Nectar, a Montreal-based startup offering a management platform for commercial beekeepers and crop growers, has raised a $1.1 million CAD seed round.
The round was led by Interdomus Capital, and saw participation from Real Ventures, Upper Canada Equity Fund, First Stone Venture Partners, Third Estate Investments, and other angel impact investors sourced through MaRS’s impact investing platform, SVX. Nectar said the new funding will help the company grow its presence in North America, and work with leading commercial beekeepers and crop growers.
“We now have the support and resources needed to drive change in the agricultural industry.”
– Marc-André Roberge
“We’re proud to have assembled such a high-quality group of impact investors,” said Marc-André Roberge, co-founder and CEO of Nectar. “Our number one criteria was to onboard investors that care deeply about our mission to better the beekeeping industry. We now have the support and resources needed to drive change in the agricultural industry and build a sustainable food system where biodiversity is considered an essential factor to feeding our planet.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported last year that approximately one third of all plants or plant products eaten by humans are directly or indirectly dependent on bee pollination. The FAO also found that species extinction rates are 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal due to humans, and that insects will likely make up the bulk of future biodiversity loss, with 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species, particularly bees, facing extinction.
Founded in 2016 by Roberge, Xavier de Briey, and Evan Henry, Nectar uses in-hive sensors and artificial intelligence to provide beekeepers data-driven insights to help them raise thriving beehives and optimize their productivity. Nectar aims to help the beekeeping industry raise healthy bees and help growers optimize their pollination supply chain. So far, the company has worked with a number of beekeepers in Eastern Canada and is preparing to expand its research and development activities with partners such as Agriculture Canada, the National Bee Diagnostic Centre, and the Centre de Recherche en Santé Animale à Deschambault.
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Some of Nectar’s existing solutions include the Beecon, a wireless, bee friendly sensor capable of measuring a hive’s temperature, relative humidity, audio, and movement; the BeeHub, which transmits hive data online and services as an on-site weather station while tracking yard location; and the BeeTag is the visual representation of hives. Other features of the portal include a tool to detect if the queen bee is present in a hive, a digital map of yards, population trends, hive security, and mortality rates.
“Nectar is a unique and revolutionary solution in a virgin, niche market that impacts 30 percent of our food supply,” said Richard Adler, president at Interdomus Capital. “The story cannot be more compelling.”
Since launching, the startup has gained the support of Montreal accelerators Centech, Impact8, and FounderFuel, from whom Nectar raised $100,000 in 2017. The company is currently working on providing growers key analytics to measure the impact of honey bee pollination on their crops and secure their pollination supply chain, and is currently looking to expand its team in order to improve its offering.
Image courtesy Nectar