UAE-based agtech Pure Harvest secures $100 million commitment from Kuwait’s Wafra, raises $20.6 million Series A
06 Apr 2020
Pure Harvest, a UAE-based agtech business has secured a $100 million multi-stage investment commitment from Wafra, a Kuwaiti investment firm with approximately $6 billion of assets under its management, the Abu-Dhabi-based startup announced today in a statement.
As part of commitment, Wafra is leading Pure Harvest’s $20.6 million Series A with an initial capital injection of $10 million.
Founded in 2016 by Sky Kurtz, Mahmoud Adi, and Robert Kupstas, Pure Harvest focuses on the production of greenhouse fruits and vegetables in the challenging climates of Gulf region using Dutch greenhouse growing technologies. Its first technology-enabled greenhouse in Abu Dhabi’s desert produces tomatoes year-round.
In their own words, Pure Harvest designs, builds and operates high-tech, climate-controlled greenhouse systems that convert the region’s abundant natural sunlight into premium quality, pesticide-free fresh fruits & vegetables.
“With core innovations in climate management solutions to maximize control of humidity and temperature, Pure Harvest has proven that it can create an optimal growing environment anywhere using substantially less water than traditional forms of agriculture,” said the startup in the statement.
The strategic investment which is the largest-ever secured by an agtech business in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey & Pakistan, will drive Pure Harvest’s development and deployment of advanced controlled-environment agriculture solutions across the region to sustainably grow premium quality fresh fruits & vegetables—regardless of outdoor climate conditions.
According to some estimates, the Gulf countries importing 90 percent of their food products as the poor soil and bad weather condition make farming very difficult there and that is what Pure Harvest is trying to address with its controlled-environment farming.
Sky Kurtz, the founder and CEO of Pure Harvest, in a statement, said, “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.”
This visionary multi-phase 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. Together with structured debt financing that we are simultaneously arranging, we will invest Wafra’s funds in growth, key hires, enhancing our technology portfolio, and ultimately to deliver our solution across the region – including in Wafra’s home market of Kuwait.” added the CEO.
It is not immediately clear how much of $100 million will be raised as debt financing.
Ghazi Al-Hajeri, CEO of Wafra, who will join Pure Harvest’s board of directors as a result of investment, commenting on the occasion, said, “Wafra’s investment into Pure Harvest acknowledges the significant potential of controlled-environment agriculture in solving the food security challenges facing the Arabian Gulf region, including Kuwait. 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.”
“When you combine the local abundance of sunlight with energy & water-efficient climate management systems, the region makes a compelling case as one of the best places in the world for horticulture – a ‘contrarian’ thesis we believe in and that led us to invest in Pure Harvest. We have earmarked USD $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,” he added.
Pure Harvest has previously raised over $8 million which includes $5.8 million seed, the largest of its time in the region. The $20 Million Series A takes total investment raised so far by Pure Harvest to over $28 million. Its previous investors include Shorooq Partners and Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF).