A father-son team in New South Wales, Australia created and built one of the world’s most crowdfunded products, and it has been creating a buzz in the apiary world ever since.
The name of the product is Flow Hive, and the inspiration behind inventing it was the frustration that can arise from harvesting honey the old-fashioned way.
This flow theme is easier on the bees and on the beekeeper, and that sounds like a win-win situation.
Cedar Anderson is a third-generation beekeeper in norther NSW, Australia. He and his father, Stuart, are the brains behind Flow Hive. After one particularly sweaty harvest and too many bee stings to count, Cedar thought there just had to be a better way.
This short 5-minute video shows the amazing invention and the wonderful people behind it all.
Ten years later, after tinkering around with various ideas and models, the two of them invented what is being called a beekeeper’s dream.
Industry Leaders Magazine interviewed Cedar Anderson, and here are a few key tidbits from their discussion.
Cedar and Stuart have created what is being hailed as the ‘most significant innovation in beekeeping since 1852.’
It was a hard road at first, with neither father nor son having the money to fund the project. They needed $20,000 for injection moldings so they borrowed from family. They never lost sight of their initial vision and Cedar says he always believed they would find a way to do what they set out to do.
Perhaps their positive attitude and vision had a lot to do with the success of their fund raising. Once they patented their technology and initiated a video and crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo platform, they launched in February 2015.
Their goal to raise $70,000 was reached in 7 minutes! Two hours later, it officially became the fastest crowdfunding campaign in the world to reach $1 million, and eight weeks later it reached US$12.2 million.
Their perseverance carried them through, and eight months after they got started, they had built and delivered 25,000 flow hives that worked. With a 24/7 production line running in Brisbane, they still couldn’t keep up with orders, so they needed to invest $100,000 into industrial-sized dehumidifiers to stop the tools sweating. This was a turning point which let them meet the demands of the market.
As a company they became not just the greatest beekeeping invention since 1852 but a passionate advocate for bees and the environment. They had also found a way to get non-beekeepers interested in bees and giving beekeeping a try. Over 40% of those who committed to buy a hive had no history of beekeeping.
This multi-award-winning company has 65,000 Flow Hives placed in over 130 countries as of 2019.
Cedar Anderson runs the company now, and is a force for sustainable living, education and empowering beekeepers everywhere. He reminds us of the power of the honeybee, saying that a typical hive has 50,000 bees that can pollinate up to 50 million flowers a day. The honeybee is singular in its ability to do this, and they are not only vital to providing 1/3 of all the food we eat, but they are the poster-children insects showcasing the thousands of wild bees and other pollinators that are facing utter extinction.
We must love, cherish and protect all bees. Not just for selfish purposes of wanting them to pollinate our food, but because if we create a world where they can’t survive, how do we think we are going to survive? It is time to re-wild our world, he says, and his enthusiasm is contagious.
The next step for Flow Hive is innovative brood box access for inspections, and remote automation of hives. Well done, father and son. Keep your invention magic flowing like honey.
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