What a journey it's bee-n! As the year draws to a close, it's time to reflect on the buzzing adventure that was 2023 at HiveTracks.
This year has been a hive of activity and learning, from navigating the challenges of a dynamic tech landscape to enhancing our beekeeping community's experience. Let's look back at some of the key moments and milestones of 2023, as shared by HiveTracks' CEO Max and founder James.
It's been a year of growth, innovation, and sweet success, and we're excited to share these reflections with you. 2023 has been a wild ride for HiveTracks! How do you feel about the company's evolution this year?
It's been a hive of activity! We launched our new HiveTracks App for hobbyist beekeepers and set the stage for the launch of our new web app for professional beekeepers in 2024. Plus, we're buzzing about our long-term strategy for leveraging beekeeper data for good. We took a significant leap forward with our recognition and evaluation of the impact of beekeeping on biodiversity.
They say the only certainty is that things will be different from what you thought. At HiveTracks, this rang true. Improving our app was a journey, with some bugs taking a loooong time to catch. But we swiftly advanced in honey authentication, set for launch next year, and we can't wait to show you what we have been working on!
In last year's blog, you mentioned using 2022 as a vital opportunity for testing and refining your products. Based on this feedback, can you share some significant improvements or changes implemented in 2023?
Last year, at this time, we were completely rebuilding our tech stack for the mobile app. The new mobile app was released for the new season and has been thoroughly tested and refined throughout the year, resulting in a solid foundation for future growth.
Max That's right. If 2022 was about learning and laying the groundwork, then 2023 was definitely about improving, building, and innovating. Launching a new technology is always tricky as bugs will appear, and many processes and buttons need to be tested. Also, we get used to technology and sometimes need to catch up on the old button style or see all the improvements behind the scenes. This year, we took our experiments and insights to launch a more refined version of the app, packed with innovative features like real-time blooming information and the much-anticipated HiveTracks Community Recommendations, currently in its beta phase.
It sounds like 2023 was a year like no other. What unexpected challenges did you face?
Due to the macroeconomic conditions, raising funds took a lot of work. Still, we focused on what we could control, like enhancing our mobile app and diving into biodiversity.
I would agree with James. Funding was a hurdle, but we got creative, worked on ourselves as a team and our products while leaning on tools like ChatGPT, and listened closely to our beekeeper community to understand the highest priority items.
Which 2023 feature of The HiveTracks App had the most significant impact?
The inspection framework we have developed from years of experience and research is a game-changer for beekeepers.
Max The community loves our app's recommendations and journal entry record. It's like having a beekeeping buddy in your pocket!
Collaboration and community involvement are essential in the beekeeping world. Any exciting projects this year?
James Our inspection framework provides an excellent opportunity for informing the beekeeping community about what's happening in their area, and we’re working on collaborating with Booneshine Brewery for honey authentication through their sourcing of sourwood honey.
We could talk about many things here, but I want to highlight two. First, we want our community to learn as much as possible from each other. Second, we hosted buzzing webinars, like the honey production one that had us upgrading our Zoom license! You can watch it here if you missed it!
Sustainability and environmental impact are crucial in beekeeping. What steps did HiveTracks take in 2023 to promote sustainable beekeeping?
Max We're all about sustainable beekeeping, from James' Bee School to our blog posts, emails, and season-specific checklists. In fact, sustainability should be part of every practice we carry out. We also share best practices from the community as much as possible since the most sustainable practice you can do is to continue learning.
As for the environmental impact and biodiversity, as you may have seen in the app, we have a Document Flora record. With thousands of records, we will dive deeper into biodiversity monitoring next year, allowing us to work with beekeepers in our community to help monitor biodiversity.
What was HiveTracks' role in pollinator health and conservation over the past year?
We have put a lot of energy into creating a framework to understand pollinators' impact on the ecosystems they inhabit.
The role of tech and data should be to make access to knowledge easier while contributing to making what we do less complex or cumbersome. At HiveTracks, we used technology to simplify knowledge sharing, improve hive health, and encourage planting pollinator-friendly flowers.
Those are the key elements we have put in place this year to contribute to improved pollinator health and biodiversity. What if thousands of beekeepers worldwide improve their hive health every year? Pollinate more plants? Or even plant pollinator-friendly and native flowers? All while sharing and documenting their progress to inspire a community of beekeepers and beyond? We can't wait for 2024 to start!
Finally, as 2023 wraps up, what are you most proud of?
James Regarding our product, I am most proud of the new mobile app and the foundation we built for expanding in the new year to introduce innovation that has never been done before in the apiary management software space. Two of those innovations are community intelligence and data-driven honey authentication. On the investment side, I am most proud of our pivot into the biodiversity monitoring space and willingness to tackle a complex problem that will position us well for serious revenue growth in the coming year as we prove the business case.
I'm incredibly proud of so many things the HiveTracks team has accomplished this year. Still, I want to highlight three in particular. Let's start with the new app and how the community likes it. This year alone, we have seen over 10,000 records added by the beekeeping community - a significant milestone. Also, three out of four people who filled out our user survey either loved our app or were very positive about it.
The next item I want to highlight is something we have been working on this summer, which is particularly important to me. For many years, we have wanted to make data-driven honey authenticity a reality in our app. In fact, it's what spiked my fascination in the first place. I'm now very proud to share that we're almost there. We've been testing the new functionality for weeks and will tell you much more about it when the new season starts in the northern hemisphere. Finally, in line with what James mentioned, better understanding the linkages between bee health, biodiversity, and environmental health by monitoring, reporting, and verifying data from myriad sources is our goal when we launch our biodiversity monitoring proof of concepts next year.