Jupiter Intelligence: Flood Risk Analytics for Insurance, Commercial Real Estate, Ports, and People

Ignition Partners Backs a Once-in-a-Generation Team Integrating Climate Change in Extreme Weather Prediction
by: Nick Sturiale


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2017 was the costliest year on record for weather-related damages:
 · The combination of property damage and spending on aid and relief cost the US a total of $306 billion in 2017.
 · Hurricane Harvey, which caused widespread flooding in Houston, was the single most expensive storm in 2017, racking up more than $125 billion in damage.
 · 16 individual weather events caused over $1 billion in damage.

These numbers are specific to the US. A global view reveals that more than $100 trillion dollars in global assets are endangered by extreme weather and climate change. Moreover, leading climatologists and meteorologists predict increasingly frequent “unusual” weather events will continue to plague coastal cities and industrial infrastructure, disrupting local, regional and national economies for months and even years.

Today’s forecasting tools rely on outdated modeling approaches that rely heavily on extrapolation from historical events without incorporating updated insights from climate change effects on extreme weather events. Given what’s at stake, our economy needs a better way to predict extreme weather and quantify economic risk and ways to mitigate it.

Jupiter just launched a ground-breaking cloud-based climate data and analytics service that predicts weather and climate change risks even at the hyper-location level, well beyond the short-term time-frame of today’s available alternatives. Ingesting terabytes of data gathered by satellite, sensor, aircraft, and drones, Jupiter uses machine-learning, AI and enabling-cloud technology to deliver actionable insights in real-time. And Jupiter’s system continuously improves through automated learning as new observations become available.

It’s the work of a peerless technical team led by successful serial-entrepreneur Rich Sorkin. Their qualifications are unmatched: Josh Hacker is an expert in evaluating the accuracy of weather models, who joined Jupiter from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Alan Blumberg is a world-renowned urban oceanographer and developer of the Princeton Ocean Model. His team, now full-time at Jupiter, developed and managed the short-term flood prediction system used daily basis by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New Jersey Transit.

Jupiter’s science and technology team members are deep domain experts and include Betsy Weatherhead, one of the climatologists who provided statistical expertise for the Nobel Prize-winning 2007 IPCC, and Pat Harr, the Head of Atmospheric Science at the National Science Foundation and the first team in the world to improve weather forecasting scale and accuracy with cloud-based elastic super-compute.

The operational leadership team also carries an elite track record of commercializing break-through technologies. In his 20+ year career, Jupiter’s founder and CEO Rich Sorkin has directly contributed to building $1B in value through startup exits. Co-founder Eric Wun comes from Google’s Skybox satellite division and is a deep domain expert in big data analytics. Matt Stein, who ran the strategy and developer ecosystem group for GE Digital, brings a seasoned business development acumen to servicing early customer-partners, and Dinesh Sharma, formerly VP of SAP’s Internet of Things division, brings a deep product-management expertise in cloud services, big data analytics, and industrial customer solution deployment.

Clearly, the high cost of recovering from weather-related damage demands a solution, and we believe that this team, with their deep sector expertise, technical chops, and business acumen will be the ones to do it. 
As the newest company to join the Ignition Partners’ portfolio, Jupiter is in good company with Ignition-backed AI-driven startups such as Amplero, Tractable, and Trifacta all of whom are members of the CB Insights AI100. The portfolio will grow as we continue to actively invest in early-stage companies that transform the way we work. If you, or founders you know, are building companies that fit this mold, we encourage you to reach out.


Nick Sturiale is a managing partner at Ignition Partners. As a VC the last 15 years, Nick’s has been directly involved in over 100 startups including Splunk, Cloudera. and Trifacta. To date, Nick’s companies have generated nearly $700M in realized value from ~$100M in investments cost. @NickSturiale