Sickweather, a Baltimore company that tracks illness across the country, has secured a partnership with The Weather Company.
The Weather Company’s official website Weather.com tracks and maps the progression cold and flu, in addition to its weather reports. In the past, the Cold and Flu Tracker has provided mapping based on data from the Centers for Disease Control. But this year, the Weather.com website and Weather Channelapp is integrating Sickweather’s crowdsourcing and social media-fueled tracking technology.
Sheri Bachstein, vice president of digital product operations said the The Weather Company is excited about the partnership with Sickweather.
“We were looking for a partner that could give us a little bit more of that social insight,” she said. “People are always talking about when they’re sick, what their symptoms are, and it builds that social empathy. We thought that was something important to add to our products to allow for more interaction between our users.”
Sickweather CEO Graham Dodge compares the concept to the popular transportation app Waze, which relies on crowd-sourced data to provide real-time information on traffic and directions. The Sickweather app aims to do the same for illness.
“This first time in many years that [Weather.com] has trusted anyone other than CDC with this,” Dodge said.”We’re thrilled that it’s Sickweather that is innovating that future.”
Dodge founded Sickweather in 2011 with two friends from high school. The three grew up in the Baltimore area and bought their first server on Craigslist for $400.
Now, the company has eight employees and servers are handling peak user requests of about 30,000 per second. The free Sickweather app has over 225,000 downloads so far.
“Long term, we see ourselves as a WebMD killer of sorts,” Dodge said.
The three founders funded the company on their own the first few years. But to date, Sickweather has also received seed and angel funding from investors like local Paul Palmieri, founder of Millennial Media, but Dodge said in total, it is less than $1 million. The company is currently run mostly using its own revenue and Dodge said he expects to break even for the year.
Dodge said Sickweather is still an early stage operation, but the founders have big goals moving forward.
He said within the next two years, the company plans to grow its user base enough to move away from using social media to help with its tracking and become more reliant on crowd-sourced data. And in the future, the goal is for Sickweather to become a go-to source for timely illness information.