INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Bee Corp, an agriculture technology startup founded by Indiana University alumni, has received additional federal funding to commercialize its pollination measurement technology.
The National Science Foundation has awarded The Bee Corp a two-year SBIR Phase II grant of $750,000. This funding follows a Phase I grant from NSF of $225,000 awarded in 2018.
The funding will allow The Bee Corp to scale development of Verifli, a software tool that uses infrared imagery to measure the value of beehives used for pollination. The Bee Corp will use the grant money to hire more technical personnel to its growing team.
“This award is a testament to all the hard work our team has put in over the past year and half,” said CEO Ellie Symes. “Pollination is an essential input for many crops in the US, and our customer traction has shown that measurement is a critical need.”
After spending Phase I funds on developing a proof-of-concept for Verifli, The Bee Corp piloted Verifli with California almond growers in February of this year.
“We received strong positive feedback from our first-year customers on how we can add more value to the Verifli platform,” Symes said. Symes added, “this additional funding from NSF speaks to how important pollination is for food production.”
The Bee Corp moved to Indianapolis from Bloomington this summer after pivoting its offering from in-hive sensors towards a software-focused business model that pairs infrared cameras with users’ mobile phones. The company hired software developer Jordan Gaeta in June to build the Verifli mobile application.