The startup announced in the field of agricultural technology Pure Harvest Smart Farms It secured $ 60 million in financing to expand its operations in the Middle East, but said: It was an arduous task to try to raise the capital.
Pure Harvest Smart Farms – based in Abu Dhabi – grows fruits and vegetables in greenhouses in a desert The United Arab EmiratesAnd it has partnerships to do the same in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The harsh climate in the Middle East makes countries in the region highly dependent on food imports, and the Coronavirus pandemic last year highlighted food security risks.
Sky Kurtz CEO and co-founder said: Our experience in the desert has shown very promising results with the possibility of local production throughout the year with very high quality and very good cost.
He added that the startup is using the capital to build its bridgehead in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, It also has plans to expand its product portfolio.
The company raised $ 50 million through Islamic bonds, also known as sukuk, which are Sharia-compliant debt instruments.
Kurtz said: The sukuk issuance was Led An asset management and investment banking platform Shuaa Capital It caters to Pure Harvest Smart Farms’ long-term needs for a bold capital program in addition to their fast-growing nature.
Despite its success in raising capital, Kurtz noted that Pure Harvest Smart Farms received less funding compared to agricultural technology companies in the US and Asia.
He said: This is because the market for investment projects in the Middle East is less developed, but it is maturing rapidly, and it is still A relatively emerging market.
Kurtz acknowledged that raising $ 200 million in capital in the first phase is enormous both regionally and globally.
However, in an industry like ours – it is very capital intensive – we are still relatively underfunded, he said.
He pointed to companies, such as the US vertical farming company Plenty, which had raised more than $ 500 million.
“A lot of these companies got a lot more capital than we have, yet it is recognized that our market needs are great, and we mainly import between 80 and 90 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables in this region,” said Kurtz.
He added: The capital of Pure Harvest Smart Farms was sourced from all over the world and we had to fight for it because attracting investment capital to the Middle East is much more difficult. However, I think this is changing rapidly, and it is evident that we are very grateful to the partners we have.