Fruit processing startup, Reelfruit raises $3m series A funding
Nigerian Agritech startup, Reelfruit has announced a $3 million Series A funding aimed at establishing a new factory to help expand its production capacity.
The round was led by Alitheia IDF. Other investors that supported the round include Samata Capital and Flying Doctor Healthcare Investment Company.
The dried fruit snack brand said it would improve its production by fivefold as well as double its exports to the US and other international markets.
Founded in 2012 by Affiong Williams, Reelfruit produces a wide range of healthy, dried fruit and nut snacks which it sells in schools, hotels, and retail supermarkets across the country.
Asides from the local market, the startup also exports its products to West African countries and beyond. The products are made from fruits like mangoes, coconuts, and cashews. According to Affiong, the startup hopes to show that Nigerian products can be made to worldwide standards which can be sold anywhere.
The CEO started the company with her personal savings and some help from her family. The company saw its revenues increase by about 750 per cent between 2014 and 2018. Reelfruit is Affiong’s first attempt into the Nigerian agribusiness space which she believes has massive potentials in wealth and job creation.
Through the support of IDH sustainable Trade in 2016, Reelfruit began its pilot mango farm on 14 acres, where it employs and trains women in high-value mango production. Reelfruit won $50,000 from the village capital accelerator funding in 2020.
Aside from its nourishing foods, its preservation model ensures wastage of perishable agricultural products is greatly minimized. And CEO, Affiong believes her company has the capacity to increase the income of farmers and create hundreds of jobs for Nigerians.
“This investment takes ReelFruit to the next level. We can meet increased demand for our products and tackle one of our biggest challenges – raw material supply. We’re thrilled that this will unleash a greater impact on our value chain by increasing farmer incomes and creating up to 300 decent jobs for Nigerians,”Affiong Williams, ReelFruit CEO/Founder
As part of its expansion plans, Reelfruit intends to acquire a new factory in Ogun State and subsequently increase its monthly dried fruit production from its current 6 metric tonnes to 30 metric tonnes.
This will also mean hiring up to 200 extra people to meet with the increasing production demands as the brand continues to supply the local and international markets with innovative new products.
With this funding, the company also plans to deepen its existing relationship with Nigerian fruit farmers by forming an agri-extension service for 250 mango and pineapple producers within the country. According to Reelfruit, this program will help boost farmers’ fruit yields and help support a steady supply of high-quality raw materials to the factory.
Nigerian Agritech startups have enjoyed VC funding in recent times. Releaf, a Nigerian agric technology startup that processes palm nuts to produce vegetable oil with a proprietary machine called the Kraken, raised $4.2 million in funding.
The money would be deployed to scale the startup’s offering by developing new technology which will be deployed to smallholder farmers. It also hopes to provide working capital to the farmers so as to help improve their production rate and by extension, their incomes.
“We think there’s a really great opportunity to bring both physical technology and financial services to these communities to make them more productive. And it’s kind of central to our thesis,” Releaf CEO, Ikenna Nzewi said.
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