Cork company ApisProtect receives €1.5 million investment boost to create 25 new jobs
ApisProtect, an Irish agtech innovator using the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor honey bee colonies, 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.
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 complementary 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 2017.
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 2017.