Pure Harvest takes $180m in latest funding round

The indoor farming start-up intends to extend across the GCC and secured a joint venture with South Korean vertical farmer Farm8 in October ahead of a planned expansion into Asia.

Controlled environment agriculture company Pure Harvest Smart Farms has closed a $180 million funding round co-led by Metric Capital Partners and the Olayan Group.

The United Arab Emirates-based agtech start-up will use the capital to invest in research and development, extend its footprint across the Gulf Cooperation Council and begin expanding into Asia.

Pure Harvest was also backed by South Korean investment firm IMM Investment, which deployed $50 million into the business in October as part of a $65 million growth capital round.

The indoor farming business announced a joint venture with Korean CEA company Farm8 in October – an IMM portfolio company – giving it access to new growing systems such as retail-integrated in-store farms and more than 100 commercially proven crops, according to the company.

IMM partner Hyun-Chan Cho said in statement: “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.”

In April 2020, Pure Harvest received a $100 million investment from Wafra International Investment Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait’s Public Institution for Social Security state office.

The first $10 million of the commitment formed the bulk of the agtech company’s $20.6 million Series A, which was announced alongside the additional $90 million investment.

Yousef Ghareeb, assistant vice-president at Wafra’s treasury department, told Agri Investor at the time that access to the majority of the outlay depended on the company successfully expanding into Saudi Arabia.

“It all depends on how things progress in Saudi Arabia,” said Ghareeb. “We appreciate Pure Harvest’s transparency when we attended a few meetings [with them] in Saudi at the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority [the country’s foreign investment license provider]. We’re comfortable knowing that the new regime in Saudi is supporting foreign direct investments.

“Based on our trip, we had comfort that the expansion in Saudi will go according to plan, especially having the government’s support in getting this foreign direct investment, and the food security [it will bring].”

Pure Harvest also received a portion of a $41 million investment from the Abu Dhabi Investment Office in November 2020, as part of its cash and non-cash incentives program for agtech companies.

The total capital raised to date by Pure Harvest stands at $387 million.