9,000 km drive – A call for Middle Eastern agrotech startups

Bruce Gurfein, Credits: Supplied


Bruce Gurfein, a serial UAE entrepreneur has successfully completed the first in modern history 9,000 km road trip across six countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Palestine, and Israel. The trip promotes the launch of Future Gig, a UAE-based agrotech startup accelerator.

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From Dubai to Jerusalem via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel it took 38 hours of five days driving a Nissan Armada, covering more than 3,580 km with stops in major cities. During the 20-day journey, Bruce Gurfein and his trip partner Joe Koen have been meeting investors, land owners, business partners and innovators in food technologies and desert agriculture to create a joint platform that would allow startups to share data, exchange experience, test products and gain market access, with a mission to ensure a shift towards sustainability in the region. The road back to the UAE was routed through Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain and was completed in six days.

The World Bank’s data shows that in 2020, the Middle East region’s share of the world’s acute food insecurity was 20%, which is disproportionately high considering its 6% population share.

It is vital that the region’s wealthiest join forces to address this challenge. The global food and agriculture industry is valued at over $8 trillion and makes up more than 10% of the global GDP. There are tremendous opportunities for innovation and technology in these industries – for example, in Israel alone, investments in foodtech have increased from $53 million in 2015 to $866 million in 2021, according to IVC-MEITAR Israeli Tech Review 2021 Report.

“Expanding Investments in the region and leveraging the UAE as a neutral center can create a superpower that will provide food security and help build a better future for our families and planet. Peace is not just a word, and it doesn’t come with two signatures; it comes with a wholehearted embrace, via interpersonal relations being built. This is the Middle East after all; we don’t rush things here. Even our coffee takes time… that’s why it tastes so good,” – said Bruce Gurfein in a statement

Bruce Gurfein is a Jewish-American entrepreneur who has been living in the Gulf region for 25 years, connecting American, Emirati, Israeli and Saudi Arabian businesses. He speaks 11 languages, including Arabic and Hebrew, and is passionate about tech startups, travelling and whiskey.

Bruce is the CEO of UAE-based Connect LLC, a technology investment company owned by Abdullah Al Naboodah, one of the UAE’s wealthiest men.

At the age of 17, Gurfein set up Focus Communications, which he sold to HP two years later as the world’s first online banking platform. Since then, he has been taking multiple companies from the seed stage to successful IPOs and exits (ICQ, MP3.com, RoadMetric and others).

Now Bruce is launching Future Gig, a startup accelerator to unite agrotech projects from six countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine and Israel.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff at LAFFAZ encompasses fandoms of startup culture, crazy researchers, data analysts and writers who decrypt strenuous information into graspable news, produce noteworthy features and compelling stories.

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