Hillridge bags $2.3m for crop insurance in Australia


Hillridge, a Sydney-based AI crop insurance platform, has raised $2.3m in seed funding as it plans to expand its weather insurance platform to southeast Asia.

The round was led by Artesian (Alternative Investments) and InterValley Ventures, and supported by Sangha Capital SA, ACTAI Ventures and WAVIA.

As heatwaves, droughts and floods make news around the world, Hillridge said in a post on LinkedIn, that the need has “never been greater” for new tools to help farmers and other climate-exposed industries build resilience to climate shocks and changing weather patterns.

According to a report from Insurance News, the startup was recently awarded a $277,362 grant by the NEAR Foundation to develop a blockchain-based parametric insurance platform for tropical storms, to be piloted on typhoons in Vietnam.

Hillridge offers affordable weather insurance in Australia against risks local insurers may not cover, such as drought, frost, heat and too much rain. The platform collects weather data, machine learning, and personalisation based on farmers’ production to provide insurance and self-executing contracts based on blockchain.

The platform generates a price in seconds and triggers automatic payout instructions if adverse weather occurs. This means policies can be delivered at scale within days.

According to Hillridge, for too long, insurance companies have forced farmers to take on the burden of bad weather, a risk completely out of the farmer’s control. “Traditional insurance plans covering weather perils often over-estimate the risk, which drive the price of premiums up. Buying is complicated. Making a claim is even more time-consuming, painful and uncertain. The whole process is messy, outdated, and inefficient. Farmers suffering from crop damage often wait months to recoup their losses.” This is the issue the startup is on a mission to change.

Dale Schilling, Hillridge CEO, said a “climate protection gap” has left hundreds of millions of people and businesses uninsured and exposed to the financial fall-out of more frequent extreme weather.

InsurTech Raincoat, which develops parametric embedded climate insurance products, recently raised $4.5m in a seed funding round led by Anthemis.

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