With $US5.2 million raised, this Australian beehive project is one of the world's biggest crowdfunding successes

Stuart and Cedar Anderson.

Australian inventors Stuart and Cedar Anderson are doing to beehives what Michael Jackson’s Thriller album did for music.

In February the Andersons launched a revolutionary beehive system that lets you to harvest honey on tap without disturbing the hive, on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The father and son team wanted $US70,000. It took just less than eight minutes for to reach their target.

Within three hours they had $US1 million in pledges and pre-sales. Just a day later, it was $US2.18 million ($AU2.8M) and set a record for the most funds raised in a day.

More than 92,000 people have pledged support, raising an average of $US53,000 an hour, with more than 10,000 products ordered.

With a month to go, they’ve now raised more than $5 million in the most successful crowdfunding venture outside the US, with investors in 116 countries. The US is the key market, justifying their decision to launch in US dollars, followed by investors in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Someone in the Ukraine offered $1; there was $2 each from Estonia and Serbia and $5 from Rwanda.

The duo, who live near Byron Bay on the New South Wales north coast, are both thrilled and a little shocked by the response.

“It’s been overwhelming,” said Cedar, 34, a third generation beekeeper who’s been looking after hives since he was six.

“You never know what will happen when you put a new idea up. Experts had told me that our idea wouldn’t work for online crowdfunding, but I’m very pleased to see that they were very wrong.”

The pair worked on designs for a decade before Cedar came up with the idea for honeycomb cells that could be cracked opened with a lever so honey drains down and out before the lever is turned back and the cells are reset, ready to be refilled. The method also saves hours of time and effort for beekeepers.

“I just woke up one morning and suddenly had the realisation it didn’t have to be honeycomb cells anymore, that the shape could change from being hexagon cells to channels,” Cedar said.

“I had come up with a more complex design that split the comb horizontally. But dad had a couple of coffees and came up with the idea to split it vertically.”

Stuart Anderson, 60, said he wanted to make things less stressful for the bees and easier on the beekeeper.

“Traditional extraction of honey is very time consuming and sometimes backyard beekeepers neglect to harvest their honey because they just don’t have the time for all the work involved,” Stuart said.

He hopes that their system, called the Flow Hive, will attract more amateur beekeepers to the try their hand at keeping bees.

They remain on sale until April, priced between $US230 and $US600.

Here’s how it works.


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