Releaf, a Nigerian agritech startup that supplies ingredients to consumer goods manufacturers and their food factories, has raised $3.3 million in a pre-Series A funding round.
The funding round was led by Samurai Incubate Africa, who 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.
Releaf, which is backed by the Jack Ma Foundation, previously raised $4.2 million (including a $1.5 million grant) in September 2021.
The company said the new funding would be deployed to launch two new technologies: 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.
Transforming agriculture supply: Commenting on the fundraising and the new technologies to be launched, CTO and co-founder of Releaf, Uzoma Ayogu, said:
“SITE and Kraken II are the next steps in our plan to fundamentally transform the efficiency of agricultural supply chains in Africa and 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 maximize extraction yields with leading processing technology and minimize logistics costs by bringing processing capacity closer to farmers. 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 maximize both.”
While noting that Africa will represent 40% of the human population by the end of the 21st century and the fast-moving consumer goods market will emerge as its first globally relevant industrial sector, Ayogu said Releaf’s technology is designed to accelerate this industrialization while ensuring inclusive success for the planet, farmers, food factories, and consumers in one of the greatest economic opportunities globally.
The technologies: According to Releaf, SITE was developed in collaboration with Stanford University’s Professor David Lobell, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment, whose team led the refinement of the age identification process for oil palm trees in Nigeria. Kraken II, on the other hand, is a portable, lower-cost version of Releaf’s Kraken – West Africa’s most advanced palm nut de-sheller.