Photo for illustrative purposes only. Red Sea Farms currently grows tomatoes in its greenhouses for sale in Saudi Arabia.

Halal Industry

Saudi ag-tech start-up Red Sea Farms raises $10 mln to fund expansion

Saudi Arabian agriculture technology start-up Red Sea Farms has raised $10 million that it said will go to build and retrofit more than six hectares of commercial farming operations in the Kingdom.

The funding is led by Saudi and UAE investors, including the Aramco entrepreneurship arm Wa’ed, the non-profit foundation Future Investment Initiative Institute, KAUST, and Global Ventures, a UAE venture capital group, the company said in a statement on Monday (June 7).

Red Sea Farms spun out of King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in 2018 when it started growing tomatoes to sell in Saudi Arabia, using a system that runs on solar and salt water, cutting fresh water consumption by up to 90%.

The ag-tech, that designs solutions for food security and reduction of carbon and fresh water use, was co-founded by Ryan Lefers, Mark Tester, and Derya Baran.

The company plans to sell turn-key growing systems globally.

Red Sea Farms currently operates a salt water pilot greenhouse at the KAUST Research and Technology Park.

In 2019 it received a $1.9 million investment from the KAUST Innovation Fund and Saudi-based Research Products Development Company.

Saudi Arabia's government, state-owned and state-linked companies have been increasing efforts towards safeguarding and taking better control of the Kingdom's long-term food security, and moving away from a heavy dependence on imports. These efforts include investing in tech that provide solutions to reduce food insecurity.

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Food Security