India's FreshToHome Among 3 Startups Picked To Boost UAE's Agritech Capabilities
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The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) on Tuesday announced individual partnerships with agriculture startups such as Pure Harvest Smart Farms, FreshToHome and Nanorocks in a bid to boost the emirate’s agriculture technology capabilities across land, sea and space.
As a part of the agreement, ADIO will provide financial and non-financial incentives totaling to $41 million (AED 152 million).
ADIO in a statement said that the research and technologies developed by these companies will expand existing capabilities in Abu Dhabi’s AgTech ecosystem and promote innovation in the sector to address global food security challenges.
This initiative was under the AgTech Incentive Programme which was established under Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme. The programme is open to both local and international agritech companies. The partnerships follow ADIO’s $100 million investment earlier this year to bring four agritech players AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and Responsive Drip Irrigation (RDI) – to the emirate to develop next generation agriculture solutions in arid and desert climates.
Commenting on the partnership, H.E. Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of ADIO, said, “Abu Dhabi is pressing ahead at full steam with our mission to ‘turn the desert green’ and solve long-term global food security issues. We have created an environment where innovative ideas can flourish and this has enabled the rapid expansion of our AgTech sector. Innovations from the companies we partnered with earlier this year are already propelling the growth of Abu Dhabi’s 24,000 farms. Partnering with Pure Harvest, FreshToHome and Nanoracks adds a realm of new capabilities to the ecosystem across land, sea and space.”
Pure Harvest is a UAE-based tech-enabled farming startup that uses food production systems to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in a climate-controlled environment, enabling year-round production anywhere, while using seven times less water compared to traditional farming methods.
Sky Kurtz, co-Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pure Harvest, said, “We are delighted to have received the support of ADIO to further invest in our home-grown, innovative growing solutions. It also serves as a powerful endorsement of our business case and mission as we pursue innovation to address food security locally and internationally. As one of the pioneering champions in the region’s emerging AgTech sector, this commitment will give us the resources we need to drive and expand our R&D capabilities and will position us for international expansion from our strategic base in Abu Dhabi. This partnership further demonstrates how committed the government is in supporting and enabling innovative technology companies, providing them with the tools, resources and support to thrive and make a large-scale impact in the region.”
FreshToHome, an e-grocery platform which specialises in selling meat and fish, with the help of ADIO plans to scale its land and sea operational capabilities in UAE.
Shan Kadavil, CEO and co-Founder of FreshToHome, said, “At FreshToHome we use cutting-edge research in AI and precision aquaculture for furthering food security in a sustainable manner while also giving better value to consumers, fishermen and farmers. To this end, we intend to bring our US patent pending AI-powered Virtual Commodities Exchange technology, our e-grocery platform and our nano farm aquaculture technology to Abu Dhabi, enhancing food production and distribution for the region. ADIO has been a terrific partner to us and we are thankful for their support in helping us be part of the vision.”
The startup has recently bagged $121 million in Series C funding, which was led by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), Ascent Capital, DFC and other investors.
Nanorocks, the US-based startup is the single largest commerical user of the International Space Station. The startup is planning to build its commercial agtech space research programme in Abu Dhabi
Allen Herbert, of Nanoracks, UAE, said: “Much of today’s technology used for vertical, urban and closed environment agriculture initially came from space research from 30 years ago, and Nanoracks is ready to synergise these technologies back to in-space exploration. We firmly believe that space research holds the keys to solving major challenges on Earth from climate change to food security. And our StarLab Space Farming Center in Abu Dhabi is just the beginning. We’re building a global research and development team that will produce and commercialise organisms, technology, and innovative products that will not only revolutionise farming in Earth’s deserts and harsh environments, but also change the way humans are able to explore deeper into our universe.”