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The ‘Nespresso for herbs’ raises to grow

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Charlie Gunningham
// // Leederville-based Urbotanica is raising funds to grow its smart garden business

Australia’s number one ‘indoor smart garden’, the UrbiPod, is closing off a round of equity crowd funding, having already raised $230K at the time of publication.

The round is set to end next week (25 Nov), with the Leederville-based startup on a mission to impact the war on waste, reduce food miles and packaging, as well as educate people on how to grow their own veggies and herbs from their kitchen tops.

Ray Hart with one of the Urbotanica UrbiPods

Did you know that 40% of fresh food ends up as landfill waste? So as a society we spend a lot of energy making, packaging and transporting food products to then throw out 40% of it.

Grow your own using our UrbiPod means less food packaging, less food miles, less food waste, less water and energy efficient. And better quality herbs, salads, microgreens and flowers.

Ray Hart, MD, Urbotanica

Equity crowdfunding in sustainable products and businesses is making a big splash, said Ray.

“Australians are clearly keen to invest in sustainability and to see young, clean and green Australian businesses thrive,” he said.

Recent raises on the Birchal crowdfunding platform include the Freo-designed electric bike (Tiller Rides $1.24m), personal-care and home-cleaning products to ‘de-plastic’ the world (Zero Co $5m) and ethical plant based beauty products (Kester Black $2.62m).

The UrbiPod

The UrbiPod aims to take the guesswork out of growing and turns brown thumb growers into green thumbs.

Its built-in irrigation system and automatic nutrient application delivers the right amount of water and nutrients to foster plant growth.

Energy-efficient LED lighting is self-timed and speeds the growing process up to three times faster than normal growing conditions. The lighting is highly energy-efficient, said Ray Hart, using about the same energy per year as your kettle.

The portable, contemporary design enables mobility around the home. Users can enjoy homegrown herbs, salads, micro greens and flowers all year-round in the convenience of their kitchen, he said.

Ray believes that just as other household appliances have become commonplace, so too will indoor smart gardens as consumers embrace growing their own at home.

“Recent equity crowdfunded investments in businesses making sustainable products show how keen individuals are to support companies with a social and ethical purpose.

“And there has been strong interest in this sector from big investors – AgriFoodTech raised US $30B in 2020 for startups – +30% over the previous year.

“Urbotanica is well placed to capitalise on these trends and our equity crowdfunding campaign can help us grow much faster, introduce new technology driven products and expand overseas.”


For more on the UrbiPod, visit their website and/or the Birchal platform.

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Picture of Charlie Gunningham

Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
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