Green Investment: UAE’s KBW Ventures backs US organic food company

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Back to Roots Founders
Back to Roots founders Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora

Dubai-based investment firm KBW Ventures is foraying into the rapidly expanding organic gardening segment in America by taking part in the seed round of US-based startup gardening and organic food company ‘Back to the Roots’.

The funding round also saw participation from the Back to the Roots’ existing investors Acre Venture Partners and S2G Ventures along with John Foraker, CEO of Once Upon A Farm and US-based nonprofit venture capital firm Fund Good Jobs.

Back to the Roots

Founded in 2009 by Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, Back to the Roots offers off-the-shelf solutions such as live plants, raised beds, small-space gardening kits and 100 percent US-grown seeds for gardening enthusiasts.

Back to the Roots is expected to capitalize on the tremendous potential that has developed in the US market after the recent ban on the sale of foreign seeds into the country by e-commerce giant Amazon.

The venture also serves US customers with a variety of “ready-to-grow”​ and “ready-to-eat”​ products that are sold across the country.

Back to The Roots will utilize the fresh capital infusion to expand its national distribution, improve its marketing for seed packet line and support the sustained growth of its small-space gardening kits.

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed
Founder and CEO
KBW Ventures

“There’s no better testimony on why KBW Ventures invested in Back to the Roots than the story of how I met Nikil and Alejandro. I was a customer; literally, I bought a few of their grow kits and I had posted about how great their products are on my Instagram story. Soon, through a dear friend Caroline Love, an introduction was made and this happened to coincide with their funding round. There is no greater sales pitch than a positive spirit, and enthusiastic hyper-qualified founders with a passion to do what they’re doing, and doing it super well judging by their numbers.”

KBW Ventures

Founded by Saudi royal family member Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed in 2013, KBW Ventures focuses on investing in sustainability and plant-based innovation. The venture’s previous investments include cellular aquaculture pioneer BlueNalu, US-based food technology company Memphis Meats and plant-based meat producer Rebellyous Foods.

In June, The firm had made a $3.2 million seed investment round in Singapore-based biotech company TurtleTree Labs.