Normally, being bought out for close to $1 billion is a cause for celebration. But not everyone's been cheering since the Climate Corp., a 6-year-old weather data and insurance company in San Francisco, was purchased by agribusiness giant Monsanto, known best in some quarters as the chief supplier of genetically modified seeds and powerful herbicides
"I've had to do quite a bit of explaining to people," said CEO David Friedberg,
whose company officially joined the Monsanto family this month for
approximately $930 million. The opponents included his father, and in an
e-mail to Climate Corp.'s employees Friedberg acknowledged the anxiety,
adding a subject line reading, "Do you REALLY want to work at the MOST
EVIL COMPANY IN THE WORLD??!!"
Friedberg certainly does. A former Google
engineer, he co-founded the data-driven "weather insurance and risk
management" company in 2007 with another ex-Google employee, angel
investor Siraj Khaliq.
"has by far the best data out there, and we're able to make better use
of it than anyone else," he said Monday before flying to St. Louis to
meet with Monsanto executives.
Originally named WeatherBill, the
company has 200 employees, mostly scientists and software engineers in
San Francisco and Seattle, along with insurance personnel in Kansas
City, Kan. It uses big data to track and analyze weather and
crop-specific conditions, and provide future forecasts - sometimes
called "weather derivatives" - at the touch of a farmer's mobile device.
Crop insurance is purchased through an agent.
READ MORE: http://www.sfgate.com/business/bottomline/article/Monsanto-buys-Climate-Corp-for-930-million-4975474.php