We’re a team of 14 (and counting) serial entrepreneurs, engineers and designers from Norway – and we're super geeky about plants.
The idea behind Auk came from our own needs
Auk started as a seedling in founder Marius Abel’s head. He’s an inventor, and was (and still is) interested in growing his own herbs and vegetables. But after trying every single product on the market, his conclusion was clear: the existing systems were either too simple and only controlled water – or far too complicated and difficult to use. Challenge accepted!
Inventing the EverGrow™ system
That’s where the idea for Auk first took root. Marius wanted a technology that was fully automatic, super easy to use, and that would yield continuous crops. The goal was to get a steady supply of fresh herbs, salads, and vegetables – that keeps on growing. The technological solution, which we call the EverGrow™ system, was born.
The EverGrow™ system is built on 3 main concepts that works together in perfect harmony:
- The nutrient mixer
- The full spectrum LED light
- The watering system
Combined, these 3 components are enough to create ideal conditions. The nutrient mixer feeds the right mix of nutrients, in the right ratios, so the plants always have the 14 essential minerals they need. In addition, the nutrients themselves are refillable – so the plants never go hungry, and can keep growing “forever” (hence the “Ever” in EverGrow).
To further support longevity, the full spectrum LED lights adjust its intensity, and color, depending on what you grow. It almost acts as a higher power: it can promote or prevent blooming. And all of this is controlled by Auk’s brain, which monitors conditions, and decides when to water, and when to feed nutrients.
Thanks to the EverGrow™ system, Auk creates close to perfect conditions for its inhabitants – making them flourish. Challenge completed!
The prototyping begins
In the beginning, the product and technology design took many different directions. Wall systems, in-drawer variants and various technical solutions were tested. Auk is full of electronics, software and completely new mechanical solutions – and it was difficult to pack this so that it both looked good and was easy to manufacture.
The biggest technical challenge: the nutrient mixer
Plants have very different nutritional needs, both depending on the type of plant and how old the plant is. In addition, edible plants, such as herbs and lettuce, are extra sensitive to malnutrition.
To combat this, we had to create a system that adapted to what we grew – a system that provided different nutrients to different types of plants. The nutrient mixer was born – an electromechanical system that mixes different types of nutrients.
The nutrient mixer was first based on syringes, before we landed on the current concept of motors and arms dosing nutrients from tree separate capsules.
This system also allowed us to make refillable capsules, so the plants never run out of nutrients. In this way, we finally had a system that could take care of the plants for a long time.
Final version of the nutrient mixer
Plant lights that replicates nature
It is not only the nutritional needs that vary from plant to plant, they also need different lighting. In nature, the plants follow the seasons, and use both the length of the day and the color of the light to know when to flower. Knowing this, we made our own full-spectrum plant light that adapts color, brightness and time cycle to the needs of the plants.
For example, Auk will give the plants a warmer light (more red color) that promotes flowering when you grow tomatoes and chilies. With the full spectrum light, we could also simulate sunrise and sunset, which can have a positive effect on the plants (and it looks very cool!).
Finalization of the concept
After countless hours, days and years of constant improvements, we finally landed on Auk – the new, revolutionary indoor garden.
Setup of production
After completion of the concept, we began working on production. Right from the start, we planned to produce Auk locally. It’s more expensive, but ensures higher quality and lower development risk, which was especially important to us in the beginning.
We also wanted to make Auk with environmentally friendly materials, and are now using biocomposite with 30 % algaes for minimal impact on the environment. In addition, we use as many local raw materials as possible.
Pre-order sales exceeded all expectations
We started a simple pre-order of Auk Norway-only, back in 2020. The sales numbers exploded, and we quickly realized the potential for Auk. Not only did we get a lot of customers, but we also received interest from large retailers across the country who wanted to offer Auk to their customers. To all of you who pre-ordered Auk in the beginning – thank you so much!
Shipping pre-orders and raising new capital
After delays from Covid, with global freight and raw material crisis, we began shipping Auk’s in May 2021. All of the pre-orders were delivered by September 2021, and Auk is now growing in several thousand Norwegian homes!
At this time, we also raised capital from well-known Norwegian investors. These funds are now used to strengthen the team, secure the supply chain and expand the offer to you as our customer.
Going forward, we’ll scale up both the company and our offer. There will be new seeds, accessories and lots of tutorials. The most important thing for us is that you succeed in growing your own greens – and we’ll make sure that happens!
Going international – with new people, new features, improved materials and new colors
Following our successful launch in Norway, we’re now offering Auk to the European market - with several new improvements:
- New, more sustainable plastic: biocomposite, containing 30 % natural algaes from Scandinavia
- New function: Dimmable light for a warmer, more cozy vibe
- New wood material: Walnut
- New, and even smarter (!) watering system
- And several other improvements.
We are growing in size – now counting 10 and have several new plant enthusiasts joining us on all teams in the coming months. It’s an understatement to say that we’re excited for what the future brings. We’re ready!
What you can do now:
If you have any questions, see our support center for info on how to use Auk.
If you want to get started with Auk, get yours here.
Thank you for stopping by our website (and reading all the way down here)!
Sincerely, The Auk team.