KSA-based Red Sea Farms secures $10M Pre-Series A investment

Red Sea Farms, a Saudi Arabian AgTech startup has received a $10M Pre-Series A investment led by Wa’ed, Future Investment Initiative Institute, KAUST and Global Ventures.

Red Sea Farms was established in 2018 by Ryan Lefers and Mark Tester, with a vision to reduce food insecurity, carbon and fresh water use in the global and Gulf food sectors. The company’s unique, end-to-end growing system primarily uses salt water, cutting fresh-water consumption by 85 to 90 percent. Through a patented system of new, more efficient solar and growth monitoring technologies, salt water replaces fresh water typically used to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops.


Ryan Lefers, Red Sea Farm's co-founder, commented “We are proud to have designed, developed and delivered one of the world’s most sustainable agricultural systems from our base in Saudi Arabia. The investment from our new partners will help us improve global food security while reducing the carbon and fresh-water footprint.”

Wassim Basrawi, Managing Director of Aramco's VC arm Wa’ed, added “The Red Sea Farms investment reflects our decade-long commitment to the Saudi start-up sector, where Wa’ed has deployed more than $100 million in venture capital investments and loans to more than 100 entrepreneurs. Red Sea Farms is a good example of a game-changing start-up whose innovations not only can transform markets but improve life for everyone in the Kingdom.”

Richard Attias, the FII Institute Chief Executive Officer, mentioned “Our investment in Red Sea Farms is an expression of FII-Institute’s mission to support initiatives and projects which will have a positive impact on humanity. Our trilogy strategy ‘Think-Xchange-Act’ empowers us to play a transformative role in the new impact economy. We are pleased to partner with the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology and leading investors to bring this revolutionary technology to market.”

Kevin Cullen, the KAUST Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development, remarked “KAUST is powering an emerging deep tech start-up ecosystem in Saudi Arabia – and Red Sea Farms is helping to drive this revolution. The start-up is the product of many years of research in KAUST labs, now commercialized and ready to change the face of agriculture in the Middle East and other water-scarce regions.”

Noor Sweid, General Partner Noor Sweid at Global Ventures, said “We’re thrilled to partner with Red Sea Farms. With the earth’s resources depleting at an alarming rate, food and water security have become pressing global challenges. Powered by KAUST’s ecosystem of scientific and tech knowledge, Red Sea Farms is envisioning sustainable and innovative ways of addressing these issues in the region and the world, with the ultimate objective of leaving our planet better than we found it for the generations to come.”

Red Sea Farms plans to use the funding to build and retrofit more than six hectares of commercial farming operations in central and western Saudi Arabia. The company currently operates a salt-water pilot greenhouse at the KAUST Research & Technology Park.

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