UPDATE: What Nigerian agritech startup, Releaf has really been up to since Y Combinator

by | Nov 19, 2019

[EDITOR’S NOTE: 21 November, 2019]: Following a chat with Releaf’s founders, the original article has been completely overhauled to accurately reflect the current status of the startup.

Techpoint sincerely apologises for any distress the prematurely concluded original may have caused the founders. Edited article follows below.


In 2017, after graduating from American universities, MIT, Yale, and Duke, three Nigerian-Americans — Isaiah Udotong, Ikenna Nzewi, and Uzoma Ayogu  — moved to Nigeria to pursue their entrepreneurial ambition.

The startup they founded, Releaf, previously functioned as an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities to trustworthy customers.

Advertisement

Releaf’s founders had to acquaint themselves with Nigeria’s agricultural space and as a result, they hit some major milestones; three hundred active users, 100 connections, and 2000 companies on the platform within a month.

A major highlight was when the startup got accepted into Y Combinator’s (YC) Summer 2017 batch, receiving $120,000 funding in the process.

The founders have remained primarily in stealth-mode since moving back to Nigeria. Techpoint however reached out to them recently to gain some insight into what they’ve been up to.

After spending several months trading over 8 agricultural commodities from farm to factory in 20 different states across Nigeria, the team discovered that the biggest challenge food factories face is securing enough quality raw material to fulfil their growing demand.

“The vast majority of factories in our space are struggling to operate at even 50% of their installed capacities. This is a gross under-utilisation of resources that needs to be addressed if we want to rid ourselves of food insecurity and become net exporters. We are taking a stab at this problem,” noted Uzoma Ayogu, co-founder and CTO.

releaf vegetable oil production

Releaf’s crude vegetable oil production factory in Akwa Ibom

Releaf has since built a crude vegetable oil production factory in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. Dipping their own hands into the boiling pot, they witnessed the raw material problem first hand and validated the need for a solution.

The startup now runs raw material logistics for African food factories with proprietary processing hardware to increase yields. The Nigerian vegetable oil industry is their beachhead market.

releaf palm nuts

According to co-founder and CTO, Uzoma Ayogu, Releaf currently stores hundreds of tonnes of palm nuts

With the advisory and financial support of individuals such as Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina and Ifueko Okauru, former FIRS chairman and board member of Nigeria Breweries Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, Ayogu says they have been able to find a market niche which they are well-poised to build around.

Advertisement

“Having learnt from our past mistakes of leading with solutions, we instead spent time understanding the agricultural space before entering our current business,” explains CEO Isaiah Udotong.

releaf ceo training

CEO Isaiah Udotong conducts an employee orientation

While the team elected not to release too much information publicly at this time, they ensured that there will be exciting updates in the coming months of next year. For now, they prefer to stay heads down and focused on building what they call the continents tech-driven agricultural industrial backbone.

releaf founders

Founders look to a bright 2020

We look forward to covering Releaf again in 2020. Stay tuned for the follow-up story!

Tage Kene-Okafor
Tage Kene-Okafor

Endlessly amused by technology. @ulonnaya


Are you in tech and you are looking at getting a foreign remote job or you want to move abroad? Fill this form and you will get the BEST resources to help you get that high paying remote job as well as japa easily! WAGMI!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent News

Kenya’s digital products for PwDs

Kenya’s digital products for PwDs

On #TechpointDigest, Victoria Fakiya (@latoria_ria) discusses what Jumia’s partnership with CGAP could mean, and Kenya’s digital products for people with disabilities.

Reclaiming stolen African artefacts

Reclaiming stolen African artefacts

On #TechpointDigest, Victoria Fakiya (@latoria_ria) discusses how Traction wants to stop fake alerts, Canza Finance’s journey, Esaal’s $1.7m seed round, and JABU’s $15m series A.

[PODCAST] Relooting African art with NFTs

[PODCAST] Relooting African art with NFTs

What do you think about an NFT project that wants to reclaim Africa’s lost artefacts? Well, the editorial team had some interesting thoughts, and you can listen to this and other stories on today’s episode of #TechpointAfricaPodcast.

$2 million to drive learning via WhatsApp 

$2 million to drive learning via WhatsApp 

On #TechpointDigest, we discuss how major players in the African mobility space can change the mobility narrative, FoondaMate’s $2 million funding, Twitter Create, and AMP’s $5.6 million seed round.

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Blockchain Explorer

Analysis oninnovation, regulations, and trends inthe blockchain sector, as it concerns Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap