Harvesting strawberries on the windowsill in winter? urgrow with its completely biodegradable indoor farming system with daylight technology makes it possible. In less than a year, the Leipzig startup, starting with the development on paper, created a new product already being produced on an industrial scale: the urgrow Basecamp.
Urgrow emerged from a student project. At that time, co-founder Pascal Wolf won the innovation prize for the best startup concept with his “germinated” idea in the Munich University of Applied Sciences’ incubator program. Investing the prize money in developing prototypes, Pascal Wolf had testers involved to rate the product. “It quickly became apparent that people wanted organic quality, which was not available for indoor farming systems at the time. Most products of this type consist of conventional components with inorganic carrier materials such as rock wool or expanded clay. Although these are inexpensive to produce, they are highly chemically contaminated, unhealthy for humans and have a high energy consumption in their production”, says Pascal Wolf.
In his new professional life, he found like-minded people in his colleague Carsten Kremser and Florian Hetzner. The three founded the company urgrow a little over a year ago. What started out as a three-person team has already grown to 18 employees. Three of them are PhDs from the fields of biology, physics and IT because it’s not quite as simple as it seems. Involving scientists from the start: “We developed a plant-specific nutrient medium for the 11 plants we currently offer: BrightSoil TM. This soil contains the optimal nutrient composition and – depending on the conditions – provides the plant with an exact amount of water, the right ventilation and natural nutrients. It works completely without chemicals and without the user having to regulate anything. Everything runs along the lines of nature, which knows best what is right for her. In principle, we took nature and built a digital system on it,” enthuses Pascal Wolf.