Saudi-based sustainable AgTech firm raises $16m pre-series A funding round

Ryan Lefers, Co-Founder & CEO, with Mark Tester, Co-Founder & CSO
Ryan Lefers, Co-Founder & CEO, with Mark Tester, Co-Founder & CSO

Dubai - Initial investor group includes Aramco venture Wa'ed, the Future Investment Initiative Institute and KAUST from Saudi Arabia, and Global Ventures of the UAE.

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A Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 15 Aug 2021, 11:07 PM

Last updated: Tue 17 Aug 2021, 8:15 AM

Red Sea Farms, a Saudi Arabian AgTech business whose one-of-a-kind technology enables the commercial farming of produce using primarily salt water and sunlight, has successfully closed its latest funding round.

A $10 million investment target has been exceeded as strong confidence helped raise $16 million from leading Saudi, UAE and USA investors.

The increased investment accelerates Red Sea Farms’ ability to expand their Saudi and Middle East operations as well as exploring growth opportunities in the US where growing conditions are harsh.

An initial investment of $10 million came from a group of Saudi and UAE investors including the Aramco venture Wa’ed, the Saudi government-owned Future Investment Initiative, Institute, KAUST and Global Ventures, a UAE venture capital group. Interest was subsequently received from AppHarvest and Bonaventure, investors from the United States of America who have provided $6 million.

AppHarvest is an applied technology company building some of the world’s largest indoor farms in Appalachia. The company combines conventional agricultural techniques with cutting-edge technology and is addressing key issues including improving access for all to nutritious food, farming more sustainably, building a home-grown food supply, and increasing investment in Appalachia. The Company’s 60-acre Morehead, KY facility is among the largest indoor farms in the US.

App Harvest uses recycled rainwater in their greenhouses, in contrast to Red Sea farms’ focus on solar and salt-water growing systems that can be quickly and easily scaled in marginal agriculture climates such as the Middle East.

Bonaventure invests in companies with a strong initial product-market fit as evidenced by customer adoption and revenue traction, clear trajectory for developing sustainable competitive advantages, and management teams passionate about solving problems for their customers and capable of scaling their businesses.

Ryan Lefers, chief executive officer of Red Sea Farms, said: “Red Sea Farms is thrilled to have substantially exceeded its target for the current funding round. We look forward to working closely with our investors and our Red Sea Farms team to accelerate plans to roll out our technology in Saudi, the Middle East and North America.”

Potential investors are already exploring opportunities to be part of Red Sea Farms’ next round of fundraising during 2022, reflecting the growing trend for investing in sustainable projects that contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as meet environment, sustainability and governance principles.


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