Releaf, a Nigerian technology company that seeks to make it easier for consumer goods manufacturers in Africa to access ingredients for their factories, has raised $3.3 million in an oversubscribed pre-Series A funding round.
The funding round was led by Samurai Incubate Africa, which re-invested after leading Releaf’s seed round.
Other investors who took part include 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.
The new funding will support the launch of two new technologies: Kraken II – a portable version of its palm nut de-sheller and SITE – a geospatial mapping application for positioning of food processing assets.
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.
According to Uzoma Ayogu, CTO and co-founder of Releaf, “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.”
Since launching in 2021, Releaf says it has used its supply chain technology to process more than 10 million kilograms of palm nuts and grown its monthly revenue 7x year on year. The company has also secured more than $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 a year ago.
Egypt-based agritech Mahaseel Masr, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Emirates International Investment Company. Founded in 2020 by Mohamed Abdel Rahman, the startup offers a B2B marketplace for fresh produce, connecting farmers and growers to global buyers.
The fresh infusion of capital will be used to accelerate the deployment of its e-commerce platform, and enhance its product offering and supply chain operations.
“Demand for first-rate fruits and vegetables at competitive prices is showing strong growth, driven by a global rapid population increase and raised digital awareness, in addition to a demanding need for global supply chain stability. With the support of EIIC, we will be able to achieve our mission to expand our geographic presence while crowning our portfolio with advanced technological and financial value-added services,” said Mohamed Abdel Rahman, Mahaseel CEO.
Egypt-based Muqbis, an online marketplace for handicrafts, has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from Nama Ventures. Founded in 2021 by Iman El Wasifi, Mohamed Nasser and Kareem Hussein, Muqbis positions itself as the Etsy of the MENA region. It provides a platform for local artisans in Egypt to sell their products.
Centbee, a UK- and South Africa-based facilitator of digital money payments on the Bitcoin blockchain BSV, has raised $1 million in its pre-Series A round led by Calvin Ayre, founder of bitcoin VC company Ayre Ventures.
A six-year-old venture, Centbee operates as a digital cash wallet that seeks to make it easier for global consumers to buy, spend and send digital cash to their friends and family on their mobile phone using the BSV blockchain.
It also offers digital cash products and services through a separate decentralised finance app.
Centbee claims to have enabled 35,000 remittance payments into Africa. It said the fresh investment will support its scaling-up plans and bolster its technical and operating capacity.