Food Tech

Bee-less Honey is making its way to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Bee-io Honey is merging with BH Whitestone Group; Whitestone's shareholders approved the merger yesterday

Israeli food-tech company Bee-io Honey, that develops technologies for the production of cultured honey, joins the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The shareholders of the shell company, Whitestone Group, approved the merger deal last night (Monday), at a value of 38 million NIS to Bee-io Honey. Bee-io Honey shareholders will be allotted 55% of the merged company’s share capital, with the option to increase their holdings by an additional 20% upon completion of predetermined set milestones.

Bee-io Honey develops an industrial process for the production of cultured honey, under laboratory conditions, using natural nectar. Currently, the company is focusing on the development of an ‘artificial bee stomach’, which mimics the enzymatic activity and the specific conditions and processes that occur in the bee’s stomach naturally. In addition, Bee-io Honey is working on technologies to produce natural nectar, in order to increase the capacity of honey production and turn the process into an efficient, fast and cheap one. In January 2021, the company completed a first round of fund-raising and raised 8.3 million NIS from private investors.

Bee-io Honey shareholders include, among others, Adi Zim, who owns SR Accord; attorneys Arik Kaufman and Yaron Caesar of the KRKR firm, who are among the founders of Bee-io Honey and partners in other food-tech companies, including the publicly traded, Biomilk; Eli Nidam, owners of Shoham Business; Rani Zim, owners of the Rani Zim Holdings Group; Extra Holdings, controlled by Moti Ben Moshe; and diamond traders Pinchas and Ben Zion Pozilov.

Cultured honey produced from nectar is a first of its kind and a unique product on a global scale. Cultured honey has many benefits, it does not contain antibiotics, pesticides and toxins; it helps the ecological fabric by removing the need to use bees for its production; it allows for an on-demand production, regardless of the seasons, the weather, flowering and climate change; and it addresses a major shortage: the rate of honey consumption and the demand for honey, globally, exceeding the rate of production. To date, Bee-io Honey has already filed for two U.S. patent applications in order to protect the development processes it has established.

Bee-io Honey’s leading team includes CEO Ofir Dvash, a graduate of the IDF’s Technology Intelligence Unit 81, who also served for five years as the VP of Technology at GKI GROUP, which is also an incubator for many start-up companies; and the VP of Technology Development Dr. Efrat Dvash Riesenfeld, who holds a doctorate from the Department of Molecular Genetics from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and is a Post-Doctoral Fellow from Harvard Medical School, and has also served as the Director of the Laboratory for Translational Cancer Research at Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital).

Bee-io Honey engages in many collaborations with leading academic institutes in Israel and around the world and with leading professionals in the field, and at the same time examines collaborations with industrial organizations in the fields of food, flavors and fragrances. The company’s advisory committee includes Prof. Yuval Shoham, a world expert in biotechnology and food engineering from the Technion; Prof. Guy Bloch, an expert in the study of behavior of bees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Prof. Menachem Rubinstein, a world leader in the field of molecular genetics from the Weizmann Institute.

The global honey market was valued at $9.08 billion in 2019, with an annual growth of 8%, it is expected to reach about $14.4 billion by 2025. The market faces some significant challenges: the rate of global honey consumption exceeds the rate of honey production; smaller bee’s population due to climate change, parasites, infections and viruses; and desertification and drought processes in many parts of the world lead to a decrease in the amount of flowers and nectar. Which, in turn, leads to a steady and continuous increase in the price of honey.


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