Cork-based agricultural technology firm ApisProtect will create 25 jobs over the next three years following a €1.5 million investment boost.
The company uses the internet of things to monitor honey bee colonies, using sensors to help beekeepers commercial beekeepers more effectively manage colonies.
ApisProtect said the seed funding, which was led by international venture capital investors Finistere Ventures and Atlantic Bridge Capital along with Radicle Growth, the Yield Lab and Enterprise Ireland, will be used to accelerate its international expansion. It plans to open its first US office in California, and will also establish a presence in South Africa and the UK, in addition to expanding its Irish team.
ApisProtect will also bring it IoT technology to more climates, bee sub-species and bee foraging areas.
"This investment will allow us to accelerate our expansion as we work to create an extensive global hive health database to power our machine learning insights," said chief executive Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy. "We look forward to building our team of AI specialists, engineers and scientists over the next three years to 25 staff, and helping to reduce honey bee losses worldwide."
The in-hive sensor network has long-range, cellular and satellite-powered communication, and combines it with proprietary big data and machine learning techniques. The technology provides beekeepers with an early warning system, making it more likely to pick up on incidences of disease, pests and other issues. The technology is used to monitor the health of more than six million honey bees in hives across Europe and North America.
"Our Ireland Agtech Fund is dedicated to investing in early stage agtech companies reshaping the global food and ag industries. ApisProtect was the prime candidate for the fund's first Irish investment," said Kieran Furlong of Finistere Ventures. "There is a need for technologies to aid pollination in agriculture, and ApisProtect hive monitor technology has massive potential in key markets like California."