The idea was born back in 2013 when the company’s CEO Sergey Petrov decided to become a beekeeper. He started searching for tips and tricks on Google.
But instead, he found grim statistics about domesticated bees’ mortality rates. As a recently graduated engineer at the time, Sergey couldn’t believe that humanity has sent a man on the Moon but was unable to save the bees. That’s how Pollenity (previously known as Bee Smart Technologies) came to life…
What is it like to be a beekeeper in Bulgaria?
“It’s hard. So hard that every day we see Facebook posts of beekeepers trying to sell their apiaries (an apiary is where your beehives are situated), along with their beehives and their bees,”comments Stephanie Dimitrova, the Marketing Manager of Pollenity.
But why would all these people give up beekeeping?
Because it’s not economically profitable. As Stephanie explains, every year, the wholesale price drops – in 2019, for example, it went down to BGN 3.00-3.50 per kilo. The European Commission has some alarming forecasts too – a 30% decrease in the number of Bulgarian beekeepers is expected in the next two years.
“That pushed us to help our beekeepers by providing them with a marketplace for their honey and significantly shortening the value chain. It’s only the beekeeper, the consumer and us in the middle ensuring the quality and the origin of the honey thanks to our sensor devices,” she says.
Technology comes to the rescue
In an effort to help Bulgarian and global beekeepers, Pollenity has launched a number of innovative sensor devices. Some of them include the Beebot that measures key indicators in the beehive and reports on the health and productivity of the colony, as well as the hiveBase that measures the weight of the beehive.
In 2019, Pollenity has also released Istinski Med (Real Honey) – a platform giving access to real honey at fair prices.
“The beekeepers are fairly paid for their efforts and doesn’t have to worry about selling the honey - we do it for them, so they could keep doing the one thing they can do best - keeping bees.”
There’s more: the company went one step further by introducing their Adopt a Hive program.
“Everyone can adopt a beehive and get closer to the bees and nature, by supporting a beekeeper in exchange for monthly honey deliveries. They can also go meet the beekeeper and their bees, learn more about their lives and thus help a sector that is vital for all of us,” as Stephanie points out.
Bound by a common cause
“Helping bees and beekeepers thrive is not only a mission for us but also an investment in the future of the planet,” Stephanie says, adding that her team is happy that more and more people realize the importance of bees.
“Recently, we’ve been in constant contact with many adoptive families, and we’ve been receiving positive feedback for the program. Knowing that we’re doing something meaningful and impactful is a huge motivator and a driving force for our team.”
Stephanie admits that creating hardware is tough – taking time, commitment, a lot of iterations, and sometimes too long time to see actual results.
“Luckily, we have a great team that doesn’t give up easily,” she says.
Part of a larger community
When asked why Pollenity joined Campus X, Stephanie replies without hesitation:
“A startup needs a great team, but also great mentors. We’re lucky that most of our mentors are concentrated in Campus X, so joining was an easy decision.”
Speaking of the local startup ecosystem, she adds:
“Frankly, the Campus is something our startup ecosystem has been missing. It’s very beneficial to have a community of like-minded teams and individuals gathered together. The creative energy is something that I personally feel every time I go to the Campus.”
“Growth, bees and sustainability in the beekeeping sector. We have a vision, we know where we want to be, and we have a plan how to get there.”