Company name: Coastal Risk Consulting
Concept: Coastal Risk Consulting creates cloud-based technologies to help a billion coastal residents in the U.S. and around the world get climate-ready and storm-safe.
Story: It’s easy to see a need for this South Florida tech startup’s service, especially when last Tuesday’s torrential deluge flooded dozens of homes and businesses in the Miami area. Coastal Risk Consulting identifies an individual property’s vulnerability to flooding from extreme weather and tides, storm surge, ground water inundation and rising sea levels.
In late 2014, Dr. Leonard Berry, former provost of Florida Atlantic University and director of its Center for Environmental Studies, and Albert Slap, a nationally recognized environmental lawyer and adjunct law professor at Florida International University, teamed up. Given increasing risks to coastal populations from storms, flooding and sea-level rise, they formed Coastal Risk Consulting to provide actionable intelligence about flood risks to homeowners, businesses and governments worldwide and make it fast, accurate and affordable. Both men had recently retired.
With seed capital provided by Slap, they brought together scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner, and software engineers to create a cloud-based system for flood- and climate-risk modeling. By the end of 2015, they launched floodscores.com.
Today, the company also offers fee-for-service flood and climate-risk consulting using its proprietary technology. Clients include the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, the villages of Key Biscayne and Pinecrest, the Cleveland Clinic, TetraTech, Battelle, Atlantic Broadband, Grey Door Luxury Homes and others. The startup is raising capital for expansion.
Stanley Young, president of Grey Door Luxury Homes in Fort Lauderdale, hired Coastal Risk Consulting to undertake a study of a home his company was building on a street prone to flooding. Coastal Risk provided him with a report that demonstrated through its flood models that the new elevation of the home meant that it would not be affected by potential/predicted sea-level rises in the next 50 years, Young said.
“They are riding on the wave of current media attention to the risks of climate change. They have a very practical tool that can be used to assess the economic and socioeconomic risk of climate change,” Young said. “I think the work they do is critical for us all to gain a true understanding of the risks of climate change.”
Management team: President and co-founder Albert Slap; CFO Rajiv Krishnan; Vice President of Government Consulting and co-founder Leonard Berry; Vice President of Science Brian Soden; Chief Technology Officer John Waddell.
No. of employees: 15
Financing: Initial seed funding of $150,000. Closed on two $500,000 angel rounds; the second closed in March. Seeking to raise $5 million this year.
Recent milestones: Adding the City of Miami Beach as a customer; adding a $7.5 billion California real-estate investment trust as a customer; successfully completing the sea level rise vulnerability assessment and adaption alternatives study for the Village of Key Biscayne.
Biggest startup challenge: Coastal Risk Consulting’s innovative technology fulfills a critical need for the banking, insurance and real estate markets, but all three markets have been slow to adopt property-specific flood risk modeling for differing reasons, Slap said. “It has been a challenge for our startup to bring to these markets a fuller understanding of the benefits of property specific, flood and climate risk modeling.”
Next step: Coastal Risk is making strong progress in all of its revenue areas. “Our next step is to close on Round A funding later this year, so that we can hire a robust sales team to complement our world-class science team,” Slap said. “Our strategy is to continue to make recurring revenue progress by integrating our technology in the banking, insurance and real estate sectors.”
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