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ApisProtect: in-hive sensors


Protecting the global bee population is a no-brainer really. Their activity is vital for the environment, human health, and global food security, but bee numbers are declining and under continued threats, ranging from climate change and biocides to pathogens and suboptimal management practices. This is where ApisProtect comes in.

Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, ApisProtect has developed an innovative system involving sensors, global communications, and artificial intelligence that helps beekeepers increase productivity and reduce costs. Using a combination of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies, they can remotely extract and interpret data from hives: “Our technology can monitor temperature, movement, humidity and sound, triggering smart alerts to help beekeepers catch problems like pests or disease early, rather than rely on periodic manual inspections,” explains Aoife O’Mahony, Head of Marketing. The technology is small and unobtrusive, similar to the size of a smartphone, but the AI-enhanced technology behind it makes all the difference.

“The feedback we are getting is that this is a game-changer. 80% of hive inspections have little added value. Every time you open a hive, you risk killing the queen-bee and you upset the bees for around 3 days. If the bees have been trucked in to pollinate almonds for 2 weeks, you can’t afford to disturb them for 3 days.” Instead, ApisProtect technology will give beekeepers all the information they need while the bees go about their business unperturbed. “That means more time pollinating, fewer risks, better time management for beekeepers and lower fuel costs.”

The company was founded by Dr. Edwards Murphy in 2017 following her PhD with the School of Engineering,in IoT and the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork in the area of IoT applications for honey bee health. An equity investment from The Yield Lab Europe in 2019, backed by the EIF under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe, helped the company push ahead with product development, including prototype testing. “We developed our own technology, building AI and machine-learning systems and dashboards. That means lots of investment up front, then getting out into the field to test the prototype and back to the drawing board. We have to date monitored more than 100 million honey bees around the world,” Aoife says.

But the business is buzzing, and looking to expand, having focused so far on the US and UK markets: “We launched in Ireland and the US last year and have just launched in the UK. We hope to expand to Europe in the next 24 months and further to New Zealand and Australia after that.”

Company: ApisProtect (Ireland)

Type of business: agritech

EIF financing: EFSI Sub-Window 1

Financial intermediary: The Yield Lab Europe

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


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