UAE-based Pure Harvest Smart Farms, an agriculture tech (agritech) startup, has raised $20.6 million in its Series A round, led by Kuwait-based Wafra International Investment Company which injected $10 million into the round with a multi-stage investment commitment of $100 million to support future expansion in the Middle East.
To date, this is the largest agritech investment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. Founded in 2016, Pure Harvest is one of the first hydroponic farms in Mena, growing tomatoes in a sensor-filled greenhouse. Its technology allows fruits and vegetables to be grown in a coconut shaving solution without the need for fertilisers and pesticides and uses just a fraction of the water needed for plants grown in soil.
“The global need for innovation in agriculture has never been greater. The recent COVID-19 crisis and resulting supply chain disruptions further highlight the need for sustainable local-for-local food production capacity, especially for fresh, nutrient-rich foods,” said Sky Kurtz, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Pure Harvest. “This…investment commitment from Wafra has given us the resources needed to secure our foothold as a pioneer in controlled-environment agriculture in the Middle East.”
Pure Harvest is also working with Wafra to arrange a structured debt financing which will help fuel its growth, enhance its technology and expand its team and presence in the GCC.
“The Arabian Gulf food system is undergoing a monumental shift toward a technology-enabled farming model in order to meet consumer demands for affordable, high quality foods,” said Ghazi Al-Hajeri, CEO at Wafra. “We have earmarked $100 million to support future expansions should the company continue to perform. We look forward to working alongside Pure Harvest to enhance food security, water conservation and economic diversification by building a more sustainable food future for Kuwait and our entire region.”
Earlier, the startup announced a strategic land, capital and advisory partnership with the UAE-based Alliances for Global Sustainability to drive the food security efforts of the country. The partnership secures more than 30 hectares of land in Abu Dhabi’s Al Ain area for Pure Harvest to expand its operations and grow its produce.
“It’s inspiring to see the ingenuity of home-grown entrepreneurs that have brought to life incredible ideas, such as these high-tech greenhouses in one of the harshest climates in the world,” said Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, founder and CEO at the Alliances for Global Sustainability. “Through this strategic collaboration, we are making great strides to advance Abu Dhabi’s position as a leader in agritech innovation, and I am proud to be supporting and advising Pure Harvest in the next step of its expansion. My hope is that we catalyse similar ventures to support our common goal here in the region.”
Pure Harvest had previously raised a total of $8.8 million in seed investment. This latest round brings its total investment to $29.4 million.