Apiary Book is an application for managing the activities in an apiary, monitoring the hives, analyzing the data of bee families and environmental factors that may affect their health. The application was launched as a personal project in 2015 by Bogdan Iordache (43 years old), an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the IT field. The company was registered as a business in 2018. At the end of the same year, Ionuț Țăranu (45 years old), a specialist with over two decades of experience in IT, joined the company.
Currently Apiary Book is the most successful application for beekeepers worldwide, with 22,000 active users each month. The platform is available on Google Play and has versions in 18 languages. So far it has been downloaded over 160,000 times.
Valuation - 1,25 Million EUR
“In 2014, after many years spent in front of the computer, I wanted to spend more time in nature. So I attended a beekeeping course and bought some hives. At the beginning I recorded the apiary activity in a classical way: I wrote with a pen on my notebook. But, as the activity in the apiary grew, I felt the need for more organization and information to help me take good decisions quickly. The application was very successful all over the world, became a leader in the field. Listing on SeedBlink will help us grow our team of software developers, but also our marketing & sales team to support growth in 2021”, said Bogdan Iordache, co-founder and CEO of Apiary Book.
For the amount of 150,000 euros targeted through equity crowdfunding on SeedBlink, the co-founders of Apiary Book sell a package of 10.34% of the shares, the company's valuation being thus 1.25 million euros pre-money.
"With Apiary, we open AgriTech, a new vertical of startups on SeedBlink. We see interesting investment potential in this field, given how much technology agribusiness has. We are glad to start with Apiary, an application built with a lot of passion and already with strong fingerprints globally", says Andrei Dudoiu, co-founder and CEO of SeedBlink.
In this financing round, the GapMinder Venture Capital fund also joined with an investment of 50,000 euros. This is the second time that GapMinder is investing in the Apiary Book. In 2018 GaoMinder invested 25,000 euros (pre-seed investment) in Apiary Book.
"Apiary Book caught our attention two years ago when we saw the two entrepreneurs in the Techcelerator program, and we are happy to be with them again. We strongly believe that efficient agriculture can be done with passionate people, but also with the help of technology, and Apiary Book is a true pioneer in the field of agritech in Romania, but also worldwide. The fact that it is an extremely useful application for beekeepers is also proven by the fact that it has become an organic world leader, without investing in advertising", says Alexandru Ruff, partner GapMinder Venture Partners.
In 2018, Apiary Book won the award for the best agritech start-up in Romania at the StartupEurope Awards competition.
The two co-founders' plans are to reach 50-60,000 users by the end of next year. Management also estimates that revenues will increase from 10,000 euros this year to about 250,000 euros in 2021. The company has started to have revenues for about half a year - the revenues are generated by subscriptions and advertising.
"Our product is a mature and stable one, it is a product that has already proven its utility and is successful. What we want now is «to fly faster». So far, we have grown step by step, organically. An investment in advertising would help us accelerate this development", says Ionuț Țăranu, co-founder and manager for business development Apiary Book.
In 2021: Rapid growth abroad, online courses, market place and another financing round
Of the 22,000 Apiary users, only 800 are from Romania. Our country is one of the largest honey producers in Europe, in 2018 is in the second place after Spain in terms of the number of hives, according to the European Commission. Romania reported 1.85 million hives two years ago, up 15.3% from 2017. This is the highest increase in the EU. On the other hand, in terms of the number of beekeepers, Romania was in the period 2017-2019 on ninth place in Europe, with approximately 23,000 beekeepers, according to the same report. There are approximately 5-6 million beekeepers worldwide and around 92 million hives.
Among the Apiary Book foreign users, those from Europe (especially France, Italy, Russia), the USA, and Canada predominate. They represent 62% of the clients. In 2021 the management aims to expand especially on the European and North American markets and starting 2022 in Brazil, India and China. Bogdan Iordache and Ionut Țăranu want to launch next year the iOS version of the application, create Apiary Book Academy - online courses for beekeepers - and introduce a marketplace to help beekeepers sell their products faster and at better prices.
"Many beekeepers raise bees out of passion, but they want to know how to manage the hives, they want to know how to protect the bee families. When a family of bees disappears, you lose 100 euros. They want to sell easier. Briefly, they want to see faster results, explains Bogdan Iordache.
The co-founders of Apiary Book aim to obtain financing of 700-800,000 euros at the end of next year. Due to this new financing round the value of the company is going to rise from 1.25 million euros at present to 4-5 million euros.