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BeeHero on CNBC Disruptor 50 list

As the world’s population is expected to increase to 9.8 billion by 2050 from 8 billion currently and arable land becomes more limited, the UN is predicting that food shortages could become acute. Not being able to grow crops due to a massive biological die-off in a key species won’t help. Enter agtech startup BeeHero with a solution.

Founded in 2017, this innovator has developed a way to decrease crop risk tied to bees and increase crop yields. BeeHero provides commercial beekeepers with a service that can remotely track and monitor apiaries to diagnose problems in hives and care for honeybees, which are needed to pollinate crops. Bee colonies are at risk due to disease, pesticides and climate change, and more than one-third of them disappear each year.

The startup’s artificial intelligence and machine learning tech keeps a close watch on beehives using sensors. By tracking pollination in real time, improved efficiency and better yields can result for crops such as nuts, seeds, berries and apples that are dependent on honeybees.

After early seed financing and governmental grants, the company has been attracting more investors. Last December, BeeHero snared $42 million in a Series B round led by impact growth fund Covent Capital in Amsterdam. General Mills joined as an investor as did food tech investor Cibus Fund and international financial service Rabobank, which has agricultural roots.

BeeHero recently partnered with the USDA to control the spread of one of the worst pests to honeybees, the Asian Giant Hornet, which has been detected in the Northwest.

But BeeHero is not the only startup providing honeybee pollution services, a market estimated by the USDA at $320 million annually. The agtech company, which has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, central California and Tel Aviv, faces competition from Beewise in Israel, Nectar in Montreal, and Ubees in New York City. Rival Beewise upped the ante by pulling in $80 million last March to bring its total venture funding to more than $120 million.

Leading BeeHero’s progress is CEO and co-founder Omer Davidi, a serial entrepreneur and technology expert and a specialist in machine learning and cybersecurity. Last year, Limor Farchy, who previously worked at two acquired Israeli tech startups, was recruited as CFO.

BeeHero is growing by 300% as it speeds up adoption of tools to deliver more precise data to help beekeepers. The agtech startup supplies several top almond growers in California and expects to expand to other crops that rely on pollination.

A larger office was recently opened in Tel Aviv, where the company’s research and development is based.

Source: CNBC