- UAE-based agritech startup Pure Harvest Smart Farms has secured $64.5 million in growth capital from Korean private investment firm IMM Investment alongside existing investors.
- Founded in 2016 by Sky Kurtz, Mahmoud Adi and Robert Kupstas, Pure Harvest uses hydroponic technology to grow fruits and vegetables in harsh desert climates. The company currently operates three farms in the UAE with its fourth and fifth projects under development in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, respectively.
- The new round of investment will be used to develop its technology and accelerate Pure Harvest’s expansion across the MENASA region.
- Pure Harvest has also entered a joint venture partnership with Korea’s PlanTFarm, a vertical farming solutions provider and a portfolio of IMM Investment. The two agritech companies will jointly design, build and operate indoor vertical farms.
- To date, Pure Harvest has raised $271.6 million in capital, the largest amount raised by an agritech startup in Mena.
Pure Harvest Smart Farms (the “Company”), a leading sustainable technology-enabled agribusiness, today announced that it has secured US $64.5 million in growth capital to accelerate the Company’s expansion and technology development efforts. This latest financing round was led by Korea’s leading private investment firm IMM Investment Corp. (“IMM”), together with existing investors and management.
Sky Kurtz, Founder and Chief Executive, commenting on the announcement, said: “We are delighted to welcome IMM as the latest global institutional investor to fund our mission. This is a landmark financing for Pure Harvest two reasons: first, IMM is one of Asia’s most respected and successful alternative investors, signaling the strength of our investment case; and second, the firm has been a longstanding investor in controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) through serial investments in Farm8 and PlanTFarm, leading Korean agribusiness and vertical farming ventures. They understand the market opportunity and the merits of our solutions, and IMM will bring tremendous value supporting our expansion into Asia. Most importantly, we share the same values and vision for building a more resilient and sustainable food system for the world, tackling food security challenges and localising food production anywhere – even in the harshest climate environments. We are proud to partner with IMM and would like to welcome IMM’s Partner, Hyun-Chan Cho, the former director of Infrastructure & Natural Resources, Asia Pacific, at International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group) to our board of directors.”
Today Pure Harvest operates three (3) farms in the UAE with the Company’s fourth and fifth projects under development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, respectively. The Company currently produces a variety of crops including tomatoes, leafy greens and strawberries, and is gaining widespread recognition as the trusted fresh produce brand, recognized as the GCC’s homegrown CEA champion. Upon final completion of the beforementioned in-progress projects, the Company will operate over 18 hectares of production capacity across numerous crops and will employ over 300 people.
Commenting for IMM, Hyun-Chan Cho, Partner of IMM said: “We are impressed with Pure Harvest’s journey, their compelling business case, and their ability to reliably produce in one of the most challenging environments in the world. This year underlined just how vulnerable global supply chains are, and we believe Pure Harvest is one of the game-changing companies that — through pioneering CEA in harsh climates — will deliver a sustainable source of food to the MENASA region. We highly value the caliber and pedigree of the management team, the strong sense of mission, and the high-performance culture at the Company. As a leading investor in Ag-tech in Asia, we look forward to working closely to support Pure Harvest’s expansion further into Asia.”
Tariq Sanad, Chief Financial Officer at Pure Harvest commented: “This investment by IMM underscores the strength of the institutional investors’ appetite for CEA investments in MENASA. We will use the proceeds to fund our existing GCC projects, to drive R&D initiatives, and to expand our team, while at the same time seeding a beachhead in Asia. IMM now joins the ranks of existing institutional investors which include Franklin Templeton, Wafra International Investment Company, SHUAA Capital, Sancta Capital, Archer Private Investments, 2040 Fund, and many others. Early-stage Angel investors and existing management also invested over USD 7 million in the round, evidencing the strength of insiders’ conviction in the Company’s prospects.”
The funding announcement accompanies Pure Harvest’s joint venture partnership with PlanTFarm, one of the world’s largest and most innovative vertical farming solutions providers, whereby the partners will jointly design, build and operate indoor vertical farms, deploying PlanTFarm’s cost-efficient proprietary vertical farming systems. The joint venture was motivated by IMM Investment, the largest shareholder in PlanTFarm.
This first-of-its-kind smart farming technology union enables Pure Harvest Smart Farms to serve as an “omnibus” controlled-environment solutions provider, adding new CEA growing systems to its existing portfolio (ranging from retailer-integrated in-store farms to large-scale, warehouse-style indoor vertical farms), and adds 100+ commercially proven crops, including [to confirm list of most exciting, commercially relevant crops that are proven in PF’s systems]. This gives rise to the broadest technology suite and resulting fresh produce product range of any smart farming solutions provider anywhere in the world.
Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner, Shorooq Partners said: “We are proud to have backed Pure Harvest from the beginning and are encouraged that our original investment is securing significant interest from global financial investors. Our goal is to back founders who have a strong sense of purpose and Pure Harvest is building the right solution for a world in which we will have less water and more extreme climate conditions. Pure Harvest is not just a regional champion, but a pioneer that will take its solutions to scale internationally.”
Citigroup Global Markets acted as financial advisor and placement agent on the transaction.