Today, the importance of precise weather forecasting has increased more than ever. From transportation, agriculture, and management, to insurance, it plays a major role across various sectors. With newer innovations and technological advancements, weather forecasting is becoming much more accurate. Companies like Benchmark Labs are leveraging advanced technology in the best possible way for precise asset-specific weather forecasting.
Established in 2019, Benchmark Labs is a leading provider of AI and ML-based weather forecasting solutions for the agriculture, energy, and insurance sectors. For a long time, users were unsatisfied with the traditional solutions that provided gridded forecasts with average information of a wider area. Benchmark Labs was established based on the feedback from hundreds of such users who requested in-situ environmental forecasts and information to improve their operational margins.
Customized Environmental Forecasts
Unlike traditional approaches, Benchmark Labs offers asset-specific environmental forecasts to high-value asset managers to increase opportunity costs and operational margins. It provides environmental forecasts tailored to its customers’ locations instead of conditions at the county level or from a grid. The company provides the following solutions across the agriculture, energy, and insurance industry.
Benchmark’s patent-pending technology provides using in-situ data from the clients’ site, with which it can improve the accuracy of weather forecasts by as much as 50% relative to existing products. Better accuracy leads to better planning and reduced operational costs.
“From our suite of forecasting and analytics products, we are excited about our services supporting preserve and land managers to help them schedule controlled burns, and about our in-situ forecasts that allow farmers to manage water and energy resources more effectively,” says Dr. Carlos F. Gaitan (CEO and Co–founder of Benchmark Labs).
Led by a Veteran
Through his eminent career, Dr. Gaitan has gained profound experience in several sectors including artificial intelligence, machine learning, environmental science, fluid dynamics, civil engineering, etc. He pursued his doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) working with William Hsieh in machine learning applications in the environmental sciences.
Dr. Gaitan also holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Hydrosystems from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia). He is an elected member of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Artificial Intelligence Committee. He previously worked at early stage start-ups in the environmental science space including VP of Weather Forecasting and Head of Data Science at Arable Labs as well as a Research Scientist at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey. Currently, he spearheads the operations at Benchmark Labs and profoundly contributes to the company’s growth.
Contributors to the Growth
Dr. Gaitan mentions that the key highlight of BenchmarkLabs’s Journey was getting funding support from NextView Ventures, as part of their Everyday Economy Accelerator program. These funds helped the company bring to operations its Proof-of-Concept. Other important highlights include being accepted into prestigious programs like Plug and Play Insuretech Accelerator and Southern California Energy Innovation Network.
Recently, Benchmark was accepted into Techstars, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the World Trade Center’s MetroConnect program. Last year, the company was also supported by San Diego’s Economic Development Council and by UC Berkeley-Hass’ Cleantech to Market program. All these contributions allowed Benchmark Labs to serve paying customers across three continents.
Coping with the Challenges
Every business—big or small—frequently confronts a plethora of challenges. What separates successful businesses from unsuccessful ones is the way they manage to tackle these challenges. Benchmark Labs has also faced its share of challenges and managed to overcome those to reach where it is today.
To date, the toughest challenge for Benchmark Labs was dealing with the unexpected loss of one of its co-founders, Chris. The company, however, regrouped and focused on providing the best environment for its users in specialty crops, energy, and insurance. “Our forecasts and customer support honor his memory and vision for the company,” says Dr. Gaitan.
Awards and Recognition
For its innovative service offerings, Benchmark Labs has received numerous awards and recognitions. The company takes pride in receiving a highly-competitive and prestigious NSF-SBIR award from the National Science Foundation. Benchmark Labs has also collaborated with NASA on a project researching the impact of COVID on future forest fires over North America.
On Benchmark being ranked amongst the “30 Best companies to watch in 2022,”Dr. Gaitan says, “We appreciate the distinction and recognition as it is a testament to our traction and our accomplishments so far. We look forward to what the future holds as we will be announcing exciting news over 2022.”
Robust Company Culture
Company culture plays a very important role in the well-being of the employees and therefore the overall growth of the company. Benchmark Labs also emphasizes a robust company culture that resonates with its vision and mission. As a result-oriented organization, Benchmark Labs focuses on work-life balance and bringing joy to the users with its new and innovative products. The company believes in giving back to the community and has signed the give 1% pledge. It also provides work and internship opportunities to underserved communities.
Plans in the Pipeline
In the near future, Benchmark Labs will continue expanding to new markets and offerings its forecasts to users globally. With the help of San Diego World Trade Center’s MetroConnect expert assistance program, the company aims to create services and documentation in different languages to support its growing user base in North and South America, Europe, and Africa.
As Benchmark Labs closes its oversubscribed Seed Round, its clients will benefit from an increased focus on customer support and satisfaction. The company also aims to focus on the economic and ecological impact of its technology on its users’ operations and keep working with the users, academia, and government to bring the best available research to operations.
“To be a leader in the industry, you must understand your users first and create products with them and for them. It is important to solve a need for a problem that users must address.”