Founder and Managing Partner, Ignitia
Challenge: How do we create a more inclusive, productive, and sustainable economic future for all?
Ignitia provides highly accurate forecasts for small scale farmers via SMS. We developed a weather model specifically calibrated for the tropics, resulting in forecasts that are twice as accurate as global models (~84%). We get these forecasts to farmers by partnering with telcos to send GPS-specific daily forecasts, as well as monthly and seasonal predictions. The message is sent in a simple text-lite format, and can be received on any mobile phone (no smartphone required). Farmers don’t have to pay a large sum upfront, instead they subscribe via their telco and pay in micro-installments from their existing mobile credit. It costs just $0.03/message, adding up to just 1%-2% of a farmer’s total costs for a ROI. Last year in Ghana, ~80,000 farmers subscribed and we had less than 3% churn over the season. Since our system is also 97% automated, it’s easily scalable across countries.
Liisa Petrykowska is the founder and Managing Director of Ignitia. She came up with the idea for Ignitia while she was a climate researcher at the University of Washington. She realized that while the tropics had access to a plethora of high quality satellite data, weather forecasts for the region were notoriously inaccurate. Liisa then moved to Ghana and built a team of high-caliber experts in order to create a highly accurate tropical weather forecasting model. She is currently is in charge of the overall strategic directions of the company and leads partnership and sales efforts. Before Ignitia she obtained a MSc in Physics and Meteorology.