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Releaf Raises $4.2 Million To Develop And Scale Technology Solutions For The Oil Palm Sector

Startups

Sept. 15, 2021, 2:42 p.m.

Releaf, a Nigerian agritech startup has raised a total of $4.2 million in funding —a $2.7 million seed round and a $1.5 million grant to support the development and scaling of technology solutions for the oil palm sector.

Pan-African focused venture capital firms Samurai Incubate Africa, Future Africa, and Consonance Investment Managers led the round. Individual investors like Stephen Pagliuca, the chairman of Bain Capital, and Justin Kan of Twitch also participated. The startup also received a grant from Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE) and USAID.

Releaf will use the fund to fuel its purpose by industrializing food processing in Africa.

Founded in 2017 by Ikenna Nzewi and Uzoma Ayogu, Releaf builds proprietary hardware and software solutions for farmers to increase their efficiency and profitability. The startup’s proprietary hardware focuses on value chains where smaller factories are set up near smallholder farmers. This allows them to get better processing yields and fewer logistics costs; in the end, the farmer has more money to work with.

Its sourcing software connects them directly to more than 2,000 smallholder farmers. Releaf also uses digital technologies including USSD and open banking to work seamlessly with its network of smallholder farmers, who have supplied over 10 million kilograms of quality palm kernel nuts to food factories.

“Our mandate is to industrialize Africa’s food processing industry. This round of funding enables us to develop and prove our technology with smallholder farmers in the oil palm sector. Given Nigerians spend around 60 percent of their income on food and Africa’s population is set to increase by 100,000 people per day over the next three decades, we’re presented with an incredible opportunity to feed more people, reduce consumer costs, and supply the fastest-growing food market in the world,” said Ikenna Nzewi, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Releaf.

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“Releaf is committed to harnessing technology to accelerate the economic wealth of rural, agrarian societies throughout the continent. We firmly believe that a robust real economy is the foundation for long-lasting and shared prosperity for Africans and are excited to deepen partnerships with like-minded organizations, governments, and firms.”

Rena Yoneyama, the managing partner at Samurai Incubate Africa, said Releaf’s novel approach sets it aside from other agritech startups the venture capital firm has engaged with.

“We believe the firm’s thesis on decentralizing food processing would have a strong match with Africa’s economic development landscape for the next few decades. Ikenna and Uzo are the perfect founders to disrupt this market in Nigeria and beyond. We are thrilled to back them as they innovate in providing both agro-processing and financial services to rural communities and farmers,” she added.

tag: Agribusiness, Funding, Agritech, Startup,

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Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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