Things Are Getting Sticky for the Bee Industry

Between the drought in the West and a decline in colonies, life hasn’t been the bee’s knees for the striped pollinators.

The buzz: Bee colonies are currently seeing a 35% global decline every year, which subsequently impacts 75% of crops. Without bees, fruits and flowers don’t get pollinated, which is stinging the West Coast almond, plum, and apple crops.

And, unfortunately, that’s not all West Coast producers are facing. Drought and water issues are making things less than sweet, too.

Normally, Midwestern bees make the trip to California in the winter to pollinate fruits and other crops, but with drought in queen bee states like North Dakota, there are fewer bees, and it’s more expensive for West Coast producers to lease them.

Food chain fiasco: Less pollination means less food (and therefore more costly food for consumers). Plus, with an estimated 25 to 40% drag in domestic honey production, things are getting sticky.

Baby Got Botanicals

A Barcelona-based online flower shop is budding into new growth… and it’s headed to the flower farmgate.

Colvin started in 2017 but saw a thorn in the business-to-consumer cut flower industry – too many middlemen. It rose to the occasion of streamlining the industry by developing a tech platform that has raised $82.7M to date. The latest Series C round raised $53.1M.

Li-lacks in the industry: Colvin’s goal is to be the sole intermediary between cut flower growers and end consumers – creating a business-to-consumer side that would allow growers and customers to connect directly.

Co-founder and Co-CEO Andrés Cester says the current model has five or six parties between the farmer and consumer and blames a lack of digitalization in the industry. The result is a reduction in quality of product and a bigger carbon footprint.

Bloom where you’re planted: Whether they’re small, family-owned operations or international farms that target mass markets, Colvin is positioned to help either type of grower better predict the volumes of flowers required of them, while fixing prices. Colvin then buys from the grower and distributes the flowers to customers.

Oh, Snap(dragon): COVID-19 made those in the cut flower supply chain realize the importance of digitalization in their industry. Colvin claims customer demand doubled in 2020. They shipped more than 10M flowers, launched a new houseplant division, and doubled its staff.

The future is flowers: The company also wants to investigate blockchain technology in floriculture and eventually expand into other sectors to benefit the entire agriculture industry.

Colvin’s services are offered in Spain, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. Last bud not least, Colvin is expected to launch in France next year.