Funding For The Bee Corp. Could Broaden Its Focus
BLOOMINGTON - A high-tech company creating a name for itself in a traditionally low-tech space has received backing from some big names on the Indiana venture capital scene. Bloomington-based The Bee Corp., which develops software to help beekeepers monitor the inner workings for their hives, has secured a Series A round of funding led by Jane Martin, general partner at Village Ventures, who was joined by Indianapolis-based High Alpha Ventures Managing Partner Scott Dorsey, Elevate Ventures and additional angel investors from inside and outside Indiana. The support, which is not being publicly disclosed, will allow the small startup to hire its first three employees.
Chief Executive Officer Ellie Symes says the technology aims to stem colony loss, but has an opportunity to do more. "We're actually able to show them the value of having a sensor in their hives. Beekeepers can't be in their hives all the time -- it's really bad for the bees -- but a sensor can. A sensor can be there when they're not there," Symes told Inside INdiana Business. "There's many applications of technology that can help beekeepers be more efficient. We're starting to see that in agtech on how many solutions are out there, so I think that will happen, as well, and who knows? You know, maybe loss becomes our niche and we figure out how to help other industries struggling with loss. So, (there are) a lot of ways this can go, and we're definitely big dreamers here at The Bee Corp."
The startup, which took off last year after receiving a $100,000 boost through the Indiana University BEST competition, is comprised Symes, Chief Operating Officer Simon Kuntz and Chief Marketing Officer Wyatt Wells. Symes says the new investment round will allow development to continue on its Queen's Guard product, which monitors the well-being of the queen in the hive, and explore additional potential in-hive insights such as pest or disease detection. The new hires, Wells says, will be brought on over the next year and will focus on bolstering The Bee Corp.'s data science and analytics capabilities.