Nigerian agri-tech startup Releaf, which makes it easier for consumer goods manufacturers in Africa to access high-quality ingredients for their factories, has raised US$3.3 million in an oversubscribed pre-Series A funding round, and also announced some new technologies.
Founded in 2021, Releaf helps FMCG manufacturers access high quality ingredients. Starting with sustainable oil palm in Nigeria, the startup develops technology to enable decentralised purchasing and processing of raw crops to improve profitability and prevent post-harvest loss for a more climate-resilient future.
The startup raised a US$4.2 million seed round in 2021, and has now followed that up with a further US$3.3 million in pre-Series A bridge capital to support the launch of two new technologies. Those are Kraken II – a portable version of its award-winning palm nut de-sheller – and SITE, a geospatial mapping application that informs the most profitable positioning of food processing assets.
The funding round was led by Samurai Incubate Africa, which re-invested after leading Releaf’s seed round, with participation from Consonance Investment Managers. Stephen Pagliuca, chairman of Bain Capital, and Jeff Ubben, board member at World Wildlife Fund and founder of Inclusive Capital Partners, also invested.
Since launching in 2021, Releaf has used its supply chain technology to process more than 10 million kilogrammes of palm nuts and grown its monthly revenue 7X year-on-year. The company has also secured more than US$100 million in supply contracts from leading consumer goods manufacturers, including Presco, PZ Cussons, and more. The company’s valuation has tripled since its seed round.
Uzoma Ayogu, CTO and co-founder of Releaf, said SITE and Kraken II were the next steps in the startup’s plan to fundamentally transform the efficiency of agricultural supply chains in Africa.
“We are excited to have partnered with an exceptional cohort of investors and collaborators to roll out these technologies. To make food supply chains profitable, we must maximise extraction yields with leading processing technology and minimize logistics costs by bringing processing capacity closer to farmers,” he said. “Before Releaf, stakeholders had to choose between one or the other – large factories had great technology but were far away, leaving most farmers with rudimentary technology to process their crops. We’re now able to maximise both.”
Rena Yoneyama, managing partner at Samurai Incubate Africa, said Releaf’s success with its pilot Kraken had validated its thesis.
“We are excited to continue supporting their ambitious vision to create efficient supply chains within Africa’s agricultural market. They have added key members to their management team and continue to impress us with their rapid commercial growth and technological development. We look forward to more of the same success as the team rolls out Kraken II and SITE,” she said.