How HR's Bumblebee Plant Built

    Dedicated to HR professionals.

    What's the point of HR?
    Are they doing something? Can they do something?
    Sell, produce, carry, import, maybe submit reports?
    They recruit, write work books and throw parties.
    Everyday opinion.

    With age, men are divided into two groups: those who build cottages, and those who build factories.
    The second ones impress me more.
    Dmitry Volodin.



    It all started like everyone else


    The summer of the next crisis year was drawing to a close. Markets were falling. Business activity froze. The new business season did not promise anything new and interesting. Burnout turned into a deep and sticky procrastination. It's time to change something.

    I wanted something simple and specific: a candle factory, a cheese factory, to breed piglets, in the end. Build not a country house, but a factory. Specific, but some new, fun, exciting. For the soul to sing .... And we found it!

    Details under the cut.

    In August of that year, I went to a neighboring country for inspiration. The search for inspiration led me to the estate of my then partner and head of the venture capital fund in combination.

    Walking around the estate, we discussed the production of cheese, types of ham and other business initiatives. And quietly kicked. The control function of the brain decreased in both, fresh Forbes was found, where the bumblebee and entomophage market was described in one column. Growing, green and noble. And completely empty: not a single manufacturer in Eastern Europe. In the morning the column was re-read - the market seemed interesting in the morning. Good sign!
    And inspired I headed to the airport.

    So the idea was born: we will raise bumblebees, ladybugs and other useful animals!

    The idea begins to live. Pre-seed Stage


    All autumn we studied the market, searched for niches, read entomology and engaged in propaganda.



    Why do we need bumblebees?
    For pollination of fruits and vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, most varieties of cucumber, as well as raspberries, strawberries, cherries and a hundred crops ...
    Especially in protected ground - greenhouses.
    Bumblebees are several times more effective than bees, and the latter are not used at all in greenhouses.
    Bumblebee farming is not an ancient craft.
    Mankind has learned to control the diapause (hibernation) of bumblebees only in the 21st century, when the first iPhones have already entered the market.

    Total: Hi-End technology, excellent cost and open markets.



    By November, a business model began to emerge: bumblebees produced in eastern Europe would, by calculations, be several times cheaper than Western European ones. Analysis of the Russian market spoke of its inelasticity and the ability to dump. The franchising model seemed interesting: why carry bumblebees across three seas, if it is possible to build modular production directly near consumers?

    Under the influence of propaganda, five HRs, a Dutch IT entrepreneur, and a venture capital fund fell. During the winter holidays, we signed a Statement Agreement. In English and British Law. Everything is as it should be.

    Seed Round. January - May.


    Tasks: technology, logistics, advertising, customers, location.

    With technology, it was not easy. Everything, except for general words, turned out to be closed and classified. We were told about the Israeli kibbutz, where bumblebees were raised - how it was guarded no worse than the prime minister there. For direct inquiries we were given a price tag with six zeros in euros - and we retreated.

    I had to sign up for Leninka to read all the abstracts. And at the same time find the names of those who wrote them. As you know, it was a real head hunting.
    And we found him. One of two in Russia who knew how to raise bumblebees. And we went to visit him.



    It was in February, an old friend called me, asked:

    - Hello! How are you?
    - Good - I answer - I catch bumblebees!

    My friend was silent for a long time then. I thought - is it worth it to continue the conversation.
    February in the yard.



    And also marketing and advertising in five languages. We needed to understand and touch the market, and we began to research it in vivo (live). We talked with almost all the agronomists of greenhouses. They sold bumblebees, which they bought from others - at a loss, but they learned how to carry them and talk with customers.

    Looking for a place. Belarus seemed ideal. Especially the “High-Tech Park” - like clear tax and customs regimes and other preferences - we immediately aimed for export. The idea of ​​such a park, by the way, was later repeated in Skolkovo.

    Several trips to this country have scattered illusions. Everything was slow and sad there. “We cannot” - as the main refrain. At the slightest exertion - people just stopped taking handsets. Such a cultural feature.

    But completely unexpectedwe sold all the bumblebees . We have sold all promising bumblebees, which we have not yet seen ourselves. Finns.

    So the problem of location has ceased to be theoretical and has shifted to the practical plane - the Finns wanted specific deadlines and volumes.
    At that moment, the head of our investment fund remembered the ownerless winter garden on the edge of his estate. And we agreed.

    Summer. Building


    In fact, bumblebees are not about construction. Bumblebees - about hormones, enzymes, microclimatic regimes and veterinary medicine. Bumblebees - about technology.

    But the winter garden required total redevelopment, roof tiles, wall changes, air conditioning, ventilation and equipment. And we got drawings, estimates, sketches and specifications.

    I am proud that the entire project plan fit on page A4. I could no longer reach such heights in infographics.

    Another interesting experience: managing a construction site that goes a thousand kilometers.
    By that time, our team had grown: we found a real biologist in the state, a normal superintendent who liked the idea itself and was assigned a “looker” to us.

    But what without him?

    By the way, bumblebees eat pollen. But pollen should be frozen immediately upon delivery by bees to the hive. Pollen occurs only in spring and early summer. And pollen needed a few tons. Good task.

    We found some large apiaries. In ecologically clean places. So clean that not everyone could be reached in the rain. And they bought them huge freezers. Seeing the freezers delivered over five hundred kilometers, the beekeepers refused an advance payment and began to collect pollen.

    Construction comes to life


    In August, our factory came to life.

    Trucks with a fragile girl on board went to distant apiaries for pollen and brought it. For the year ahead. And the biologist girl learned to cook inverted syrup - and food appeared.

    We bought several imported bumblebee families and settled them at a bumblebee plant.
    Then they saved the breeding bumblebee. Literally: the day after the rescue, the light for non-payment was turned off in their former laboratory. And with light - climate control.

    Bumblebees buzzed, ate pollen, drank syrup, and life was getting better.



    Our biologist is calling. I ask:

    - How are you?
    - Today was a trial pairing!

    Great phrase!
    Imagine. Come up to the girl and say: "let's do some mating with you."
    Who will refuse? It's just a trial.



    Ahead of us were fascinating tasks about production, packaging and logistics.

    the end


    Then it was all over. One day. No comment, but bumblebees are alive and growing.
    We did not go to a London court to defend our corporate rights.

    So one day a new and export-oriented industry appeared in one country.
    It was created by 5 people. Who were they?

    Merchants, accountants, geologists, technologists or IT specialists? The oligarchs?
    Not. A new industry in the whole country was created by the Eichars.

    And this article is dedicated to all of them.

    Photos from the construction site and little-known facts about bumblebees here .

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