Cork company ApisProtect receives €1.5 million investment boost to create 25 new jobs.
Cork, Ireland and Salinas, Calif. – November 20th, 2018 ApisProtect, an Irish agtech innovator using the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor honey bee colonies, today announced the close of a €1.5 million seed round of financing led by top-tier international venture capital investors Finistere Ventures and Atlantic Bridge Capital. Radicle Growth, the Yield Lab and Enterprise Ireland also participated in the investment round.
ApisProtect will use the investment to aggressively accelerate international expansion, opening its first U.S. office at the Western Growers Association’s WG Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas, California.
“This investment will allow us to accelerate our expansion as we work to create an extensive global hive health database to power our machine learning insights”, noted Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO and co-founder, ApisProtect. “We look forward to building our team of AI specialists, engineers and scientists over the next 3 years to 25 staff, and helping to reduce honey bee losses worldwide.”
ApisProtect helps commercial beekeepers more effectively manage colonies. Contributing €153 billion worth of pollination to the agri-food industry annually, honey bees play an essential role in global food production. One third of all food that we eat depends on pollinators, and there are 91 million managed beehives worldwide. The aim is to help commercial pollinators and growers to optimize pollination.
Beekeepers no longer need to rely solely on periodic, manual hive checks that can allow disease, pests and other issues to deteriorate hive health beyond rescue. Now monitoring the health of over six million honey bees in hives across Europe and North America, ApisProtect brings the power of advanced sensors and machine learning technology into the hive to deliver a 24/7 early warning system so beekeepers can give at-risk hives immediate attention and improve bee health.
Atlantic Bridge co-led the seed round with Finistere Ventures, which made its first investment from the Ireland AgTech Fund (a partnership between Finistere Ventures and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund). Radicle Growth, an AgTech Acceleration Fund, played a key role in the round and is actively supporting ApisProtect’s U.S. expansion efforts.
ApisProtect provides an in-hive sensor network with long-range, cellular and satellite-powered communication to proactively monitor honey bee colonies. Combining the sensor data on hive conditions, health and activity levels with its proprietary big data and machine learning techniques, ApisProtect gives beekeepers actionable insights and alerts to help prevent losses and increase colony productivity.
This investment will allow ApisProtect to rapidly scale – deploying its IoT technology to more climates, bee sub-species and bee foraging areas. Its key focus will be establishing a presence in North America, South Africa and the United Kingdom, as well as growing its team in Ireland.
“With a science-driven, multi-disciplinary leadership team, ApisProtect is primed to fundamentally change the way commercial beekeepers around the globe manage their hives,” added Kieran Furlong of Finistere Ventures. “Our Ireland Agtech Fund is dedicated to investing in early stage agtech companies reshaping the global food and ag industries. ApisProtect was the prime candidate for the fund’s first Irish investment. There is a need for technologies to aid pollination in agriculture, and ApisProtect hive monitor technology has massive potential in key markets like California.”
Alison Crawford at Atlantic Bridge added, “Atlantic Bridge is delighted to welcome ApisProtect to our growing portfolio in the University Fund, a €60m Fund, focused on commercializing cutting edge research from leading institutions ApisProtect is uniquely placed to disrupt a global, well-established industry with robust technology developed by Fiona Edwards Murphy, following her award winning PhD research at University College Cork, Ireland. Atlantic Bridge has a strong track record of supporting Irish companies through key stages of development and helping them commercialize their technology globally through our network in Europe, the US and China. We believe ApisProtect has the potential to ultimately help commercial pollinators and growers to optimize pollination.”
Welcoming the announcement, Joe Healy, Divisional Manager, HPSU Enterprise Ireland said, “Ireland is fast becoming an international leader in business and a world-class innovator in some of the technology sector’s most exciting and disruptive new fields. One of Enterprise Ireland’s key roles is to develop and support this innovation and we recognise the value of venture capital funding to high potential growth companies in the agritech sector. I would like to congratulate ApisProtect on their success in raising funding and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with the team to drive the development and growth of the agritech sector in global markets.”
ApisProtect is an Irish company, located in Cork, Ireland and headed up by Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, Dr Pádraig Whelan and Andrew Wood, a team with complimentary backgrounds including engineering, scientific, beekeeping and commercial experience.
Dr Edwards Murphy has a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a BE from University College Cork in 2013. As a graduate of UCC, Edwards Murphy participated in the Ignite program, an international award-winning business start-up programme that specialises in supporting recent third-level graduates to turn innovative ideas into successful, scalable businesses. She won the Ignite Business of the Year Award in 2016.
Her work has received international recognition, including at least eight academic publications, awards from the Irish Research Council, IBM, The Irish Laboratory Awards, and Google. ApisProtect was partially funded by St. Louis-based agtech accelerator The Yield Lab in 2016.
Watch this video to learn more about ApisProtect and Edwards Murphy’s vision for future full of healthy honey bee hives.
Founded by preeminent researchers in the use of sensors in beehives, ApisProtect provides real-time hive monitoring powered by satellite-enabled sensors that are retrofitted to existing beehives. Dr Edwards Murphy’s work on the topic of hive monitoring has received many national and international awards from the Irish Research Council, The IEEE, IBM, The Irish Laboratory Awards, Google, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Visit www.apisprotect.com
About Atlantic Bridge
Atlantic Bridge is a European Growth Technology Firm which invests in high growth technology companies and accelerates the scale up of these companies by applying its proprietary Bridge Model into the US, Middle East and Chinese markets. The Firm has investment teams, offices and extensive networks in Dublin, London, Palo Alto, Munich, Muscat and Beijing. Atlantic Bridge is focused on investments in high growth and disruptive sectors and such as AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Visioning, Robotics, Machine Learning, Enterprise Software and IoT. Visit abven.com
About Finistere Ventures
Finistere Ventures is a leading global agricultural technology and life sciences venture capital investor with offices in Palo Alto, San Diego, Ireland and Israel. Its team has developed and invested in some of the most successful agtech companies of the last 20 years—building and backing companies worth more than $5 billion. Visit Finistere.com.
About Radicle Growth
Radicle is an acceleration fund backed by leading AgTech investors including Finistere Ventures, Bayer Crop Science, DuPont Pioneer and OurCrowd. Radicle carefully selects innovative Ag and food tech startups for investment, ensuring that powerful, disruptive technologies reach their full potential. We provide a fertile environment for visionaries in the Ag space, not just to grow but to flourish. Our proprietary platform is the only one of its kind in the agriculture industry, filling a huge void in the market by identifying the most innovative technologies and accelerating them with a range of value-creation initiatives. Visit radicle.vc.
About Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment. Visit enterprise-ireland.com
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