complete opposite of that. They’ve been extremely helpful, very efficient and effective in meeting our needs. What we’ve learned is if the team runs well, gets things done and is passionate about the cause, it can really make a huge difference!
Highline Beta: What was it like to work with the Highline Beta team and have a corporate innovation firm and startup investor being a part of the process?
Scott: Highline Beta has done an amazing job structuring this program in a way that brings so much value to the participants. We see a lot of accelerator programs, and most of them are all about future thinking and not really taking any action. With this program we’re actually taking concrete actions and building relationships that benefit us now and in future. I think the way that Highline Beta helps move startups forward both from the pilot and strategic growth perspectives is something that is unique to this program and is an outstanding attribute of it.
Highline Beta: What’s next for the Weatherlogics team?
Scott: Focus on scaling our technology and building out commercial use cases. We’ve got a lot of great technology in our company and we’ve developed platforms around it. We are at the point now where we want to meet as many transportation, insurance and agriculture companies as we can to accelerate the growth of our business.
Highline Beta: Scott, thank you so much for sharing your story and experience with the program. It’s been really great working with your team and being a part of this journey. We cannot wait to bring this project to life.