#99: Floodbase: Marvels of Parametric Insurance, Working with National Gov’ts, & Last Mile Climate Adaptation (Part 2)

Missed part 1? Click here!


Bessie Schwarz is Co-founder & CEO of Floodbase, a startup that provides flood tracking for disasters and insurance. Powered by satellites, machine learning, and on-the-ground observation, they’re on a mission to enable all communities to prepare & respond to climate disasters, by reducing the barriers to scientific info and capital. Few know it but 1.5B people face flood risk worldwide, with $15T of economic activity at risk of flooding by 2040. 

This is climate adaptation at its finest.

Bessie began her career ‘in the field’ as a field organizer, helping those most vulnerable to flooding, but saw the greatest possibilities was really in gathering satellite AND field data, to model the projected path of floods, and then communicating that out to local governments and eventually, reinsurers (more on what that is later).

Floodbase has been on a tear since 2015, currently monitoring for almost ½ a billion people across planet Earth.

We dive deep into…what exactly is climate adaptation? How did Bessie get into this space? Is flooding increasing? Why & how? What’s parametric flood insurance? How is Floodbase enabling all climate adaptation financing? And finally, what the hell is CLI-FI and why should you care?

This episode is particularly valuable for…big thinkers! Bessie is the quintessential founder who saw an incredible opportunity and took massive action to make it happen. If you’re looking for inspiration on launching a startup that has both impact and money in it, look no further. As well, this episode is valuable for future-focused nature-lovers who have wondered: how will we adapt to a changing world and survive it? Get some answers today.

Bottoms up! Please don’t forget to subscribe on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It keeps us producing new episodes for you 🙏🏼


Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple PodcastsStitcher, TuneIn, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Show Notes

  • [0:36] When you talk about using money to solve a problem now, with a country or a city, this is what you’re talking about? Parametric insurance.
  • [3:26] How parametric insurance allows banks to make loans
  • [4:34] How the finance vehicles (parametric insurance, reinsurance) are major tools for Floodbase
  • [5:13] How there’s a lot of private capital that can be distribute through these financial vehicles
  • [6:28] Why do you think a ‘for-profit way’ is the way to drive changes?
  • [8:43] How Floodbase needs to partner with local organizations to understand local context, to understand what resilience looks like
  • [10:10] How did you strategically align your investors?
  • [13:59] How you have to include ‘impact’ in the ‘product-market-impact’ fit formula
  • [14:45] What does the investor landscape look like moving forward?
  • [18:50] What advice do you have for someone starting a climate tech company (or non-profit) today?
  • [22:01] How Floodbase defined a concrete and literal ‘win’ and what it looked like in the future
  • [22:56] What’s the next big step change in climate action or sustainability?
  • [24:19] Rapid mayhem questions!
  • [27:30] Climate change is so big, people often feel helpless in helping. What is the equivalent of what a listener can do?
  • [29:45] Where can we find you?

Links From Episode

How might the future of flood risk management affect your neighborhood or city? Share in the comments below!

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