Estonian growing systems provider raises $3.5 million investment from Saudi Arabian university

Natufia, a Talinn, Estonia-based manufacturer of smart indoor food growing systems, announced the completion of a $3.5 million capital investment round.

The money was raised from investors led by the Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), through their venture capital investment arm, the KAUST Innovation Fund (KIF), as the start-up takes up residency at the KAUST Research and Technology Park (KRTP). Natufia, founded in 2014 by Gregory Lu and Lauri Kapp, builds self-contained, vertical indoor systems that use seed pods for growing leafy greens and herbs.

The company's product, the Natufia Kitchen Garden, is a household product that also answers many chefs’ needs, particularly regarding the difficulty of sourcing sustainable, high-quality products. The fridge-size appliance is easy to use, and plant growth is fully automated. It 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.

Gregory Lu, CEO and Founder, of Natufia 

“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. “Spinning-in talented, entrepreneurial, international start-ups is a priority for KAUST as we continue to enhance the growing innovation ecosystem in the Kingdom and establish KAUST as the Deep-Tech Heart of the Saudi Economy.”

The move is made possible by KAUST’s ability to invest and support diverse start-ups while offering new expertise and opportunities for further collaboration. Natufia is the latest in top talent that KAUST has attracted from around the world to energize the culture and community of start-ups in Saudi Arabia. The growing company also has a presence in both the U.S. and Europe. However, residing at KAUST will result in further R&D capabilities for innovation and create job opportunities supported by the University while showcasing Saudi Arabia as an obvious choice for business in the Middle East.

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