Releaf, a Nigerian agritech startup has secured a $250,000 investment from Plesion Capital, a social impact venture capital firm.The investment was led by Co-founder and CEO Ikenna Nzewi and Co-founder and CTO Uzoma Ayogu.
With the investment Releaf aims to build climate-adaptive supply chains to support Africa’s growing population projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050.
“Industrializing food processing throughout Africa is a major opportunity that will create significant economic and societal benefits for all parties involved, especially farmers who often struggle to make a fair living off their land,” said Ben Finlay, Plesion Capital’s Founder and Managing Partner.Kenna and Uzo have created exceptional technology solutions that are helping to address this pressing need by acting as a bridge between farmers and factories. We look forward to supporting Releaf’s efforts to grow its operations and eventually expand into other crops.”
This investment follows its recent oversubscribed $3.3 million pre-Series A round,which was was led by Samurai Incubate Africa to support the launch of its technology tools 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.
Its proprietary de-shelling hardware, Kraken, enables farmers produce high-quality oil faster and more efficiently than traditional methods such as using rocks to crack palm nuts.
Kraken offers more extraction efficiency, with 27-30% more yield of higher quality oil. As a result, this helps Releaf to produce premium oil palm products with 95% purity, which is higher than the 88% industry standard.
Its supply chain technology helps Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies in Africa get high-quality inputs cheaper. It accomplishes this by localizing food processing technology in farming clusters to increase quality and reduce logistic costs.
Releaf also finances, sources and processes crops at scale, enabling farmers to focus on farming and factories to focus on processing.
Its novel approach helps smallholder farmers reap more value from their crops, reduces inefficiencies in the supply chain, and results in lower prices for consumers.
The startup now wants to revolutionize Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil palm industry, which has more than 4 million smallholder farmers who suffer from inefficient processing systems.
Through their proprietary data solutions, they’re able to help provide resources to farms to boost supply.
Farmers who are connected to Releaf’s sourcing and logistics application tool (SALT) are able to provide updates about their palm nut inventory and confirm the price and volume of palm nuts available for sale.
SALT also gives farmers training on land preparation, spacing, and planting, as well as support in sustainable land management to improve their resilience to climate change.