Nigeria’s Releaf raises $120,000 from YCombinator to connect African agribusinesses to customers they can trust

Nigeria’s Releaf, a marketplace connecting registered agribusinesses to customers they can trust has raised $120,000 from YCombinator to expand its operations across Nigeria where agriculture still remains underdeveloped.
According to Isaiah Udotong, CEO of Releaf: “Our vision is to make doing business in Africa easier. For too long reliable business has been restricted to few trusted partners and have not found success finding partners on B2B sites. At Releaf, we believe with a larger trusted business network, private sector growth can be stimulated across the African continent.”

Launched by Ikenna Nzewi, Uzoma Ayogu, and Isaiah Udotong, Releaf works on referral-driven business network connecting businesses with mutual ties and connections, helping firms double the network of businesses they can work with. The raise will help the firm relocate part of the team to Nigeria and scale the business across major towns and cities.

Releaf has signed up and verified over 600 agribusinesses and facilitated over 100 connections in stealth mode but are now allowing agribusinesses to apply for verification. Over the next 12 months, the firm aims to register 20,000 businesses then expand across Africa to serve as a central platform that powers African trade in the future.

The platform works simply. An agribusinesses registers on the site then indicates the commodities they have for sell. then presents them with a list verified and interested buyers. Finally, Releaf verifies the seller and, if they are qualified, makes a direct connection between the 2 parties. Releaf’s model allows suppliers to directly connect with buyers but unlike unlike conventional B2B models the contact is directly facilitated by Releaf to ensure.

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“Portals with millions of African businesses do not facilitate many true business connections because most business originates through word of mouth. It became clear to us most of the business-to-business challenges result from a lack of trust,” said Co-founder Ikenna. The team says it was inspired to work in Nigerian agriculture space by Former Minister of Agriculture and current AfDb President Akinwumi Adesina.