The Mill’s 2nd Annual INX pre-qualification pitch event was held on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Of the 12 pitches that were presented at this event, 5 will be moving on to the INX Pitch Event in Indianapolis, where the winning pitch will receive $100,000 in cash and services. We will be highlighting the 12 pitches at the pre-qualification in Bloomington in a series of blog posts. The following is a profile of The Bee Corp, one of the 5 winners moving on to INX this fall.
The founders of The Bee Corp were troubled by the news they were hearing about the decline of honeybee populations. Because of this, they decided to explore and see if they could take technology used in research to the beekeeping industry to help beekeepers reduce losses. For growers who want to ensure effective pollination, The Bee Corp offers objective, data-driven hive grading.
Ellie Symes, the CEO of The Bee Corp, sees their technology helping to pair growers and beekeeper as vital to produce industries, such as almonds, which rely on bees to facilitate production of their crops. As the acreage of almond production grows each year, the demand for effective beekeepers increases. Extensive data on honeybee hives used in crop production is non-existent. Because pollination problems exist across all specialty crops, The Bee Corp is looking forward to creating a database that helps companies, nonprofits, and policymakers ensure that crop production does not continue to be a problem for bee health.
Their business model helps ensure food security at the source: crop pollination. By helping growers ensure that they have the right amount of bees, The Bee Corp will help ensure that growers are maximizing their yields year after year. This will be increasingly important as the global population increases to 9 billion by 2050.
The Bee Corp has recently created a model that accurately predicts the number of frames in a hive across 81% of hives samples. Ellie is excited to see how their accuracy grows as they collect more data leading up to pollination season! The company is excited to bring this innovation back to beekeepers, because those beekeepers each interact with several growers each year as they move their bees around to pollinate crops. Ellie says that this will be a great way spread their innovation to other crop growers by empowering beekeepers to demand higher pollination prices by having accurate and reliable data that proves their effectiveness to growers.
The Bee Corp is one of 5 pitches being sent to INX in Indianapolis. Here’s what Ellie had to say about the opportunity:
“We pitched last year at INX in Indy, and it was incredible exposure for us. I have since meet several people in the tech community that saw our pitch and reached out. I am excited to grow that again this year with the new direction—working with almond growers.
“Also, it is so important for startups to have these opportunities to pitch for a prize like INX’s, and we hope to do well in the competition! We didn’t win last year, but it was still a lucky day for us. We polished up our NSF (National Science Foundation) grant at the conference after our pitch and ended up being awarded the grant!
“We have key goals we need to meet this year with the new product direction, and INX would help us reach more growers this year without product. This award would really extend our abilities as a company.”
To learn more about The Bee Corp, visit their site here.