CATCH THE BUZZ – California State Beekeepers Fund Research, and, NECTAR Gets Funding for Development of In-Hive Sensors.

NECTAR, a startup offering a management platform for commercial beekeepers and crop growers, has raised a $1.1 million CAD seed round.

2020 Priorities For CSBA

The California State Beekeepers’ Association (CSBA) is seeking proposals for research conducted in the area of honey bee health and management. Proposals should be designed to cover a single year of highly California State Beekeepers – This year, priority funding will be provided for well-designed projects addressing the following contemporary issues:

  • Novel and viable options for varroa mite management. Management strategies should be effective in reducing the number of mites below a threshold damaging to the colony, be safe for the honey bees, should not contaminate hive products, and should be effective in a wide range of environmental conditions. Preferably, they should be low-cost and not too labor-intensive.
  • Proper nutrition. Access to plentiful and diverse foraging opportunities or availability of an optimal artificial diet are crucial for colony success. Projects under this priority should address development of a complete diet for honey bees that would be economically feasible for beekeepers and would help colonies not only survive but thrive.
  • Microbial/probiotic supplementation. It has been noted that honey bee colonies can benefit from microbial/probiotic application. CSBA is interested in research addressing the question of effectiveness of novel and already available microbial/probiotic supplements on honey bee colony health in field settings.

Proposals should not exceed five pages, excluding references. Financial assistance for travel to the 2020 CSBA convention should be included in the budget. There is an expectation of an oral presentation of the project findings at the Annual Convention, which will be held at Harrah’s South Lake Tahoe, November 17-19, 2020. Please note that as a non-profit, commodity-based organization, CSBA does not pay overhead/indirect costs on funded research grants.

The Research Committee of the CSBA meets in conjunction with the Annual Convention, which this year is being held November 19-21 at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, CA. To allow for sufficient time for committee members to read and prioritize the proposals, they must be e-mailed in a PDF format to Tyler Rood (, no later than Friday, October 25th, 2019. A rolling deadline will be granted to proposals with approval from the board. Notice of award will be sent to the listed Principal Investigators within 30 days from the end of the Annual Convention.


Bryan Ashurst

CSBA Research Committee Chair

1521 I Street

Sacramento, CA 95814


Fax: 916- 446-1063


Beekeeping Tech Startup NECTAR Raises $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.

RELATED: Nectar’s Xavier De Briey wants to help save the bees, to help save the world

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.


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