The Iraq-based startup set forth on cultivating, harvesting, and cleaning one of the richest Iraqi resources, Nakhla has raised first funds to support its on-demand Palm Tree services platform and allow users to subscribe for their revenue share of the harvest.
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Iraq-based Agri-tech and social enterprise Nakhla has successfully raised a six-figure amount in its latest funding round. The debut fundraise was facilitated by the Iraqi Angel Investors Network and led by Euphrates Ventures.
Founded in 2018 by Labeeb Kashif Al-Gitta in Iraq, Nakhla set forth to provide cultivation, harvesting, and cleaning services to date palm trees across Baghdad. Users can subscribe to the company’s services in exchange for a subscription fee and a revenue share of the palm tree’s harvest. In addition, users can adopt a date palm tree planted in a public space. The company sells the harvest of the palm trees it serves under its own brand as part of its partnership with the Iraqi Company for Manufacturing and Marketing Dates and Imar Al Iraq.
Although Iraq has yet to make it on MENA's top 10 markets currently featured in our MENA 2022 Venture Investment Report, this Emerging Venture Market has been observing a moment of metamorphosis. Following a 3-year consecutive growth, funding in the Iraqi VC ecosystem has observed a 162% YoY increase to reach a new all-time record of $7.2M in capital investment over 2021. Most remarkably, nearing the cusp of Q1 2022 Iraq-based startups have already raised more than double that amount, driven by a record-breaking $10.5M deal raised by Iraq's super-app BALY. This latest funding round is a great milestone for the Iraqi VC ecosystem now only due to its volume, but more importantly because it attracted debut global & regional investors including MSA Capital (China), Kingsway Capital (UK), Rocket Internet (UAE), and Global Founders Capital (Germany). As the Iraqi VC ecosystem shows more and more signs of investor confidence, sizable investments have been also raised by the start players in Q-commerce and online retail TipTop, AlSaree3, and online marketplace Miswag.
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Euphrates Ventures is a venture fund managed by Euphrates Advisors that invests in a concentrated portfolio of high-growth early-stage private companies operating in Iraq. The VC has made investments into five startups including Miswag, the Iraqi e-commerce platform, and Alsaree3, a food delivery service. This investment marks Euphrates first venture into Agri-Tech. Grant Felgenhauer, a Managing Partner at the firm, commented “Agriculture has the potential to be one of the most dynamic sectors of the non-oil Iraqi economy, but it is often overlooked by foreign and local investors. We are thrilled to be supporting the team at Nakhla as they expand their unique business model to deliver both economic returns as well as social impact.” Geoffrey Batt, a Managing Partner at the firm, added “Nakhla is attempting to revive a once-thriving industry in Iraq—we believe it can. The founders and employees have great expertise, drive and vision, and we are happy to play a role in helping them achieve their goals.” The investment has been facilitated by the Iraqi Angel Investors Network, an initiative by Kapita sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH via its project “ICT for Youth in Iraq”. Ali Al Suhail, the Network Manager for the Iraqi Angel Investors Network commented, “Agri-Tech is an attractive space in Iraq that we are very excited about and foresee much larger activity in the coming years”.
The company plans to launch its mobile app by mid-year and has plans to integrate AI and IoT elements into its services which will now be supported by its newly acquired funds. Labeeb, the CEO of Nakhla, concluded, “There is great potential in reviving agriculture in Iraq, but we want to go beyond that and integrate the latest technologies into our service. Date palm trees have always been considered a national treasure in Iraq. Today there are more than 19 million date palm trees, 7 million of which are not made productive. We want to change that” Labeeb concluded.
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