A Kickstarter success has just closed its seed funding round, raising $375,000 to continue its work of measuring the wind using a network of smartphones with a low-cost, electronics-free hardware accessory combined with a mobile app. Danish startup Vaavud‘s new funding comes from a group of angel investors, and according to Vaavud CEO Thomas Helms, it’ll help them expand at a faster rate than before, and offer more product features to its hobbyist audience, as well as build out more services that appeal to business and enterprise.
The startup builds a tiny wind meter that consists of just a couple pieces of plastic that fit into your smartphone’s headphone jack. The accessory communicates with your phone via soundwaves, which are translated by Vaavud’s app into a windspeed measurement. Those measurements are then collected and analyzed by the app, providing the company with a comprehensive look at wind speed measurements around the world.
This seems like a bizarre use case for a smartphone, but Vaavud has already attracted interested corporate clients from the agriculture industry. A joint project with the Swedish agricultural coop Lantmännen Maskin AB will see the startup build a custom solution for measuring wind speed that’s designed to comply with new, tighter safety requirements in Sweden around the use of pesticides for crops.
Helms tells me that Vaavud currently sees around 4,000 new measurements per week, and with spring arriving in many places where the device is popular, that number is rising quickly. They’ve also hired a new PhD in computer science to help them work on their Android app, as well as to refine their algorithms to help filter out measurements taken indoors,or artificial ones like those generated by people blowing into their Vaavud wind meters just to check them out.
Kickstarter success comes in all shapes and sizes, and the Vaavud wind meter is a perfect example of that. It’s a crazy invention, and one that you might have thought only had limited appeal with a small group of hobbyists, but it’s also proving its worth with big organizations who need a very specific problem solved with affordable, portable hardware.