Flywheel Fund, a member-managed capital fund run by The Mill, today announced a $50,000 investment in The Bee Corp, as part of a $1 million round led by IU Ventures. The Bee Corp’s agritech solution Verifli uses infrared (IR) imagery to measure the strength and pollination value of a honeybee colony without opening the hive.
Ellie Symes and Wyatt Wells launched the Bee Corp in 2016, while they were still students at Indiana University, where they founded the Beekeeping Club. A benefit corporation, the Bee Corp has gone on to raise over $3 million in funding. In January 2022, Symes and Wells were names to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for enterprise technology.
Pat East, Executive Director of The Mill, said, “The Bee Corp has always been a winning team. I’m personally a three-time investor and proud the Flywheel Fund has the opportunity to support their innovative hive health technology. Ellie Symes is one of Indiana’s best young CEOs — resourceful, pragmatic and well-connected. Her drive to overcome obstacles that would defeat others will continue to serve The Bee Corp well as they scale their tech to break into new markets.”
Beekeepers use Verifli to reduce labor costs associated with sorting hives before pollination and prove the value of their bees when negotiating pricing. Users gain access to tools and information to improve pollination management on the Verifli dashboard, including an interactive hive mapping tool and a customizable report builder.
"The Bee Corp is thankful for the opportunities that the Flywheel Fund has provided through their investment,” said The Bee Corp CEO, Ellie Symes. “We have had the ability to develop fast, accurate, non-invasive hive strength technology that will continue to provide growers with more data to improve their fields and support them through continuous technology advancements."
According to COO Wells, the funding will go to hiring key roles and scaling the technology to new, underserved markets. The Bee Corp has a strong customer base in the California almond industry, but many other staple crops rely on bees for pollination, including berries, apples, and avocados. "This new investment round will provide the resources to maintain our momentum and capitalize on the mounting interest for fast, accurate, non-invasive hive strength assessments,” Wells said.
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