Pluvi.On: From the Favelas to a startup success story

Pluvi.On: From the Favelas to a startup success story

Storms and floods have always affected the population of Brazil and claim numerous lives every year. The startup Pluvi.on from São Paulo does not leave those at risk in the rain.


Diogo Tolezano picks up the phone. He apologizes that Brazil is always a little bit late, that is why it is polite, he smiles. In general, he has a lot on his ears at the moment, and the floods of the past few weeks have had a hard time, he throws in after a short pause. However, contrary to initial suspicions, Diogo is not a farmer, but the founder of a start-up called Pluvi.On. In quick words, he reports about his dream, starting difficulties, machine learning and Saint Peter. He talks about his passion to support people and companies through weather forecasts.

Smart City São Paulo

São Paulo: Metropolis of the south, largest city in Brazil, second largest metropolitan area south of the equator, two-river city. Their challenges are just as varied as these attributes: since 1970 the population has more than doubled from five to twelve million. The city has spread unchecked in recent decades, urban planning and infrastructure expansion lag behind. The consequences are large-scale favelas, the slums on the outskirts, where the poorest sections of the population live in a confined space. Here, during the rainy months of the Brazilian ‘Primavera’, in January and February, the two city rivers Rio Tietê and Rio Pinheiros once again overflowed their banks and carried large amounts of mud with them. 70 deaths were recorded in the region. Due to the high density of buildings in the delta area, it is difficult to remove the sludge masses, which is why 30,000 to 40,000 people lost their homes. Among other factors, the extent and the repeated failure to prepare for these disasters are mainly due to inaccurate weather forecasts.

Pluvi.On's mission and story

From medium-sized companies to large conglomerates, numerous Brazilian companies have already become aware of Pluvi.Ons accurate solution. To date, forty percent of customers come from the logistics sector, thirty percent work in the agricultural sector, and the remaining thirty percent are spread across other sectors of the economy. The young team offers these clients a fully functional license solution that includes the Pluvi station, the associated software and the user dashboard. In addition, Pluvi.On is also supported by a large Brazilian telecommunications operator. This provides the infrastructure, produces the Pluvi stations, which are very cost-intensive due to the high import prices of the materials, and provides contacts to their existing, broad customer segment. Additional funding in the amount of the equivalent of around 400,000 euros comes from a pot of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. However, the start-up team, which currently consists of a colorful mix of meteorologists, designers, engineers and data scientists, is pursuing a very different matter of the heart: Pluvi.On was founded on the model of the Japanese citizen science network Safecast, the Manufactured car mirrors to be attached, to be able to demonstrate the extent of radiation exposure after the nuclear disaster of Fukushima. Pluvi.On follows this idea by providing the poor population ’in their’ city with an easy-to-understand, free and always accessible weather warning solution, the so-called ‘St. Peter bot ’.        

The ChatBot "St. Peter"

Saint Simon Peter, in Portuguese San Pedro, is considered a gatekeeper and guardian of the weather in Christianity. In the future, this will bring closer to the largely Roman Catholic population of the city of Pluvi.Ons weather chatbot. He can be added as a friend via Facebook and the Telegram news service, which is widely used in Brazil, and subsequently sends weather warnings. These warnings are understandably prepared by the self-recorded data of the young company. In this way, San Pedro refrains from communicating simple information such as the probability and amount of rain and lovingly packs it into friendly recommendations. The online version of the saint can advise you to pack an umbrella or, in more serious cases, to bring furniture to safety from flooding. As a result, the solution combines simplicity and practical relevance - many residents have cell phones with little storage space and therefore cannot install additional apps - with the mission of saving lives as well as belongings.

Pluvi.On & OiER

The young start-up has already received international attention thanks to its extraordinary mission: the incubator programs Facebooks Estacao Hack Sao Paulo, Google for Startups and Red Bull Basement are among the first sponsors and not only bring networking and awareness, but also technical support such as the use of cloud storage and computing. Pluvi.On was also the first start-up to become part of the United 4 United Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC) and OiER. A part of the team traveled to the Smart City LAB opening in Vienna to be included in our initiative, which strengthened their ties with the German-speaking countries. Already now, people are thinking beyond the Brazilian area.

Read the full article in German at FORBES