Red Sea Farms, a Saudi Arabian and UAE AgTech company whose unique technology allows commercial farming to be done in a low-energy, zero-freshwater climate, has announced a $18.5million strategic fund raise.
The fund raise was co-led by Wa’ed – the venture capital arm of Saudi Aramco and The Savola Group – the leading strategic investment holding group in MENA food and retail, through their corporate venture capital program. KAUST Innovation Fund, one of Red Sea Farms’ original investors, is also participating, along with OlsonUbben LLC, an investment entity owned by Tony Olson and Jeffrey Ubben. Tony Olson, the CEO of SPINS is a well-respected data company that advocates for the Natural Product Industry. Jeffrey Ubben, the Founder and Managing Partners at Inclusive Capital Partners, is a pioneer in impact investment.
Proceeds will support Red Sea Farms’ global and regional expansion plans – including expansion of the fresh produce business in the GCC. Global expansion is focused upon technology development and productization. The first generation of product sales will be available in Q4 2022.
Red Sea Farms has also announced the appointment of Simon Roopchand, a new global CEO and regional CEO for Middle East. The company will leverage Roopchand’s previous CEO experience with Lorne Stewart and proven track record in leading strategic growth to capitalise on the vast opportunities in the Middle East region.
Red Sea Farms has been very active in its operations and announced that it will expand into the USA in January 2022. It has also completed a new commercial-scale 6-hectare technology retrofit site near Riyadh and an R&D facility at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal – where technologies are delivering results ahead of expectations.
Ryan Lefers CEO of Red Sea Farms stated:
“We are delighted to complete this $18.5 million fund raise and build on our impressive start to 2022. This is a testimony to our strategy and business model. It’s gratifying to have such highly respected investors believe in it. We’re excited to continue on our mission to address the reliance on freshwater consumption in food production and improve food security with their support and guidance. The appointment of Simon Roopchand as COO and regional CEO for the Middle East is another key milestone cementing our position as an innovative market leader and maximizing our impact across the region.”
Fahad Alidi, Managing Director at Wa’ed, commented:
“Red Sea Farms has developed a truly innovative and sustainable business model that not only addresses a global issue around food security and limited agricultural resources, but one that is also regionally relevant. Wa’ed is proud to be one of the early supporters to back the pioneering team at Red Sea Farms as they tackle an emerging Agtech industry with decades long interdisciplinary research.”
Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President of KAUST Innovation, said:
“We’re incredibly proud to see the rapid development and growth of Red Sea Farms and their impact in the MENA region. KAUST Innovation worked with Red Sea Farms right from the beginning, trusting that their world-class technology will have positive economic, environmental, and social impacts. We are delighted to see these ambitions, the technology and the hard work resulting in these impacts becoming a reality.”