All her life Ellie Symes had been taught to fear bees. Then, she peered into a hive after her freshman year of college and her life changed.
When she returned from her summer internship with a beekeeper to classes at Indiana University, Symes made a mission of sharing her newfound passion with others on the Bloomington campus.
Now, nearly five years later, Symes and two classmates are making a career out of their mutual love of bees. With seed money from a university competition, the three IU grads started a Bloomington-based company, The Bee Corp, which focuses on ways to use technology to support the beekeeping industry.
Earlier this year the agribusiness startup received a $225,000 small business innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation.
About 15 customers currently use the company’s Queens Guard system, which monitors temperatures inside the hive to alert beekeepers at the earliest sign something has gone amiss with a hive, said Wyatt Wells, a co-founder who serves as the company’s chief marketing officer.