Red Sea Farms, a Saudi Arabia-based startup developing technology to grow crops in saltwater, announced today that it has raised $10 million in funding. According to a press announcement, the round was led by a group of 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.
Red Sea Farms is based out of King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. We just covered Red Sea Farms a couple weeks back, writing:
In a nutshell, Red Sea Farms is able to either irrigate land crops with saltwater or grow crops hydroponically using a mixture of 90 percent saltwater and 10 percent fresh water. Right now the company is growing tomatoes through a combination of plant selection, breeding and grafting (but not genetically modifying) in such a way that developed root stocks that can grow in saltwater.
Red Sea Farms is currently applying its technology to both indoor and outdoor trials in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and sells its own brand of tomatoes in markets in Saudi Arabia.
The work Red Sea Farms is doing could create entirely new agricultural possibilities around the world. Countries with abundant coastline and not as much fresh water could become more food independent.
In addition to growing crops in seawater, Red Sea Farms has also developed technology that uses seawater instead of freshwater in evaporative cooling systems to maintain proper temperatures inside greenhouses.
Red Sea Farms said it will use its new funding to build and retrofit more than six hectares of commercial farming in Central and Western Saudi Arabia.