Veganism boom leads to $1.2 million seed funding growth for high-tech garden startup

Natufia Labs, Estonian-born startup developing machine-learning technology that grows plants right in the kitchen, announced the closing of a $1.2-million seed round led by Butterfly Ventures, Techstars, and the Dubai-based family company Ginco Investments. The funds raised will be used to enable the company to expand into Europe and the US and will be on sale imminently.

"Natufia Labs' dynamic team has a groundbreaking impact on producing fresh food and changing the ways people consume it," shares Juho Risku, partner at Butterfly Ventures. "Natufia Labs is changing the traditional agriculture model, which has $10B+ in annual revenue in the United States alone."

Around 70% of the world's consumers have reduced or completely cut out meat consumption from their diets. With veganism rising by 600% in the US and 350% in the UK, the global appetite for meat-free and plant-based diets is driving the market to be worth $5.2 billion by 2020. The sales of vegetables alone is estimated to increase by 20% by 2021. However, consumers are struggling to keep this produce fresh and on average one third is thrown away. Estonian-born startup, Natufia Labs is bridging this gap by offering consumers sustainable agriculture at home.

The Natufia Kitchen Garden automatically grows fresh plants, vegetables, flowers and herbs in households and restaurant kitchens all year round. Using machine learning and real-time data analysis the connected garden will process environmental changes and adjust its settings accordingly. The automation increases the vitamin levels by 400%. Currently Natufia offers more than 30 types of fully organic and recycled seed capsules including popular herbs and plants such as basil and kale. The Natufia Kitchen Garden has been built using stainless steel, ceramics and integrating a built-in touch screen.

"Consumers are more aware than ever about what they are buying and they want to know what is on their plate, where it came from, who made it and if it was traded fairly. The Natufia Kitchen Garden empowers consumers to grow their own produce at home. The future depends on the decentralization of food production." says Gregory Lu, CEO of Natufia Labs.

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