BeeHero raises US$42M to drive “precision pollination” platform
06 Dec 2022 --- BeeHero has completed an oversubscribed US$42 million series B funding round to accelerate the growth and adoption of its Precision Pollination Platform. The funding will provide investment in BeeHero’s R&D, essential for generating more data and insight into the sustainable agriculture ecosystem it is building to address the issue of global food security.
To date, BeeHero has raised a total of US$64 million in funding.
“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. Thus allowing them to focus on producing more food, securely and sustainably,” says Omer Davidi, CEO of BeeHero.
“We have seen firsthand,” Davidi continues. “The challenges our growers face from insufficient and inadequate pollination. To offset this, more and more farmers are adopting new technologies to meet the nutritional needs of our growing population.”
Beehero’s Precision Pollination as a Service Platform is a crucial tool farmers can rely on to improve their crop yields, the company asserts.
“This funding will help us continue to support the agricultural industry as it faces some of its toughest challenges yet, and is another step toward building a Sustainable Agriculture Ecosystem,” adds Davidi.
Lead investor Convent Capital was joined by General Mills, Cibus Capital (formerly ADM Capital), Rabobank, MS&AD, Firstime, J-Ventures, Plug&Play, iAngels, Gaingels and UpWest, among others.
Crops in demand
The global population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, which means more food will have to be produced than has been produced over the last 10,000 years combined.
This will require a 70% increase in the global food supply. Already nearing the limits of available arable land, with only a modest 4% increase in acreage available over the next 30 years, this increase in productivity must come from improved yield.
As noted by the UN’s FAO, the demands of feeding a growing global population are compounded by the increasing bee mortality rates that threaten the production of 75% of the world’s food crops, including most fruit, vegetable, seed, nut and oil crops, that are vital for nutritional security.
BeeHero’s research into bee health and welfare and managed pollination play a pivotal role in addressing this problem.
“As an Impact Growth Fund that solely focuses on the AgriFood sector, supporting BeeHero falls right within our sweet spot,” notes Adriaan Vrij, principal at Amsterdam-based Convent Capital.
“BeeHero provides farmers and beekeepers the opportunity to optimize the pollination process while simultaneously maintaining the welfare of bees,” he outlines. “This conservation of pollinators in combination with BeeHero’s precision pollination works to ensure agricultural productivity and output, essential to sustaining our food system.”
“BeeHero’s Precision Pollination as a Service is an exceptional business proposition. We are proud to have led this round and are looking forward to taking BeeHero to the next level.”
In similar developments amid rising pressure around animal welfare, Dutch plant-based ingredients producer Fooditive recently revealed it is on track to begin large-scale production trials of the world’s first 100% bee-free honey next year.
Meanwhile, The Single Origin Food Co secured US$1.1 million in seed funding, which will support the launch of Vegan Un-Honey, a plant-based honey substitute.
BeeHero has invested several years in building the world’s largest bee and pollination dataset.
The company is working to understand more about how this data can help to optimize further pollination, the crucial biological process that most crops depend on. Notably, BeeHero’s platform provides farmers with Precision Pollination as a Service by enabling commercial beekeepers to track and monitor their apiaries remotely.
Moving forward, the company plans to integrate new platform tools to further support growers with an even more accurate, real-time view of their crop’s development, leading to improved decision-making and, ultimately, better crop outcomes.
“BeeHero is bringing breakthrough innovation to an essential but often overlooked part of the food ecosystem, pollinators,” adds Johnny Tran, managing director for 301 INC, General Mills.
“As an industry, we need innovation in all parts of the value chain, and BeeHero is using data to reimagine the classically analog connection between growers, beekeepers and bees. At 301 INC, we exist to elevate founders who are building the food system of tomorrow. We proudly support BeeHero’s efforts to build pollination transparency, efficiency and resiliency through technology.”
Meanwhile, Alastair Cooper, head of venture at Cibus Capital, says BeeHero is a good example of how technology can bring value to all stakeholders in an agricultural ecosystem, supporting bees, beekeepers and farmers and ultimately delivering more sustainable and healthier foods to consumers.
Efficient food systems
With nearly 100 thousand acres of high-value crops pollinated with BeeHero’s Precision Pollination as a Service, BeeHero now serves growers, beekeepers, agronomists and agricultural retailers across the US.
Recently the company has expanded into Australia, Europe, South Africa and South America.
The company has defined its position regarding the health and welfare of bees.
This is demonstrated in its partnership with the USDA to combat the spread of Vespa Mandarinia (commonly known as the Northern Giant Hornet). Among other initiatives, BeeHero is also working with The World Bee Project to support more pollinators and biodiversity.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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