Sunday 18, June 2017 by Jessica Combes

Pure Harvest announces advisory board appointments and $4.5 million venture fundraising


Pure Harvest Smart Farms (“Pure Harvest” or the “Company”), a tech-enabled arid climate agribusiness has announced new appointments to its advisory board to assist the management team in its growth strategy. 

Following an initial $1.1million to fund land acquisition, technology and pre-development costs earlier this year, Pure Harvest launched a $4.5 million seed round to finance the construction of a commercial-scale pilot, fully climate controlled high-tech greenhouse in Nahel, UAE.  In addition to securing investments from its advisory board, the Company has now circled approximately 60% of the round and is quickly approaching the threshold needed to begin to build.

The newly appointed advisory board will support Pure Harvest’s management in technology selection, operational execution, legal structuring, corporate development, and strategy as the Company expands its footprint across the Middle East. Pure Harvest’s seasoned advisors come from varied backgrounds, including horticultural sciences; government/ public policy; agricultural economics; B2C marketing; and corporate legal practice.

“We are honored to welcome such experienced, accomplished, and diverse professionals to the Pure Harvest team. As Pure Harvest leverages controlled-environment agriculture technologies to transform food production in the import-dependent and water scarce Arab Gulf region, it is more important than ever to have leaders of this high caliber from business, public policy, and agricultural disciplines to support our mission,” said Sky Kurtz, Cofounder & CEO of Pure Harvest.

The board includes Dr. Jouke Campen, Christopher Gillitt, Janell Holas, Anil Mehta, Peter Satow, David Scott, and Sjef Smits.

"There is a growing realization among policy-makers in the GCC region that the current over-reliance on imported food represents a pressing economic & security vulnerability, particularly when projected into the context of a post-oil economy,” said David Scott, President of the Investment Diplomacy Group, a boutique strategy consultancy serving government and SOE clients in the GCC region, and the Executive Director of Economic Affairs at the Executive Affairs Authority. 

Scott added that the expansion of traditional agricultural methods is rapidly depleting the region's fresh water aquifers, setting the stage for an even more onerous and near-term crisis.  Against the backdrop of these unacceptable, but seemingly inescapable alternatives, Pure Harvest's tech-enabled approach to arid climate agriculture offers a potential 'third-way' through which regional actors can not only achieve a sustainable form of food security, but also eventually construct export-oriented agri-businesses that would create important new sources of foreign exchange, while supporting the diversification of regional economies.

“I have been working with Pure Harvest for the past year and am extremely excited by the progress made within this short time. The development of cost-effective production of high quality fresh produce, while leveraging cutting edge technology for sustainable production, is key to meeting the needs of the UAE consumers and while aligned with the UAE’s national objectives. I believe that Pure Harvest will lead the way in the production and marketing of safe, healthy, and locally grown fresh produce in the UAE and in the GCC region,” said Chris Gillitt of Palladium Consulting.

Underscoring the strong technical and commercial potential of Pure Harvest, Dr. Jouke Campen of Wageningen University said that the Middle East is a challenging region for greenhouse horticulture given its extreme climate, but at the same time this can make for a very lucrative business.

Following these key appointments, Pure Harvest’s Advisory Board is represented by: Dr. Jouke Campen, International Project Manager, Wageningen University; Christopher Gillitt, Agricultural Economist, Palladium Consulting; Janell Holas, Vice President of Marketing, Henkel; Anil Mehta, General Counsel, Al Qattara Investments and advisor to Careem; Peter Satow, Founder and CEO, PESA Advanced Hydroponics; David Scott, President of the Investment Diplomacy Group (IDG) and Executive Director of Economic Affairs at the Executive Affairs Authority; and Sjef Smits, Production Manager, Agro-Invest.



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