IndieBio’s Beeflow (SF06 2018) was recently featured in a Bloomberg article highlighting the company’s work in maximizing the pollination potential of bees via supplements—and safeguarding the declining bee population.
Per Bloomberg, habitat loss, toxic pesticides and climate change are wreaking havoc on both wild and commercial bee populations. And, approximately two thirds of global crops rely on honey bees, which are even less active in cold weather.
Beeflow crafts amino-acid based supplements from floral nectar and plant hormones to help fortify bees’ immune systems. This results in bees capable of carrying out up to seven times more flights in cold weather and double the pollen load. Similar to Pavlov’s dog training experiment, Beeflow also trains bees to associate the scent of the crop they need to pollinate with a sugar syrup treat. This effectively creates a “flight GPS” for the bees to pollinate specific crops.
Deployed across 10,000 acres of farmland in the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, and Peru, Beeflow’s solutions have increased farm yield (compared to traditional farms) by 32% in blueberry, almond, and raspberry crops.
“It’s the most promising technology that I’ve seen,” Lisa Wasko DeVetter, an associate professor at Washington State University who specializes in small fruit cultivation, told Bloomberg.
Beeflow has raised $13M to date from investors including SOSV, Ospraie Ag Science, and Grid Exponential, with plans to secure more funding to scale up operations. “The next one that is coming is avocado pollination,” per Beeflow founder Matias Viel.