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Romanian Apiary Book raises €200K to Develop a Hive Monitoring System to Track Bee Health

@Unsplash
@Unsplash

Apiary Book is a Romanian Agritech company that has been developing a platform for management of apiaries, monitoring of beehives, and data analysis of bee colonies and environmental factors affecting their health. The company has officially raised €200K of its initial €170K target through SeedBlink, the largest equity crowdfunding platform in Southeast Europe. 

Apiary Book’s pre-money valuation is €1.25M. The company is expected to sell about 12% of its shares, which, given the results so far, means that the company will roughly be valued at €1.67M at the end of the campaign. While GapMinder leads the new funding round with an investment of €50K, Apiary Book already has 27 confirmed investors. The raised funding will be used for the development of the product line of the company, as well as for expanding the company and attracting 50K active users. 

Apiary Book develops a hive monitoring hardware system, software analytics, and a range of tools for detecting problems that could affect the normal functioning of bee families. The platform also provides beekeeping associations with a communication solution that they can use to register and manage their list of members. Apiary Book offers a unitary solution to increasing the number of bees by helping beekeepers overcome challenges of modern beekeeping with the help of data collection and analysis. According to the company, for the past 25 years, the number of bee colonies has been decreasing progressively and this has caused a significant loss of pollination services, thus having a negative ecological and economic effect on wild plant diversity, large-scale ecosystem stability, crop production, food security, and human welfare. For the last several years, the mortality rate of bee populations in Europe has increased from 5-10% to 15-25% or even 30% in some Nordic countries. Various factors such as climate change, severe winters, destruction of natural habitats, and pesticides have influenced the percentage of deaths.

Modern tracking of bees for quicker problem-solving

The Apiary Book platform has both a desktop and an Android version. As noted by the company, the Android version was downloaded by over 160K beekeepers from all over the world while the platform has over 22K active users. Apiary Book features several functions. Firstly, Apiary IN is Apiary Book’s platform interface for remote beehive monitoring that is available for companies that sell hive scales and monitoring sensors that are transmitting data using GSM. Apiary Book also offers data analysis that can be presented to an individual client or a group of beekeepers from a particular geographical sphere. Apiary Report is another division of Apiary, which offers a selection of tools that enable beekeepers to detect changes in the status of bee families and connects them to farmers from the region and local authorities to address problems and coordinate strategies.

The Beekeeping Market in Numbers

The estimated number of beekeepers is between 5 and 6 million, whereas the number of beehives worldwide for 2018 was over 92M. As the average annual production of honey is around 1.85 tons, Apiary Books have quite a market to address. The company does not only target beekeepers, but also beekeeping associations and companies, as well as producers of beekeeping equipment and supplies. The value of pollination performed by bees is estimated at €20B in Europe and €153B worldwide, which means that the problem is of international importance.

Expanding the Beekeeping Network

Apiary Books plans to increase the number of team members of the company by 5 people with the money raised. The company would also like to gain more active users and reach 50K engaged users. Another goal of Apiary Books is to achieve a monthly payment rate of €20K. In 2021, the company would like to increase its presence in Europe, North America (USA, Canada), and Australia. An expansion to new big markets (Brazil, India, China) is planned for 2022.

With the help of the new funding, Apiary Books will soon be launching 3 new products. To begin with, its wireless beehive monitoring hardware system (Apiary Sense) is expected to come out to provide information on bee colony status automatically by transmitting data from hive scale and sensors such as internal/external humidity and temperature while using autonomous energy (battery and solar panel). The Apiary Marketplace is another product under the hat of Apiary that will enable the commercialization of apiary products to end consumers or wholesale buyers and will support the sale of beekeeping equipment and supplies to beekeepers. The Apiary Academy, which is the third product to be launched by the company, will be an eLearning platform that will improve knowledge about bees, raise awareness regarding the threats affecting the health of honeybees and offer valuable management practices to beekeepers from all over the world.

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