When’s the last time you ate an avocado? Drank a cup of coffee? Wore cotton? What do melons, apples, cranberries, and broccoli have in common?
As bees gather pollen and nectar from the male flowers to feed their colonies, they fertilize female flowers in the process, allowing fruits and plants to grow. Without bees, 30% of the world’s crops suffer detrimental yield decreases, and in some cases, cease to exist — including many of the healthiest and tastiest foods out there. Unfortunately, this reality could hit us much sooner than we realize.
Just this past winter, US Beekeepers lost 40% of their honeybee colonies. Driving these massive losses is the Varroa Mite, a lethal parasite that infects hives and decimates colonies, as well as disease, severe climate shifts, and pesticides. This growing epidemic has caused pollination costs to triple since 2004, honey prices to increase by 50% since 2010, and threatens food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection. Last year the UN declared May 20th “World Bee Day” to raise public awareness of our dependence on bees. How do we save the bees? Or more accurately, how do we save ourselves?
From drone pollination to genetically engineering parasite-resistant bees and sensing and monitoring solutions for beehives, a number of start-ups have emerged in the past several years to address this growing problem. In our view, these approaches have several limitations. Drones lack accuracy and over-pollinate, producing genetically engineered bees is significantly more costly than growing bees naturally, and while sensing and monitoring solutions give beekeepers visibility, the real issue is labor; beekeepers can only service 1–2 bee yards per day, and are often responsible for 30–40 per month. Thus, if more than 1–2 yards are infected at once, visibility is not enough. The global beekeeping industry is dying (literally) for a solution that can automate the beekeeping function. Enter Beewise.
Beewise has developed a robotic, autonomous beehive that reduces manual labor by 90%, reduces Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) by 80%, and improves profit margins by more than 50%. (Image) Powered by AI, computer vision, and advanced robotics, BeeWise’s Beehome grows and sustains healthy bees, optimizes honey production, and guarantees pollination. The technology underlying today’s beehives is virtually identical to the state-of-the art in 1850. By completely redesigning the classic beehive, Beewise provides beekeepers with a solution that increases their revenues dramatically, reduces costs, a materially different value proposition than any of the alternatives. If 30% of the global food supply relies on a 150 year-old technology (the white wooden beehive we’re all accustomed to), imagine the financial and societal impact of bringing the beehive into the modern era!
Led by Saar Safra, a serial entrepreneur with significant US operational experience, the Beewise team is well-rounded and multidisciplinary, including hardware and biological expertise, giving them a competitive advantage relative to other companies approaching the problem via software-only. With 100m beehives in the world currently, Beewise will leverage its first-mover advantage and 18 pending patent claims to address a $14.4b market. And with a few additional use cases (yet to be announced) Beewise has virtually limitless financial potential. But this investment goes beyond limitless financial potential.
Recently the bee was declared the most important living being on the planet. Without bees, agricultural ecosystems will collapse, causing massive job losses, food insecurity, malnutrition, and the quality of life for all humans will deteriorate. Given the above, we are excited to announce the addition of Beewise to the lool family and wish them only the best of luck in this incredibly important and meaningful journey!