Content Hub

Jumping into the private sector
Hover over image to zoom
or click to view full size

Jumping into the private sector

The challenges and opportunities of developing a weather-related business

The latest free webinar in our series on the business opportunities of extreme weather & climate change focuses on the challenges - and opportunities - facing people who have left the public and academic sectors to set up a weather business.

In particular, we'll investigate those challenges associated with raising funds, developing a strong product/service offering, building a management team, recruitment of key people, and, of course, identifying and understanding your customers and what it is they actually need.

As well as two people who've made such a transition, our expert panel includes an expert on the opportunities in the insurance & investment sectors, and a seasoned corporate finance professional with a strong track record in science based start-ups. Our chair can best be described as a serial weather business entrepreneur.

Our target audiences include those who are seeking to start up a weather related business, those assesing the potential for diversifying into the weather space, and those who wish to better understand the business opportunities being created by climate change.


Chair: Dr. Jan Dutton, CEO Prescient Weather Ltd 


  • Dr. Carlos Gaitan, CTO & Co-founder, Benchmark Labs Inc
  • Dr. Josh Hacker, Earth and Ocean Systems, Co-founder, Jupiter
  • Rebecca Leonardi, Managing Partner, WX Risk Global
  • Alan Richards, Partner & Co-founder, West Hill Capital 

Dr. Jan F. Dutton - CEO, Prescient Weather Ltd

Dr. Carlos Gaitan - CEO & Co-founder, Benchmark Labs Inc 

Dr. Josh Hacker - Earth and Ocean Systems, Co-founder, Jupiter

Rebecca Leonardi - Managing Partner, Wx Risk Global

Alan Richards - Partner & Co-founder, West Hill Capital

Dr. Jan F. Dutton

Dr. Jan F. Dutton

CEO, Prescient Weather Ltd

Jan is the creator of the World Climate Service seasonal/subseasonal forecast application and holds a PhD in Meteorology and an MBA from Penn State University in the United States.

His career spans over 20 years in the weather information industry.

Dr. Carlos Gaitan

Dr. Carlos Gaitan

CEO & Co-founder, Benchmark Labs Inc 

Dr. Gaitan is the Co-founder and CEO of Benchmark Labs. He did his doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) working with William Hsieh in machine learning applications in the environmental sciences. He also holds a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and a Master 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, and as Research Scientist for the South Central Climate Science Center at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey.

Dr. Josh Hacker

Dr. Josh Hacker

Earth and Ocean Systems, Co-founder, Jupiter

Former NCAR Director Joint Numerical Testbed Program, Science Lead for National Security Applications Program. Along with university partners, led the containerization work in the NSF-funded Big Weather Web project. Expert in weather and climate applications for DoD and NOAA

Jupiter is the market leader for climate risk analytics in key industries, including insurance, banking, asset management, real estate, energy, utilities and power, oil and gas, manufacturing, chemicals, mining, retail, agriculture, the public sector, and NGOs.

Rebecca Leonardi

Rebecca Leonardi

Managing Partner, Wx Risk Global

Rebecca Leonardi is one of the original founders and partners of Wx Risk Global, an international weather risk solutions company that provides risk transfer products and services to individuals, organizations, cities and nations worldwide.

Rebecca has years of experience in entrepreneurial partnerships over multiple business types as well as various board positions with non-profit foundations. As Principle, Rebecca is responsible for managing the business relationships between the corporate client base, the OTC derivative counter parties, and their various finance-related business partners. Rebecca also manages the company’s weather-related investment fund, Weather Logix, LP. The Fund executes a market neutral strategy designed to capitalize on the pricing inefficiencies within the over-the-counter weather derivatives market when significantly anomalous weather patterns are detected.

Alan Richards

Alan Richards

Partner & Co-founder, West Hill Capital

Alan has more than 30 years’ experience in investment analysis, corporate finance and venture capital with companies including Barclays, HSBC and Maple Securities before co-founding West Hill in 2003.

West Hill invests around £60 million annually in early stage companies across a range of sectors including software, digital platforms, fintech, cleantech, medtech and bio-industrial.

View Contributor Profile Back To Main Content

You may also like

Business opportunities of climate change - Episode 2

Climate Change Special Report: Episode 2 - the business opportunities of climate change models and analytics.

Various contributors

Extreme weather, climate change & health

The threats & challenges facing public health from extreme weather & climate change, and the potential opportunities for business, academia and the public sector to help mitigate and manage them.

Various contributors