When inventors Cedar Anderson and his father Stuart released their radical new design for a beehive on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo in late February, they were hoping to raise $US70,000. When the campaign closes tonight, eight weeks later, it looks set to top a staggering $US12 million ($AU15.375 million).
The pair, from the hippie-tinged rainforest hinterland of Byron Bay on the NSW far north coast, spent more than a decade creating a brilliantly simple, yet game-changing system that allows beekeepers to harvest honey on tap, without disturbing the hive. The plastic honeycomb cells are cracked opened with a lever so honey drains down and out before the cells are reset, ready to be refilled. The method also saves hours of time and effort for beekeepers.
The global reaction has been astonishing, with more than 35,000 people investing in the FFlow Hive project, including 7000 buying the now sold out $US600 full beehive. Within three hours, they’d raised $US1 million. The project has become Indiegogo’s biggest ever crowdfunding project.
It’s been a busy month for Cedar, 34, a third generation beekeeper who became a father for the first time last month. He wasn’t expecting to have a son and did not have a name picked out, but resisted the temptation to call him Buzz.
Cedar Anderson says the last two months have seen their wildest hopes and dreams come true.
“We are humbled by the amazing community that has grown so quickly around our invention,” he said.
“Our vision of a worldwide community of beekeepers using our invention and united by a love of bees and a deeper appreciation of the natural world is no longer just an idea.”
He estimates that around 50% of the people investing in the Flow Hive are new to the hobby.
“We think beekeeping fosters a deeper appreciation of the interconnected matrix of life we are all a part of,” Cedar said
The pressure is now on the pair to complete the orders, which are being built in Brisbane, and ship them worldwide. Production is now expected to continue through to 2016 and the Andersons are also working on building an online beekeeping community around the owners of Flow Hives.
Once the crowdfunding production is complete, they plan to offer the Flow Hive for general sale.