Estonian foodtech startup Natufia Labs, which was born at Garage48 competition in Tartu, is moving to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which is leading $3.5 million investment round with $2 million to Natufia through their venture capital investment arm.
Natufia says it has developed the world’s first smart indoor kitchen garden — providing technology to harvest herbs, leafy greens and vegetables at home.
“We are delighted to welcome our latest spin-in partner, Natufia Labs, to the Kingdom and support their expansion in the region – and the world,” said Kevin Cullen, vice president of KAUST Innovation and Economic Development.
Natufia’s fridge-size fully-automated appliance comes as a self-contained cabinet that provides the optimal combination of water, lighting and nutrients to grow plants, providing as much as two harvests per day.
“The current COVID-19 crisis has shown how much we must rely on locally produced food. Thanks to the scientific partnership we are establishing with KAUST and the talents we will hire from the Kingdom, we will accelerate the development of our next models and service the increasing demand of our products,” said Gregory Lu, CEO and founder at Natufia.
“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,” Lu said.
Previous investors of Natufia Labs include Butterfly Ventures (Finland), Techstars (USA) and the family-office Ginco Investments (UAE), who remain minority shareholders.
The 2009-founded King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the world’s most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the areas of food, water, energy and the environment.