A Chat with BVT’s Chairman on the
Agri-Tech Firm’s Massive Growth and Success
Bee Vectoring Technologies’ Chairman, Michael Collinson, recently sat down with Omri Wallach of Stockhouse Media to discuss BVT’s growth from an R&D initiative seven years ago to an award-winning and headline-making company with EPA-approval and a rapidly rising stock today. Read the full interview below, or listen to the complete podcast (14 minutes) embedded here.
Stockhouse: Today we’re joined by Michael Collinson, Chairman of Bee Vectoring Technologies, or BVT. BVT is a rapidly growing agri-tech company behind a radical new farming technology, making waves in the media and the market.
Instead of using pesticides, Bee Vectoring relies on bees to transport beneficial microbes or biologicals directly to flowers. And the Company’s biological, CR-7 recently won EPA approval in the US.
Mr. Collinson has more than 35 years of experience in international manufacturing, marketing, and sales management. From 2012 to 2016 he served as President and CEO of BVT and was responsible for encouraging the company’s growth from an R&D initiative to a commercial opportunity.
Thank you very much for joining us Michael.
Michael: Thank you for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Stockhouse: Michael, BVT has been getting a lot of recognition lately since acquiring its first EPA approval. But for your team, this isn’t a new story. How much work has gone into the company’s proprietary technology?
Michael: It’s been 15 years of research into a unique microbe and 10 years working in perfecting a dispensing process using bumblebees and honeybees that translates into numerous field trials, extensive patent portfolio, and continuous improvement of our technologies. It’s been 15 years of hard work to get here. (Eight years under the BVT company, and seven previous years by the scientists.)
Stockhouse: Since CR-7 secured EPA approval in late August, that story has progressed. BVT was rewarded first with headlines, and more recently with a large contract with a Florida strawberry grower. What has the approval meant for the company?
Michael: With EPA approval, we are finally able to make claims about the biological control. Prior to that, we could not make those claims and could not sell into the United States. With that approval, it gives us the license to hunt now in the United States to get sales. It is an endorsement from the EPA that this product is safe for humans, safe for the environment, safe for bees. We’ve spent three years working with the EPA to get this approval. We’ll be the first bee vectored product in the United States.
Stockhouse: You couldn’t claim that it was as beneficial as it is, but you knew about it for a while and have been waiting for the approval in order to be able to start rolling. Is that right?
Michael: That is correct. This is a feel good story in many ways. We deliver a biological, which is a naturally occurring beneficial fungus found indigenously throughout North America, in fact around the world. Our particular strain is extremely good at assisting and enhancing plant growth while at the same time controlling diseases. You can’t go around saying that until you’ve proven it, and until the EPA has approved it. So we’ve had to remain fairly quiet. But you’ll begin to see us more and more in the news.
Stockhouse: Even more recently, you’ve announced more positive EPA results with CR-7 receiving a Residue Tolerance Exemption. Could you clarify how that adds to the value proposition of the biological?
Michael: It’s a very important endorsement. What it means is that, as a grower, if you decide to apply a pesticide or a control agent to your crop, you need to do it in such a way or in such a fashion to ensure that there is no residue remaining in the crop when you ship it. And in many instances, that’s not the case when you use chemicals. However, if you get a Residue Tolerance Exemption, you can apply this product without having to test for any residue. As an example, if you are an apple grower in Oregon and you are shipping your products to another country and they said you have to test for a residue, by the time you have shipped your product, it may be halfway across the Pacific before you actually know what is in your product.
In our case you don’t have to test for that product. The consequence of that is it makes it a much easier decision and a high adoption rate when you have a product like ours, which is deemed to be safe and with no residue.
Stockhouse: A lot of investors might be learning about bee vectoring, biologicals and even agriculture for the first time as an investment opportunity. What are some of the biggest factors that you think they should be aware of?
Michael: The world is going to have 10 billion people in the next two decades. In order to feed those people, agriculture has to double its production. And it has to do that in the face of increased consumer pressure on chemicals, using less water and less arable land.
This is not the first time this has happened in history. The first revolution of course was when we started to use products like nitrogen and potassium to enhance our growth. And the second revolution was using chemical pesticides and GMO. And the current greening revolution, which has been underway for some 10 to 15 years, is the move away from chemicals to biologicals. Biologicals are where the industry is going.
Food is a $12 trillion business around the world and pesticides and fertilizers account for $240 billion market.
So this is a substantial market in which we’re playing and we’re neatly poised in the new revolution to access both the biologicals market.
