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Apiary Book: Bee inspired

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“Its simple mathematics: if bees disappear so will mankind,” says Bogdan Iordache, founder of Apiary Book. Originally a freelancer in IT and software development, Bogdan changed direction in 2014: “I was comfortable in my career, too comfortable really. So I decided to reinvent myself, go on a different journey, do good, be close to nature. I knew of biodiversity depletion, so beekeeping seemed the obvious choice. Trying to learn more, I got amazing support from the beekeepers’ community. They helped me learn fast, made me aware of their problems”.

A year into beekeeping, Bogdan had designed a smartphone application that analyses the activity of his 20 hives. This management tool collects, monitors and reports data such as bee movements, numbers, behavioural changes, apiary temperature fluctuations via sensors, and pest intrusions. It even includes a voice activated command function “because when you wear protective gloves you can’t use your fingers to operate your smart phone,” he explains. “I am a technical person, developing practical software is in my DNA”.

What started as a personal project soon turned into a fully-fledged business when in 2017, Apiary Book was born. The application has already been downloaded by over 200 000 beekeepers around the world, and is used by 25 000 of them monthly in 19 languages. “We are first and foremost a data company. We analyse different sources and our predictive beekeeping system, based on machine learning, helps beekeepers make better informed decisions. Historical data we gather helps redefine best practices that are applicable to modern apiary management. Our aim is to give bees a better chance of survival but also ensure the sustainability of the apiary sector and make it financially viable today”.

Most of the company’s revenues come from its premium subscriptions. “To make the business a success we need to reach out to as many users as possible, and this can be quite challenging for a start-up like ours. An investment in 2020 from (EIF-backed venture capital fund) Gapminder helped us financially for working capital, equipment, marketing, networking, recruitment but it went much beyond that: they gave us advice on new revenue streams and guidance on how to take the company to the next level. In a nutshell they helped us accelerate and gave us recognition”.

This is only the beginning for Bogdan. He is already planning to develop a solution linking the app to satellites in order to monitor the effects of unusual weather events like the cold temperatures in the summer, or understand bees’ changing health requirements in an environment where climate change affects how some crops flower. However, what Bogdan wants most for the future is “to continue to wake up every morning knowing that I am going to have fun with the bees. It gets me buzzing.”

Company: Apiary Book (Bucharest, Romania)

Type of business: ICT; agriculture

Financial intermediary: Gapminder Fund

EIF financing: ESIF Competitiveness Romania

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Romania, please refer to:
http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/ro

 

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