- Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a UAE controlled environment ag (CEA) company, has raised $180.5 million in its latest funding round.
- The convertible note financing was led by the billionaire Olayan family, which runs one of Saudi Arabia’s largest conglomerates, the Olayan Group.
- Also participating in the round were the UK’s Metric Capital Partners and South Korea’s IMM Investment.
- The funding will go into expansion in the Middle East as well as entering new markets in Asia such as South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
- Pure Harvest had raised $64.5 million last year in a round led by IMM. Today’s capital injection brings the total amount raised by the startup to $387 million.
Why it matters:
Gulf countries are predisposed to harsh climatic conditions, limited water supply, and a lack of cultivable land. This means they must source the vast majority of fresh produce overseas. The UAE imports almost 90% of its food, costing it an estimated $14 billion in 2020.
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting supply chains globally, many countries in the Gulf and farther afield have sought to build localized food production capacity.
Pure Harvest is among the companies jumping on this opportunity. Its high-tech, climate-controlled greenhouses are able to grow crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and strawberries in the middle of the UAE desert.
Founded in 2016 by Sky Kurtz, Mahmoud Adi, and Robert Kupstas, the Abu Dhabi-based company says it “buys what it can and builds what it must.” It operates four farms in the UAE and another in Saudi Arabia.