Monday 10 December 2018

Irish firm buzzing after e-hive innovation lands it sweet €1.5m investment

Sweet idea: Fiona Edwards-Murphy, founder of ApisProtect, shows Prince Charles bees and hive sensors at UCC in June. Picture: Frank McGrath
Sweet idea: Fiona Edwards-Murphy, founder of ApisProtect, shows Prince Charles bees and hive sensors at UCC in June. Picture: Frank McGrath
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

An Irish agri-tech company is managing the health of more than six million honey bees in hives across Europe and North America.

Business is going from strength to strength for ApisProject, which is based in Co Cork. It has announced it has raised a further €1.5m in seed funding which it will use to fund further expansion overseas.

The company develops and produces applications for beekeepers based on Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Specifically, it uses in-hive sensors to monitor honey bee colonies, containing six million honey bees, and then provides the beekeeper with in-depth information about the health and condition of their colonies, using machine learning and big data technologies.

The company will use the funds to increase its international expansion, opening its first US office at the Western Growers Association's centre for innovation and technology in California.

It will also look to expand in the UK and South Africa.

In addition, ApisProtect aims to expand its workforce to 25 over the next three years.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Dr Fiona Edwards- Murphy, CEO and co-founder of ApisProtect, said the company's target market is large-scale commercial beekeepers and the pollination industry.

In Ireland, a commercial beekeeper would typically have a couple of hundred beehives, whereas large beekeepers in the US, where there are three million beehives, could have been 10,000-20,000 beehives.

"In terms of the cost of being a beekeeper, it really depends on the scale - each hive has a value of up to $500 or €500," Dr Edwards-Murphy said.

She said the investment will allow the company to accelerate its expansion as it works to create an extensive global hive health database to power its machine learning insights.

The funding round was led by Finistere Ventures and Atlantic Bridge Capital.

Radical Growth, the Yield Lab, and Enterprise Ireland also participated in the round.

Irish Independent

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