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On Tech Touch last month, the year opened with the scary predictions of venture capital firms talking about slow or no funding in scaling African startups.

According to Abel Boreto for Novastar Ventures:

“My 2023 prediction is that things will get worse before they get better — down rounds, layoffs, closures and bridge rounds will continue to increase in the African startup ecosystem.”

For Releaf, an agrictech startup with a primary mission to provide food at affordable prices, things are getting better and hopefully not getting worse.

So far, Releaf co-founded by Ikenna Nzewi, Uzoma Ayogu and Isaiah Udotong, has raised over $10 million dollars in scaling up. For Nzewi, this all started studying Africa’s economic development living in different parts of the United States with Ayogu and Udotong before returning to Nigeria.

At first, he thought “there’s a perception that agriculture in Africa equals non-profit or poverty alleviation.”

“I think that’s strange. You would think that businesses operating in the largest sector on the continent could return free cash flows, and so I think that’s been an education process for our investors,” he said of skeptical investors in a conversation with Techpoint Africa.

Fortunately, the agrictech startup was able to get Y Combinator as one its investors despite their minimal industry experience. All thanks to showing passion and commitment.

With this funding, Releaf has found its niche in the market and has recently disclosed two new additions of its supply chain technology tools: the optimized version of its palm kernel desheller, Kraken II, and a geospatial mapping application developed to enable businesses make better decisions called SITE.

Over the course of our lifetime, Africa will be the most populous continent on the planet, and it’s very important that we build a food system that can support our people but also a food system that is not too expensive so that people can make money and invest it in their education – Releaf

Feature image: Ikenna Nzewi

By Elijah Christopher

 

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