Startup spotlight: Dubai-based indoor farming startup KRISPR

In the Middle East, access to fresh, locally produced ingredients is limited. For that reason Khadija Hasan, founded Dubai-based indoor farming startup KRISPR. “Imports try to address some of these issues, but produce is often harvested early to withstand extended supply chains and ripened by force,” she explains. “It can therefore be lower in nutritional quality and flavor.”

To tackle this persisting and pressing problem, Hasan came up with a simple yet effective idea: turning warehouses into indoor farming areas using technology and artificial intelligence (AI). The idea eventually came to fruition, with her enterprise, Krispr, launching in March 2021. “We are developing a way to decouple agriculture from climate, soil, and other factors that have traditionally chained farming,” Hasan adds. “The thesis that one could convert a warehouse into farmland by deploying hardware and software was what initially inspired me to explore this field further.”

With the startup currently in its pre-seed stage, Hasan also sheds light on another human touchpoint pivotal to scaling operations: hiring the right talent. “Our sector is quite new, and the most challenging part for us is to be able to attract the right talent, and the right investment partners,” she adds. “Dubai is a great place to live, and that certainly helps in conversations with potential hires.” That would also explain why Hasan was so keen on KRISPR becoming a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program in the Emirate. “As a young company, it’s important for us to maintain perspective while brainstorming and troubleshooting our problems with others who have walked a similar path,” Hasan says. “The accelerator allows that exchange of ideas, and there are also numerous opportunities for mentorship with subject matter experts.” 

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