BeeHero’s precision pollination technology has received fresh financing of $19 million
Precision agriculture can take a back seat to precision apiculture, which is what all forward-thinking farmers are thinking about. BeeHero has seen rapid growth since its launch and seed round last year, and the new $19 million in investment will allow it to expand beyond its original markets and find new uses for its one-of-a-kind data collecting from thousands of active honeybee colonies.
The business equips hives with IoT technology, allowing them to watch their bees’ movements and health in real time and identify mite infections before they spread too far. The end outcome is increased agricultural yields, healthier hives, and fewer tractor trips.
Omer Davidi, CEO and co-founder of BeeHero, said, “The way pollination is done now is hard.” “There’s a hive scarcity; you get a box, have no idea what’s inside, and hope for the best.” This is not a good approach to plan your pollination strategy. You must be aware of the stresses, as well as the diversity of inputs and outputs… However, doing so in older, less data-intensive sectors is difficult.”
Despite the difficulties of essentially starting during the frantic months of the epidemic, Davidi noted that after they found out how to interact with farmers, many of whom are slowly but steadily adopting contemporary solutions, their momentum was phenomenal. They’re suspicious of the advantages, and they’re right to accuse company founders who offer rapid fixes (through video chats and virtual demos, no less) of being charlatans.
“Originally, I said, ‘Guys, we have to tell everyone we’ve raised sunflowers or cashews by 100%!’ However, you must exercise caution. For generations, they’ve done it the same way. When you appear out of nowhere and declare, “I’ve figured it all out,” people are taken aback.
The $15 million A round comes from ADM Capital, Rabo Food and Agri Innovation Fund, iAngels, FirstTime, J-Ventures, UpWest, Entrée Capital, Good Company, the Arison Group and Gaingels. The company has also won $4 million in grants from the European Commission, the BIRD Foundation and the Israel Innovation Authority.
The primary goal of the raise is to expand beyond the U.S. and almonds. The plan is to expand first to berries, avocados and apples, then to crops like sunflower and soybeans. Even greenhouse crops like tomatoes might be possible. Australia and Europe are both on the list, but it depends on partnerships and other factors, though at least the money’s there.
Davidi is hoping that the growing bee activity database will prove an invaluable resource in other ways, though he was realistic about the stage they’re in.
“As a data scientist, I can tell you: we know nothing,” he admitted. But “we” means the industry in general, and BeeHero is building by far the largest collection of bee-adjacent data out there. Knowing how hives and pollination react to different weather patterns, crops and planting styles, pesticides, invasive species (they’re watching for murder hornets) and a dozen other factors would be tremendously valuable and the company’s work is only beginning.
“For example, we’re only now finding that bees can predict rainfall 30 minutes ahead of time,” Davidi explained. Why? How? They’ve made educated estimates, but whatever the case, it may be helpful information for farmers — and likely apiculture in general.
Research collaborations like the World Bee Project and Japan’s Ministry of Culture, among others in academia and beyond, demonstrate that this treasure of data has untapped potential. With pollination being so important to the world’s food supply and bees facing an increasing number of threats, any information we can get is welcome.
BeeHero technology will prove to be a boon to flower industry as it has developed new pollination technology and will prove out to benefit to World Bee Project also.My best wishes to them.Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes
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