Agri-tech Startup Pure Harvest Smart Farms expands its senior leadership team

Follows historic close of $20.6mln Series A and $100mln multi-stage financing commitment funding regional expansions


ABU DHABI: Pure Harvest Smart Farms today announced the addition of three new senior executives to its leadership team. These latest appointments by the region’s leading technology-enabled agribusiness bolsters Pure Harvest’s capabilities as it expands its operations in the region. 

The new appointments come just one week after Pure Harvest successfully raised $20.6 million as part of its Series A financing round, together with a multi-stage investment commitment valued at over USD $100 million by Wafra International Investment Company.

“World-class talent and executive leadership are essential elements to enable our future growth and to secure Pure Harvest’s place as the pioneer of the fast-emerging Middle East’s Agtech ecosystem.  We have a winning solution – we now need to scale it… and the right people doing the right things rightly is the only thing standing between us and building an enduring regional champion.  I’m thrilled with the additions of Johan Persson, Thomas Prins, and Thomas Larssen to Pure Harvest at this critical juncture.  I look forward to working with each of them to achieve our shared mission to offer affordable local, year-round, sustainably-grown fresh fruits & vegetables that Taste Like They ShouldTM.  We will continue to invest in people who have a proven track record of success to augment our capabilities,” said Sky Kurtz, Co-Founder and CEO of Pure Harvest.

Thomas Larssen is the President of Aurora Larssen Projects (ALPS), a renowned greenhouse engineering & crop specialist consultancy firm, based in Ontario, Canada.  Thomas joins Pure Harvest as an Independent Technical Director.  He will serve on the Board of Directors and will support Pure Harvest in its strategy, technology roadmap, evaluation and selection of key partnerships, and to secure and then efficiently deploy capital.  Larssen has set the industry standard in development of high-tech, automated, environmentally controlled cultivation facilities for over 30 years.  He has been involved in over 1,000 successful controlled-environment agriculture projects around the world and is considered to be among the strongest technical minds in the industry.

Johan Persson joins as Chief Operating Officer and will lead the company’s operations, including strategic sourcing, post-production, logistics, business optimization, and all functions within the operations’ primary activities value chain.  He will help to drive the business’ long-term strategy and work across all functions to improve the company’s scalability and ensure operational excellence. Persson has a unique professional acumen, with leadership roles in manufacturing, food production, and technology-enabled mobility solutions.  Johan previously held VP-level leadership roles at Careem – the region’s most successful startup.  Prior to Careem, Johan worked at Al Ghurair Foods as both Supply Chain Manager & Continuous Improvement Manager.

Thomas Prins joins Pure Harvest as Senior Grower. Prins brings more than 17 years of agronomical experience leading large-scale Dutch greenhouse operations, and is committed to continuous improvement and innovation to advance the controlled-environment agriculture industry.  Prins will support Head Grower Jan Prins to oversee Pure Harvest’s expansions in the region, including to train & manage growers, to streamline production operations, and to champion quality control & assurance across the entire production process.  Most recently, Prins served as a Grower for CombiVliet, a major global player in the production of premium quality tomatoes based in Holland.

Pure Harvest’s mission to make it possible to sustainably grow safe, delicious, and affordable fresh local produce anywhere is aligned with the UAE’s National Strategy for Food Security  towards innovation-driven and technology-enabled food production. Pure Harvest is tackling the region’s food security challenges by leveraging technology to overcome the extreme arid climate. This has enabled year-round production of premium quality fresh fruits & vegetables while at the same time contributing to water conversation, economic diversification and sustainability.

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