Abu Dhabi based Pure Harvest has been expanding its farming footprint. The latest funds give its operations some serious heft. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE-based agritech firm Pure Harvest raised $180.5 million (Dh662 million) in its latest growth funding round. The funding was led by a consortium of global investors, including UK-based Metric Capital Partners and Saudi group Olayan. There were also contributions from South Korea-based IMM Investment Corp. and several existing investors.

Pure Harvest will utilize the capital, together with various forms of debt financing, on R&A to expand its footprint across the GCC, and to open new markets in Asia. The funding round was ‘vastly oversubscribed’, and a few strategic investors are still in discussions for further upsizing, underscoring “the strong institutional investor appetite for Pure Harvest,” a statement said.

“Now, it is time to enter new markets that share similar challenges to our own – fast-growing populations, seasonal import-dependence, and an awareness of the crippling effects that short-term crises, and climate change, are having on our global food system,” said Sky Kurtz, co-founder and CEO at Pure Harvest.

IMM Investment Corp had announced an initial $50 million investment in Pure Harvest in October. “Due to our longstanding successful investment in Farm8, we knew the CEA space well,” said Hyun-Chan Cho, Partner at IMM. “With Pure Harvest, we saw a complementary solution that let us double-down on an investment thesis that we continue to believe in, and that tangibly contributes to global food security, water conservation, economic diversification, and sustainability objectives.”

“It’s clear that controlled-environment agriculture is becoming increasingly important as a solution to food security issues while also mitigating the environmental impact of food production,” said Bjørn Tessiore, Partner at Metric Capital Partners. “We believe Pure Harvest is extremely well positioned to thrive in this growing market driven by its excellent team, innovative approach, and proven track record of building and operating at scale in a region characterized by difficult climatic conditions for agriculture.”

For Saudi conglomerate Olayan, “Pure Harvest’s character aligns closely to our own: they saw an impending global food security crisis and have taken an important step to solve it,” said a company spokesperson. “I believe this funding will allow them to unleash significant potential, and to meet growing food demands in many new markets.”

Pure Harvest recently acquired BayWa’s controlling interest in the Al Dahra BayWa joint venture. The new venture is set to raise Pure Harvest’s total operating capacity under management to 22 hectares.

Pure Harvest
Founded in Abu Dhabi, Pure Harvest focuses on year-round, sustainable production of fresh fruits and vegetables. The startup leverages innovative tech and horticultural practices to enable local-for-local production of affordable, sustainably-grown fresh produce. Given the Gulf's reliance on food imports from South Asia and Europe, regional agritech firms will play a big role going forward. Globally, the ‘smart’ agriculture market is expected to grow from $12.9 billion in 2021 to $20.8 billion by 2026, according to some estimates.