The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with geography that makes it vulnerable typhoons, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes and droughts. While working in IT, Felix Ayque began compiling cyclone reports and sending them as email alerts to communities. His work became an ambient intelligence platform. Community, which collects data from government and private sources and converts it into customizable analytics to help customers quickly react to potential disasters.
The Manila and Singapore-based startup announced that it has raised $ 1 million in seed funding, led by Wavemaker Partners with participation from ADB Ventures, the venture arm of the Asian Development Bank, to expand in Asia and add features to its platform. , including a serving version that is scheduled for release in January 2022.
Founded in 2019, Komunidad has clients in the Philippines, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, serving multiple sectors including utilities, agriculture, mining, education, local governments, and business outsourcing centers. Before launching the startup, Ayque worked as an IT developer at various weather agencies, including New Zealand’s state-owned MetService. He began creating cyclone reports on his own as a consultant after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, also known as Super Typhoon Yolanda, which killed at least 6,300 people in the Philippines.
The reports were intended to help companies respond more quickly to natural disasters. Typhoon Haiyan struck at a time when the business outsourcing sector was growing rapidly in the Philippines, with many foreign companies setting up multiple offices in the country. During a typhoon, companies generally transfer workload to offices in areas that are not affected. Ayque’s first emails contained a manual analysis of possible cyclones.
Demand for their reports grew as companies, including energy providers, needed to respond to climate change. Komunidad began raising enough revenue to expand and for Ayque to hire employees, including meteorologists, data scientists, software developers, and business development teams based in India and Southeast Asia. Your new investment will be used to build a scalable platform.
Komunidad’s data sources include major players such as The Weather Company, acquired by IBM in 2015, the weather intelligence platform Tomorrow.io, and several smaller providers of environmental and weather data.
The platform converts the data into panels relevant to the needs of its customers, such as adverse weather conditions, solar, marine energy, soil moisture or air quality. “We act as a systems integrator that just brings in the relevant data and tells customers that this is the most important data,” Ayque said. Komunidad also allows its clients to build their own alert systems. For example, in the Philippines, many customers send alerts via Viber, one of the most popular messaging applications in the country, or SMS to reach areas with unstable Internet connections.
For customers in the energy sector, Komunidad tools help them predict things like energy use based on temperature. It has also been used by local governments to decide school cancellations. During the pandemic, Komunidad helped cities monitor the density of people so they can decide which areas need more crowd control.
One of Komunidad’s competitive advantages is understanding what data is important in different areas. For example, it recently closed a deal with the Assam State Disaster Management Agency (ASDMA) to focus on lightning and thunderstorm alerts, because Assam is the one of the most lightning prone states in India.
“Each country has a different profile and we understand that our approach must really focus on the community and then extend to business,” Ayque said.
Since Komunidad customers have to react quickly, it creates easy-to-understand visualizations from raw data reports, which are often incomprehensible to non-technical people. For example, it could be a simple bar graph, green, yellow, and red warnings, or maps that turn red if a major weather or environmental event is expected to occur in the next six hours.
Part of Komunidad’s funding will be used to launch customizable self-service dashboards next year that will allow customers to drag and drop widgets, similar to creating a website on Wix or WordPress. The seed round will also help Komunidad seize new business opportunities in India, Thailand, Cambodia and other markets, grow its sales teams and pay for more data sources.