BeeHero raises $42 million to track bee health, help farmers boost crop yields
Investment led by Convent Capital to help Israeli startup expand R&D activities, global expansion; brings total amount of funds raised by BeeHero to $64 million
Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.
BeeHero, a developer of smart hive sensor technology to track the health of bees and help farmers boost crop yields, said Thursday that it has raised $42 million in funding to further invest in R&D operations and expand its geographical footprint.
The series B funding round, led by Dutch investment firm Convent Capital, follows an uptick in the use of the startup’s precision pollination platform, which has turned BeeHero into the world’s largest pollination provider with more than 100,000 acres under management, the company said in a statement. The latest investment brings the company’s total funding to $64 million after raising $19 million in October last year.
BeeHero, which said that its agritech is used by growers, beekeepers, agronomists, and ag retailers across the US, has recently started its expansion into Australia, Europe, South Africa, and South America.
Founded in Israel in 2017 by a group of veteran beekeepers, biologists, and data scientists, BeeHero has developed a platform based on sensors which are placed inside hives in crop fields to remotely monitor and track the health of bees. The sensors collect data on a variety of parameters such as temperature, sound, humidity or the queen’s nervousness level, which can be a signal of distress in the hive. The data is analyzed with the help of machine-learning algorithms and the use of artificial intelligence to alert beekeepers to actionable insights and disorders in real-time during pollination cycles.
Headquartered in California with research and development in Israel, BeeHero claims to have built the world’s biggest bee and pollination dataset in recent years.
“Our platform is a crucial tool farmers can rely on to improve their crop yields,” said BeeHero CEO Omer Davidi. “This latest round of funding will help us continue to support the agricultural industry as it faces some of its toughest challenges yet, and is another step towards building a Sustainable Agriculture Ecosystem.”
According to BeeHero the decline in recent years of the bee population poses a threat to global food security as 70% of all major food crops worldwide rely on the pollination by the insects. This comes at a time when the global population is predicted to grow to almost 10 billion by 2050, which will need to be matched with an increase in global food production.
“BeeHero’s mission is to deliver pollination accountability for commercial crop growers, by leveraging big data analytics and machine learning to help them mitigate pollination risk,” Davidi said, “thus allowing them to focus on producing more food, securely, and sustainably.”
Other investors that joined the funding round include General Mills Inc., Cibus Capital, Rabobank, MS&AD, Firstime, J-Ventures, Plug&Play, iAngels, Gaingels, and UpWest.
“BeeHero provides farmers and beekeepers the opportunity to optimize the pollination process while simultaneously maintaining the welfare of bees,” said Adrian Vrij, principal at Convent Capital. “This conservation of pollinators in combination with BeeHero’s precision pollination works to ensure agricultural productivity and output, essential to sustaining our food system.”