Natufia Labs, the Estonia-based automated kitchen garden startup, announced today that it is relocating to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). KAUST is also leading a $3.5 million investment round in Natufia, awarding $2 million through the KAUST Innovation Fund. This brings the total amount of money raised by Natufia to $4.7 million.
Natufia makes an automated home gardening appliance about the size of refrigerator that automatically controls elements such as lighting, as well as water and nutrient dispensing. The $13,000 Natufia cabinet uses seedpods that are placed in a special unit to germinate before being transferred to pots to grow and be harvested. Right now, Natufia’s appliance can grow leafy greens, herbs and flowers.
In a press announcement sent to The Spoon, Natufia Labs CEO and Founder Gregory Lu said, “From Estonian icy-snow winters to the arid climate of Saudi Arabia, sustainable access to food supply is a global issue, so it is more than natural that this technology is thriving from Saudi Arabia.”
Problems with our existing food supply chain were revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, causing a surge of interest in consumer indoor agriculture products. A new wave of high-tech appliances automate all the “hard” parts about growing food, allowing people to more easily grow and control their own food supply. Other players in the space including Gardyn, AeroGrow and Click & Grow have all seen demand increase during the pandemic.
With its new funding, Natufia said it will accelerate the development of its next models, hopefully bringing the price down to something more affordable for even more people.