Dubai: The Saudi ‘agtech’ company Red Sea Farms has channelled in $10 million as venture funding support from Saudi and UAE investors. This is rated as one of the biggest investments in the region’s agtech space to date, with the investors including Aramco’s entrepreneurship entity Wa’ed.
Global Ventures is the UAE entity that has pumped money into this round. Launched in 2018, Red Sea Farms’ system primarily uses salt water, thus cutting out fresh-water consumption by 85-90 per cent. Salt water thus replaces fresh water typically used to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops.
Red Sea Farms plans to use the funding to build and retrofit more than six hectares of commercial farming operations in central and western Saudi Arabia. The company currently operates a salt-water pilot greenhouse at the KAUST Research & Technology Park.
The company is based at King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) 60 miles north of Jeddah. “We are proud to have designed, developed and delivered one of the world’s most sustainable agricultural systems from our base in Saudi Arabia,” said Ryan Lefers, Red Sea’s Chief Executive, who founded the company along with Mark Tester, Chief Scientist and Derya Baran, Chief Engineer. “The investment from our new partners will help us improve global food security while reducing the carbon and fresh-water footprint.”
The company currently operates a salt-water pilot greenhouse at the KAUST Research & Technology Park. It is initially using its technology to grow and sell tomatoes in Saudi Arabia, but plans to sell turnkey growing systems to buyers around the world.