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Dr Ryan Lefers

Red Sea Farms raises $18.5m to fund expansion

JEDDAH, April 26, 2022

Red Sea Farms, the Saudi Arabia and UAE AgTech business whose one-of-a-kind technology enables sustainable commercial farming, has announced a $18.5 million strategic fund raise. 
 
The 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 on technology development, and productisation - with first generation product sales expected by Q4 2022. 
 
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 programme. 
 
Impact investing
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 is the CEO of Spins, a leading wellness-focused data company and advocate for the Natural Product Industry, and Jeffrey Ubben is the Founder and Managing Partner at Inclusive Capital Partners and a pioneer in impact investing.  
 
Red Sea Farms, which uses low energy, zero freshwater and sustainable climate control, also announced the appointment of a new global COO and regional CEO for the Middle East, Simon Roopchand. 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.
 
Operationally, Red Sea Farms has been very active, and announced its expansion into the US 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.
 
Impressive start to 2022
Dr Ryan Lefers, CEO of Red Sea Farms, said: “We are delighted to complete this $18.5 million fund raise and build on our impressive start to 2022. To have such esteemed investors believe in our vision is hugely validating and testament to our business model and strategy. 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 maximising 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 has been working with Red Sea Farms from its beginnings, confident that their world-class technology would create positive environmental, social and economic impacts. We are delighted to see these ambitions, the technology and the hard work resulting in these impacts becoming a reality.”-- TradeArabia News Service
 



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