Cedar (left) and Stuart (right) Anderson with their invention: The Flow Hive® (image: © BeeInventive Pty Ltd)
Byron Bay father-son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson are the inventors behind Australia’s most successful crowdfunding campaign to date, the Flow Hive®. Launched via Indiegogo in 2015, their 6-week campaign raised approximately US$12.2 million in pre-orders. To date, Flow has sent out 50,000-plus beehives to more than 100 countries.
Their pitch: ‘Turn the tap and watch as pure, fresh, clean honey flows right out of the hive and into your jar. No mess, no fuss, no expensive processing equipment and without disturbing the bees.’
Developing the product
The Andersons have fulfilled their dreams of revolutionising honey harvesting. The Flow Hive® is the most significant beekeeping invention since the ‘Langstroth bee hive’, patented in 1852. They have also ignited a buzz within the global beekeeping community through their online presence.
In anticipation of the commercial value of their method, they registered for a provisional patent before launching their crowdfunding campaign. It was granted due to their invention’s unique split cell technology; a plastic ‘honeycomb matrix’ which the bees complete with their own wax.
Once the cells are filled with honey the user turns the lever to split the cells. This allows it to drain down through the channels and flow into a tube out of the hive. The structure produces pure, unprocessed honey ‘on tap’ without disturbing the bees or requiring the use of smokers or protective suits. What was a painstaking process which could take beekeepers hours had turned into the act of turning a lever.
The Andersons reached their target of US$72 000 in 8 minutes, remarkably fast. Especially in comparison to the decade's work of brainstorming and prototyping that went into creating the product.
They credit their global success to developing 3 key business objectives:
- Foster company culture - happy and motivated staff are excited about their work.
- Prioritize your IP strategy - apply for your patent as early as possible and stay on top of your trademark protection.
- Marketing and public relations – consult with experts to deliver a quality product as the brand value will follow.
Entrepreneurial success is all-consuming, as the Andersons were tasked with commitments that are standard to all global businesses. The constant stream of meetings, budgets and deadlines were far from their former lifestyle. But this change came with immeasurable perks.
Stu Anderson reminisces on his journey ‘I feel very very fortunate in so many ways. To have worked so closely with Cedar, my son, and to have invented something that really, so many people around the world are appreciating is making a difference for them. And then to suddenly be – it looks like – be financially secure.’ (As told to Business Insider).
Since its launch, the Flow Hive® has been recognised for not only its innovative method but also for its unique design. In 2016, the Flow Hive® won Australia’s most prestigious prize for design, the Good Design Award.
Top tips from this success story
- File for IP protection before launching a crowdfunding campaign and consider your global IP strategy.
Refine your public relations strategy to maximise the impact of your crowdfunding campaign.
- Expect copycats and have a strategy ready to combat imitations of your product surfacing to market.