In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, killing thousands of people and leaving tens of thousands more homeless. Tornadoes ravaged the Midwest this spring, leveling homes and businesses and contributing to the Mississippi river floodsthat are now drowning cities in Louisiana and Missouri. Weather is one of least controllable, and predictable, elements in our lives. But what if we had a top-of-the-line system that predicted and tracked these natural disasters better than any weather network to date?
The search for such a system was the inspiration for MyWeather, a startup venture launched on Monday by Weather Central in partnership with Lynn Forester de Rothschild and her husband, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. As founders of the private investment company, E.L. Rothschild LLC, Lady de Rothschild, who is the CEO, and the chairman, Sir Evelyn, have parlayed their entrepreneurial talents into yet another startup. They have been involved in developing digital products like cutting-edge apps for the iPhone and Android (and soon for the iPad). And now, the site, MyWeather.com.
When it comes to delivering location-specific forecasts, MyWeather is six times more accurate than its competitors, its developers say. Its digital package offers users personalized weather reports based on their lifestyles and interests. “It has a unique ability to track severe weather as it approaches down to the minute, and to the street address,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild.
E.L. Rothschild signed the deal with Weather Central in January, intent on expanding the company’s business in the enterprise, consumer, and mobile markets. The partners capitalized on the enterprise market even before the new venture had been launched. Weather Central recently developed an avant-garde, money-saving technology that will allow auto insurance providers to warn their customers via SMS text messaging of major storms in their areas. Car owners will thus know when to postpone trips, or to pull off the road when a hailstorm is approaching. As for the consumer market, the venture also is working with media and Internet partners like NDrive, BeatTheTraffic.com, and W Cities to attract users across a wider spectrum.
After working as a corporate lawyer and telecommunications entrepreneur, Lynn Forester de Rothschild founded E.L. Rothschild with her husband as a holding company in 2003. Among other things, their company managed investments in startup enterprises in India, where they saw promise in the burgeoning market, particularly the agricultural sector. The Rothschilds learned that India is the largest producer of fruits in the world and the second-largest producer of vegetables—yet only exports 1 percent of its goods. So they developed FieldFresh, a business that exports fruits and vegetables from India to markets throughout Europe and Asia, while making fresh produce more available to India’s middle class.
“It has a unique ability to track severe weather as it approaches down to the minute, and to the street address.”
Determined to make a difference on an even larger scale, the Rothschilds have invested in the growth of MyWeather to provide what they call the best-quality products to consumers and most accurate forecasts to people around the world. Said Sir Evelyn: “As weather becomes more extreme around the planet, with greater human and financial ramifications, we believe that Weather Central will play a major role in mitigating damage and improving lives.”
Lizzie Crocker is an editorial assistant at The Daily Beast. She has written for NYLON, NYLON Guys, and thehandbook.co.uk, a London-based website.