But even more important is our targeted application process, which we do through bees. So if you can imagine major companies are developing very sophisticated compounds that have to be targeted directly to specific areas of a crop. And here comes a company like BVT, which can deliver these very expensive products in an extremely efficient manner. It makes us very unique.
Stockhouse: As you said, we’re talking about a massive market here. Overall, where do you see BVT currently fitting into that large agricultural market?
Michael: We access currently a $20 billion market, which is where the biological market is growing currently. We have our own biological and we have an application process, which is highly unique – we’re world leaders in that area. So we’re accessing a $20 billion market with one product.
But our application process will allow us over time to add other people, other companies and their products to that application process and substantially increase our revenue.
So you can imagine each time we add a new product to the delivery process, you can almost double your revenue depending on the crops you’re working with. So there is significant potential in this particular area and biologicals are growing about 15 to 20% a year.
We’re definitely in the right area with the right application process and a biological product.
Stockhouse: You touched on potentially adding new products, and moving forward you’ve also stated that the company is positioned with not just new product but multiple branches of growth. Can you elaborate to investors on these branches?
Michael: When you grow a market in the agricultural business, you typically start in one specific or two specific crops. So in our case we started in blueberries and strawberries and also sunflowers. But our product works on all crops. There are 115 major crops in the world, 87 of which require pollination. So you could expand your business by going into more crops. And then the next aspect of it is then you expand into different countries.
In our case, for example, we’ve already got EPA registration in the United States. We are hoping to have our registration in Mexico, which is a substantial market, at the end of 2020. We’re applying inside Europe, which will be our biggest market, with 27 different countries there. Of course Canada and Latin and South America. So countries, crops, and then you can add more products by different companies. So substantial growth is expected over the next three to four years.
Stockhouse: You touched on exploring many different things, including new products and crops. What can you share about what BVT’s researchers or partners are currently looking at?
Michael: We have 15 conversations going on right now with possible partnerships around the world and in different products. We’re also looking at three or four in-licensed products, which means we can put them into our own trays and distribute them through the vector process. On top of that, we’re also in discussion with companies where we continue with our mission for highly targeted application processes using systems like seed coating, foliar sprays, and drones. All of that work is in place right now.
Stockhouse: Moving forward into international markets, how does BVT’s successful EPA approval of CR-7 factor into further expansion, whether you’re looking at the US or international markets?
Michael: Well, the EPA was chosen because it is a gold standard around the world. It is a highly recognized registration process and once you have that in the United States, other countries tend to look more favorably on you as you enter into their own registration process. It was a critical milestone for us, especially when you consider that this is a brand new application process with a brand new biological. It was a major milestone and to accomplish it in the time that we did was exceptional.
Stockhouse: Michael, given your position as chairman and considering your vast experience in the industry, where do you see BVT’s potential over the longer term?
Michael: It’s an interesting company because BVT has the ability to enable a lot of other companies to bring new products to market, which they currently would not be able to do. If you use the current methods of application such as spraying, where 98% of the product ends up in the wrong area, and when your product can cost literally thousands of dollars per acre, you want to make sure that your targeted application is critical. It’s essential that it happens correctly. We’re beginning to have conversations with people who understand that. They’ve spent millions and millions of dollars developing products. How do they apply it? They certainly can’t apply it using the old boom sprayers where 98% ends up in the wrong place. So BVT is going to be in a highly desirable position of being one of the highly targeted and a 100% natural and organic application process.
I think we have a very, very bright future just based upon our application process. But if you tie that into our ability to deliver our own extremely good beneficial microbe, which affects most crops and in an extremely beneficial way, not only does it give high yield increases, but also controls ubiquitous diseases. We are now in a position where we have the enviable position of being world leaders in application, and also an extremely good biological. So I see a very bright future and we’re in a unique position. It’s a great time to invest in the company.
Stockhouse: Speaking on your last point, what can you tell our investor audience interested in Bee Vectoring Technology stock right now?
Michael: Personally, I believe that this company is a highly undervalued company. The cost to bring a new pesticide or biological control to market is literally in the millions of dollars. If we were a large agricultural company, you would expect to have spent $50 to $100 million to get to where we are right now. So when we have a current market cap of $20 to $30 million, you see that we’re under-valued. As we grow and you begin to see farmers and growers accepting our product and adopting it, you’ll see us move into other countries like Mexico and Europe. You will begin to see the value in this company grow substantially and rapidly. So this is a great time, this very moment, to be investing with BVT.
Stockhouse: Thank you very much Michael, for your answers and your insights.
Michael: My pleasure. Thank you for having me on your show.