Smart Hives and Big Data: Bee-tech is big business

Bees might look cute and fuzzy, but those leading the bee-tech industry mean serious business and are raising millions in startup funding.

ApisProtect is an Ireland-based startup that develops smart beehive sensors which gather data from hives around the globe that lets beekeepers know exactly what is going on with their colonies. They raised $1,8m last year to become the most backed bee business in the world.
Now monitoring the health of over 20 million bees in hives across Europe and North America, ApisProtect brings the power of advanced sensors and machine learning technology into the hive to deliver a 24/7 early warning system so beekeepers can give at-risk hives immediate attention and improve bee health.

The demand for bee tech doesn’t just come from the honey market (which is worth a sweet $2.4 billion). As mentioned in the previous blog post, the pollination trade, where farmers rent hives to pollinate their crops, is also booming. 

Israeli startup BeeHero helps farmers optimise pollination by combining sophisticated machine learning algorithms with low-cost sensors to stimulate full output potential during peak pollination cycles. A leader in terms of numbers, BeeHero has a platform which monitors a whopping 20,000 hives, and around a billion bees. By tracking and optimizing pollination in real-time, BeeHero ensures hyper-efficient pollinators that can increase crop yields by 30% on average.


A BeeHero Smart Hive sensor

Meanwhile, Bulgarian startup Pollenity has raised $1,2m in funding and is focusing on introducing the era of digital beekeeping to smaller beekeepers and hobbyists. Their BeeBots turn every hive into a smart hive by by collecting valuable data that can be shared with advisors and customers. 

A Pollenity Beebot smart hive monitor kit

The startup hopes collaboration with a wide range of research partners will secure its place as a leader. It is working with the University of Western Australia to make beekeeping attractive for young Australians and with Dutch firm Hiber to connect its smart hives via satellite. It has also teamed up with Hawaiian crypto project BuzzCoin to put bees on the blockchain — the idea being that beekeepers who use sustainable practises are rewarded with digital tokens they can trade in for real money.

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