Ag’s Saltwater Startup

Aug 24, 2021

A seawater agtech startup has investors feeling anything but salty.

Saudi Arabia-based Red Sea Farms just scored $16M in pre-Series A funding from U.S., Saudi, and UAE investors. That money means the startup can focus on scaling their saltwater-based controlled environment agriculture (CEA) to a commercial size in the U.S. They also see expansion into UAE in the future.

Red Sea Farms’ end-to-end tech is targeted at tough growing conditions—think deserts and islands where freshwater is scarce. Saltwater can be used to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops that have been bred for salinity tolerance.

The combo of plant science, artificial intelligence, and sustainably-driven cooling can save up to 90% of the freshwater typically required for growing tomatoes.

The goods: Red Sea Farms delivers organic, pesticide-free cherry and Ramsi tomatoes to Saudi markets. They also build and retrofit greenhouses for saltwater cooling and remote monitoring.

Behind the money: Saudi, UAE, and U.S. investors blew past the $10M investment goal. AppHarvest and Bonaventure were two investors in complementary businesses: indoor farming in Appalachia and recycled rainwater for greenhouses, respectively.