UAE-based Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a technology-enabled agribusiness, announced on October 27, that it has secured $64.5m in growth capital to accelerate the company’s expansion and technology development efforts.
The new funding scales the company’s cumulative invested capital to $271.6m. The round was led by Korea’s private investment firm IMM Investment Corp., together with existing investors and management.
The funding accompanies Pure Harvest’s joint venture partnership with PlanTFarm, one of the world’s largest vertical farming solutions providers, whereby the partners will jointly design, build and operate indoor vertical farms, using PlanTFarm’s proprietary vertical farming systems, a statement said.
The farming technology partnership enables Pure Harvest Smart Farms to serve as an “omnibus” controlled-environment solutions provider, adding new controlled environment agriculture (CEA) growing systems to its existing portfolio (ranging from retailer-integrated in-store farms to warehouse-style indoor vertical farms), and adds over 100 commercially proven crops.
Citigroup Global Markets acted as financial advisor and placement agent on the transaction.
Sky Kurtz, founder and chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome IMM as the latest global institutional investor to fund our mission. This is a landmark financing for Pure Harvest for 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 through serial investments in Farm8 and PlanTFarm, leading Korean agribusiness and vertical farming ventures.
“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 localising food production anywhere – even in the harshest climate environments.”
Currently, Pure Harvest operates three farms in the UAE with its fourth and fifth projects under development in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, respectively. The company currently produces a variety of crops including tomatoes, leafy greens and strawberries. Upon final completion of the aforementioned in-progress projects, the company will operate over 18 hectares of production capacity across numerous crops and will employ over 300 people, the statement added.
Hyun-Chan Cho, partner of IMM said: “We are 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 MENASA region.”
Tariq Sanad, chief financial officer at Pure Harvest, commented: “This investment by IMM underscores the strength of the institutional investors’ appetite for CEA investments in MENASA. We will use the proceeds to fund our existing GCC projects, to drive R&D
initiatives, and to expand our team, while at the same time seeding a beachhead in Asia.
“IMM now joins the ranks of existing institutional investors which include Franklin Templeton, Wafra International Investment Company, SHUAA Capital, Sancta Capital, Archer Private Investments, 2040 Fund, and many others. Early-stage Angel investors and existing management also invested over $7m in the round, evidencing the strength of insiders’ conviction in the company’s prospects.”
In March this year, Pure Harvest Smart Farms raised $60m in a funding round.
Also read: The Rainmakers: The UAE’s startup stars