Hive Genie
Hive Genie

This week, co-host Deanne Bell meets with environmental engineer Mario Chapa of Hive Genie. Originally from Mexico, they lost their machinery and inventory after it was stolen. He has now been working on Hive Genie for more than a year.

Hive Genie is a beehive-monitoring device that works to save bees. According to their website, the inventor was inspired to create the product “to make the beekeeping experience simple and enjoyable for everybody so more people can have bees. Also, we want to save the bees but we need tons of information to find the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder.” In addition to Colony Collapse Disorder, bees are also threatened by disease, pesticides and changing weather patterns. Many agricultural products are dependent on honeybee pollination, including apples, cotton, peaches, grapefruit and more. According to their website, some of the other ways you can work to save the bees include planting flowers and fruit trees, not using pesticides and buying organic/local food only. More information can be found on their website or Indiegogo campaign.

Bell puts it to the test, comparing a traditional beehive with a beehive that utilizes the Hive Genie. She notices the inefficiencies in the old model, while the Hive Genie tracks the bee population, allowing for the ability to track changes in the colony. Chapa hopes to sell the product for $169.

At Bluefish Concepts, Bell explains that the new prototype needs to be both eco- and user-friendly. The engineers love the idea and also hope to increase the gate size. The new prototype features a newly-redesigned device in the shape of a honeycomb, a larger LED light that monitors the hive and more gates. The device can now also last two days.

Putting it to the test with commercial beekeepers, Bell notices the same lack of preciseness in counting the bees. The beekeepers seem impressed by the real-time technology, but they believe it needs to cost $50 or less. Chapa then meets with Hortau, who can help narrow down his business focus, which would include data selling. They believe that agricultural companies could greatly benefit from the Hive Genie’s data, rather than using the device itself.

At the pitch, Chapa has the opportunity to meet with Alex Cena, who specializes in sustainable agriculture, after going to a subscriber model with the business. He hopes to get an investment of $1.4 million for 15 percent equity.

Cena understands the emotions behind wanting to save the bees, but wonders if it’s really a need-to-have versus a want-to-have product. The customer would have access to some of their data, however, additional data will have to be paid for. Cena likes the data component and how it can impact farming decisions, but feels as though there hasn’t been enough testing yet.

He believes there is a lot of risk, but offers $50,000 for 35 percent equity, which Chapa counters at 25 percent. Cena declines the counter, but Chapa believes having a strategic partner is more important so he accepts. According to the update, Chapa later walked away from the deal but eventually received a $25,000 grant.

“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” works to turn a million dollar idea to a million dollar invention. Hosts and engineering experts George Zaidan and Deanne Bell find entrepreneurs with revolutionary ideas, take a look at their prototype and help take the product to the next level. According to CNBC, “Top engineers scour the country looking for amazing ideas they’re convinced can make big money. They’ll track down the inventors and give them a second chance to bring their ideas and dreams to life.” The hosts also have the opportunity to hear their pitch before taking the product to an investor, as well as connect with the inventor by hearing their backstories.

“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” airs every Thursday night at 10 p.m. on CNBC.

Would you try the Hive Genie? Sound off in the comments section below!