Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a tech-enabled arid climate agribusiness based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, has secured historic seed investment of USD $4.5 million in a new financing round.
The financing round was significantly oversubscribed, the company says, and follows an earlier USD $1.1 million pre-seed round led by Abu Dhabi-based Shorooq Investments.
Venture financing was provided by a federal government-backed fund, the company’s technology partners, and a consortium of Angel investors from around the world, all attracted by the company’s mission to offer a food security solution to the region by deploying advanced and sustainable controlled-environment agriculture technologies in order to grow local fresh fruits & vegetables year-round; overcoming the region’s harsh, arid climate and increasingly scarce fresh water resources.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund the construction of Pure Harvest’s inaugural high-tech, fully climate controlled greenhouse facility in Nahel, United Arab Emirates. The company expects to complete the facility by mid-year and to begin selling its products in the second half of 2018.
Sky Kurtz, co-founder & CEO of Pure Harvest said the financing is an important milestone for the company. “We now have sufficient capital to deploy our solution on a commercial scale and to demonstrate to our many stakeholders a future where high quality, sustainably grown, fresh local produce can be abundantly available every single day… and at a lower cost & environmental impact than current imports. We are humbled that such an esteemed group of investors, advisors & partners share our vision and are willing to back us to transform food production in the Middle East.”
Pure Harvest intends to quickly expand in the region, recognising that other GCC countries are facing the same challenges that the UAE faces with regards to import-dependence, water shortages, and climate-driven production constraints.
Pure Harvest also announced the appointment of a new advisor and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) local partner, Sultan bin Khalid Al Saud. Sultan is a fellow Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus who brings a wealth of experience to the Company, having worked for Saudi Aramco, McKinsey, and Passport Capital. He will be working with the company to enable near-term expansion into the Saudi market.
In addition to receiving investment from Shorooq Investments and Sultan bin Khalid, Pure Harvest is backed by other angel investors such as David Scott, a well-known economic and strategy advisor to regional governments and state-owned enterprises; Magnus Olsson, founder and managing director of Careem; Hazem Abu Khalaf, CFA, director at The Abraaj Group; Jim Finnigan, co-founder of SoFi; Peter Satow, founder & CEO of PESA Advanced Hydroponics; Abdulrahman Kaki; Anmol Budhraja, Founder and CEO and Arnab Chatterjee, managing director of Three Comma Financial Consultancy; Charles Anderson, founder & CEO of Currency; Florian Weidinger, fund manager at NESTOR Far East Fund; Douglas Kelbaugh FAIA, professor and former dean at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Mohammed Khudairi, managing partner of Khudairi Group; Troels Andersen, CEO of Mondo Ride; Husam and Muhammed Al Zubair of The Zubair Corporation; Bina Khan and James Joy, co-founders and managing partners of Summit Venture Partners; Edmund Ang, CFA, vice president at First Energy Bank; and Theodore Cleary, director at Crito Capital, among others.