We had a wonderful time speaking with Matias Viel, CEO of Beeflow a new biotech startup that is dedicated to making bees stronger and smarter, in essence super bees!
Which we think is Bee-utiful :)
Did you know that 70% of worldwide crops depend on bee pollination to produce fruits and seeds? That’s right without bees, we would be without all things wonderful in life such as blueberries, cherries, oranges and more. In fact the size of the fruit itself is a product of how well it was pollinated by bees. Smaller fruit = less pollination.
But bees today face incredible risks, a major issue is bee colony collapse, which is caused when bees get a virus or mites, but primarily due to the use of pesticides, especially when the bees are working, a term we heard Matias use often during the interview. Many of these issues are avoidable.
Matias is a 26 year old Argentinian serial entrepreneur that knew he wanted start a company that generated meaningful impact in the world. Leveraging his combined passion towards food and interest in the agricultural sector, he set out to discover a new business opportunity. After speaking with many researchers in bio sciences he realized there was huge depth of knowledge in many areas, but that knowledge was not becoming commercialized and coming to market for farmers or consumers. He saw a huge opportunity in pollination realizing that much of the focus to date has been on innovation in farming practices such as IOT for agriculture and while there was a concern for state of bees in the field, no one was doing anything about it.
Farmers have managed pollination historically by renting out bees for hire during times when their crops are flowering.They put the bees in the field trust that bees will work, however they have no measurement to determine that the bees are behaving as desired. There are many different variables that impact bee behavior such as how desirable the flowers are or other flowers in nearby farms or even wild clover flowers that may be more interesting to the bees than the crops they are hired to pollinate. Bees get distracted and much of their behavior is driven by their memories. In speaking with researchers dedicated to studying the brains of bees, it has been found that bees’ antennas hold neurons and when their antenna touch flowers, it will tell their brains if they have touched food or not. Beeflow has found that it can train bee brains much like Pavlov’s dogs by feeding bees organic molecule compounds specific for each crop, bees can memorize that specific resource, go and look for it. This can condition their memories and thus enable the bees to carry and transfer more pollen, as well as improve their immune systems which helps them work better under a variety of conditions, staying stronger and with a longer lifespan than conventional bees, essentially making them SUPER BEES. Imagine that.
Since Beeflow’s super bees are stronger and trained to optimize pollination for each crops, the result is better yields and bigger more juicy fruit.
We absolutely loved this conversation with Matias an invite you all to take a listen, you’ll learn more about the secret lives of bees than you ever imagined.
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