UAE agritech startup raises $180 million for Asia expansion

United Arab Emirates-based Pure Harvest Smart Farms raised $180.5 million in its biggest ever fundraising from backers, including the billionaire Olayan family, which runs one of Saudi Arabia’s largest conglomerates.

The firm, which already has farms in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, will use the funds to expand in the Middle East and enter new markets in Asia. It grows to produce, including tomatoes and strawberries, in controlled environments to protect crops from harsh outdoor conditions while also limiting water use.

Other investors include Britain’s Metric Capital Partners, and South Korea’s IMM Investment Corp., the company said in a statement. The latest round, structured as convertible financing, brings the total amount raised by Pure Harvest to $387.1 million.

Mostly dependent on imported food, governments in the Middle East have put increasing focus on food security in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has sharply reduced exports from Ukraine, while the blockade of key Black Sea ports has exacerbated supply-chain turmoil, sending global food prices soaring.

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