The UAE’s Pure Harvest Smart Farms has raised $64.5 million in a funding round led by South Korean investment manager IMM. A number of “existing investors and insiders” also took part in the fundraise, according to a company statement.
At the same time, Pure Harvest announced the formation of a joint venture with PlanTFarm, a South Korean provider of tech solutions to the vertical farming industry that has also received investment from IMM.
“This is a landmark financing for Pure Harvest two reasons: first, IMM is one of Asia’s most respected and successful alternative investors, signaling the strength of our investment case; and second, the firm has been a longstanding investor in controlled-environment agriculture [CEA] through serial investments in Farm8 and PlanTFarm, leading Korean agribusiness and vertical farming ventures,” Sky Kurtz, Pure Harvest founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“They understand the market opportunity and the merits of our solutions, and IMM will bring tremendous value supporting our expansion into Asia. Most importantly, we share the same values and vision for building a more resilient and sustainable food system for the world, tackling food security challenges, and localizing food production anywhere – even in the harshest climate environments.”
Pure Harvest operates three indoor farming facilities in the UAE — mainly growing tomatoes, strawberries, and leafy greens — with a further two under construction in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Once complete, the five farms will cover 18 hectares and employ around 300 people, according to the Abu Dhabi-based startup.
“We will use the proceeds to fund our existing [Persian Gulf region] projects, to drive R&D initiatives, and to expand our team, while at the same time seeding a beachhead in Asia,” said chief financial officer Tariq Sanad.
The collaboration with PlanTFarm will add over 100 new crops to Pure Harvest’s portfolio and expand the number of indoor formats it offers, enabling it to be an “omnibus” CEA solutions provider.
IMM partner Hyun-Chan Cho — a former director at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation who’s joining Pure Harvest’s board — said his firm was “impressed with Pure Harvest’s journey, their compelling business case, and their ability to reliably produce in one of the most challenging environments in the world.”
“This year underlined just how vulnerable global supply chains are, and we believe Pure Harvest is one of the game-changing companies that, through pioneering CEA in harsh climates, will deliver a sustainable source of food to the [Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia],” he added.