Impactful Startups V.012

This series provides weekly insights into my top startups (Pre-Seed // Seed) that are striving to make an impact across the globe.

Today I’m shining the light on BeeHero, a developer of beehive technology platform intended to maximize crop yields through pollination. The company's technology uses artificial intelligence with low-cost sensors to collect in-hive data and to stimulate full output potential during peak pollination cycles, enabling farmers to protect beehives from colony collapse and maximize pollination efficiency for growers around the world. BeeHero was founded by a team of veteran beekeepers, serial entrepreneurs, renowned biologists, and data scientists to ensure that everyone wins: farmers, beekeepers, and nature.

70% of crops worldwide rely on bees, whose increasing mortality rate, coupled with colony collapse disorder, puts financial strain on farmers and beekeepers. This makes it harder to feed an exponentially growing global population. BeeHero built their cutting-edge platform and low-cost sensors to provide frictionless setup and operation for beekeepers and achieve their goal: increasing crop yield and quality while enhancing pollinator health.

Headquartered in California with research and development in Israel, their team of commercial beekeepers and food growers, engineers and entrepreneurs, and industry-renowned scientists work around the globe and around the clock to maximize every pollination cycle.

The pollination crisis is very real. Looking specifically at almonds growers and although new orchard planting has slowed a little in recent years, the total bearing acreage is expected to continue increasing as the non-bearing acreage is still above what is needed for the replacement of old orchards. CDFA figures on nursery sales show that over the last 3 years, 56% of all trees sold were for new orchards. Almond acreage is likely to reach around 1.4 million acres within a few years. This represents a maximum pollination requirement of about 2.7million hives (at current industry-standard stocking rates). Thus the demand for hives could exceed the number of colonies that exist. The trend analysis shows that unless something changes, available hive capacity could be exceeded by 2023.

Their funding thus far is quite impressive. They’ve raised $5m in just over 3 years and from well known investors. I suspect this capital will keep them running as they continue to expand. Their last funding round was a Seed round in May of 2020, totaling out to $4m.

Exit Strategy: Open Water has countless exit opportunities. Likely a large strategic would be the best fit. Maybe a small private equity player or a sponsor backed business. Really the opportunities are out there and scaling is the main issue at hand right now.

Modeling out case scenarios based on the ultimate goals and progress thus far will allow for some clarity on a potential exit horizon. Next, calculating the impact multiple of money (IMM) will put pre-deal impact evaluation on par with financial evaluation. To calculate IMM, simply take social benefit ($) / invested capital ($) = IMM. Be sure to account for partial ownership depending on ownership within the cap table. At a high level successful investors within impact investing can expect investment performance to be inline or even stronger than traditional venture investments. Cambridge Associates in 2015 published its first impact investing benchmark. Their study shows just how attractive the returns can be.

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