Mideast agribusiness startup Pure Harvest snaps up $1.1 mln

Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a Middle East agribusiness startup, has raised $1.1 million in funding. The investor was Shorooq Investments.


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 26th, 2016 – Pure Harvest Smart Farms (“Pure Harvest”) announced today the launch of its presence in the Middle East region following the close of a foundational investment of USD $1.1 million from Abu Dhabi-based Shorooq Investments (“Shorooq”) to fund the regional development of a transformative agribusiness solution.

Concurrent with the announcement of the new venture, Shorooq acquired a 3.3-hectare farm site in Nahel, UAE where Pure Harvest intends to establish the nation’s first high-tech, commercial-scale greenhouse, capable of year-round tomato production. The Company’s regional headquarters, to be based in Abu Dhabi Global Markets, will be led by Founder & Chief Executive Officer Sky Kurtz and by Co-founder, Director and local partner Mahmoud Adi. Both Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Adi are MBA graduates of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and have extensive experience as private equity and venture capital investment professionals in Silicon Valley.

Pure Harvest intends to cultivate high value crops in modern glasshouses using a proprietary semi-closed climate controlled growing system that is purpose-built to overcome the unique challenges of year-round production in the littoral areas of the GCC region. The Company’s precision growing solution uses over-pressure climate control technology with a hybrid evaporative and mechanical cooling system to maintain optimal indoor climate conditions throughout the year in a resource-efficient, sustainable manner. In a market where existing commercial farms are forced to cease vegetable production during the extended summer period lasting June-October, the proposed technology offers to deliver a true and tangible food security solution.

Importantly, the technology’s design enables water-conservation and carbon dioxide dosing, achieving high productivity for a variety of crops including tomatoes, capsicums, cucumbers, eggplants and strawberries. Pure Harvest’s vision is to supply premium quality produce directly to retailers, airlines and hospitality food distributors – substituting high cost, air-freighted, seasonal imports and enabling the United Arab Emirates to advance its ongoing mission towards a more sustainable, self-sufficient food system.

Sky Kurtz, Pure Harvest’s Founder and CEO, stated that: “The region’s economies have begun to experiment with the use of mid-tech hydroponic technologies; however, to our knowledge nobody has ‘fully committed’ – investing the necessary capital and deploying the portfolio of technologies needed to produce Dutch-quality produce year-round at a commercial scale in hot/humid areas bordering the Arabian Gulf.”

Mahmoud Adi, Pure Harvest’s Co-founder and Director, shared: “Ultra-modern hydroponics – called Controlled Environment Agriculture or Precision Agriculture – has vast potential to revolutionize the agriculture sector in the region and could, at scale, have a meaningful impact on the regional economies as they aspire to diversify away from oil. I believe that we can create a lasting impact in the region and pave the way toward sustainability.”

Pure Harvest has assembled an expert Advisory Board featuring leading academics, industry professionals, and regional business leaders, including: Dr. Jouke Campen, International Project Manager at Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture and a thought leader in arid climate agriculture; Peter Satow, Founder and CEO of PESA Advanced Hydroponics and an expert crop consultant; Chris Gillitt, Agricultural Economist at Palladium with significant experience supporting the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre; and Sjef Smits, an expert grower with extensive experience in the Middle East region and growing in challenging climates, including Oman. The Company also hired Thomas Larssen of Larssen Ltd., a leading professional engineer specializing in technical consulting for the greenhouse industry. This cross-disciplinary team of advisors and consultants not only provides expert validation of Pure Harvest’s technology, operational approach, and commercial strategy, but also plays an instrumental role in ensuring a successful execution.

Additional information about Pure Harvest can be found at the Company’s website at www.pureharvest.ae.

About Pure Harvest Smart Farms
Pure Harvest Smart Farms (the “Company”) is a regional innovator in sustainable agriculture focused on the production of greenhouse fruits & vegetables in the challenging (extreme) climates of the Arab Gulf region using world-leading Dutch greenhouse growing technologies. Specializing in vine vegetable crops (tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, eggplants, strawberries, etc.), Pure Harvest seeks to leverage innovative semi-closed growing technology (with overpressure climate control and hybrid cooling systems) to pioneer year-round production of affordable, premium quality fresh produce. In recognition of regional vulnerabilities associated with water scarcity and food import dependence, Pure Harvest is committed to resource efficiency and overcoming local climate challenges (specifically, heat and humidity during the summer months) to deliver European standards to customers with the highest quality, farm-to-fork products.

About Shorooq Investments
Shorooq Investments (“Shorooq”) is a new kind of Investment Company in the GCC region – bringing best practice from Silicon Valley to the most exciting new companies in the GCC, while leveraging our founders’ San Francisco Bay Area network to gain access to the best venture investments in the United States. Our team reflects our mandate – a combination of the United Arab Emirates and the United States. We bring a broad range of technology, tech-enabled services, healthcare & consumer private equity investment & entrepreneurial experience. Our aspiration is to empower entrepreneurs in their journey to bring world-changing ideas to market – regardless of where they come from. For additional information about Shorooq Investments, please visit Shorooq’s website at www.shorooq.ae.