Jumia IPO, DHL launches Africa e-Shop, Cathay’s $ 168 million venture capital fund, acquired ConnectMed – TechCrunch
The biggest news in a month of African headlines was Jumia’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
After filing the SEC’s IPO documents in March, shares of the pan-African e-commerce company began trading on the NYSE on April 12, opening to $ 14.50 under the symbol JMIA. Jumia stock rose 70% north on its first day of trading and started this week at $ 46.
With the public listing, Jumia became the first African startup to be listed on a major global stock exchange. The IPO raised over $ 200 million for the internet business.
The list created another milestone for Jumia. In 2016, the company became the first African startup unicorn, achieving a billion dollar valuation after a funding round including Goldman Sachs and MTN.
Founded in Lagos in 2012 with Rocket internet With his support, Jumia now operates several online verticals in 14 African countries, from retail to travel bookings.
Jumia has also opened up to African traders, with more than 80,000 active sellers on the platform.
Like Amazon, Jumia brings its own mix of supporters and critics. On the critical side, there are questions of if it is in fact an African startup. The parent company of Jumia Group is incorporated in Germany and the current CEOs Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec are French.
On the other hand, the original co-founders of Jumia (Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor) are Nigerians. The company is headquartered in Africa (Lagos) and incorporated in each country in which it operates (under ECART Internet Services in Nigeria). Jumia pays taxes on the continent, employs 5,128 people in Africa (page 125 of K-1) and the CEO of its largest national operation, Juliet Anammah, is Nigerian.
The debates about the authenticity and diversity of Jumia will undoubtedly continue. But the bigger question – the engine behind the VC, the IPO, and the demand for Jumia shares – is whether the startup can make a profit. The company generated years of losses, including a negative EBITDA of 172 M € in 2018 against a turnover of 139 € the same year.
DHL Africa e-Shop
Call it coincidence or competition, but the day before Jumia’s IPO, DHL teamed up with another e-commerce startup – MallforAfrica.com – to launch its DHL Africa eShop app for global retailers to sell goods to Africa consumer markets.
The platform brings more than 200 American and British retailers online, from Neiman Marcus to Carters, in 11 African countries.
DHL Africa eShop operates with the help of a startup MallforAfrica.com white label service, Link Commerce.
The new online platform takes advantage of the existing delivery structure of the shipping giant on the continent to deliver goods to homes, near or far.
DHL’s partner for the new app, MallforAfrica, was founded in 2011 to address the challenges global consumer goods companies face when entering Africa.
On a B2C level, DHL Africa eShop brings distinct advantages on the basis of transaction costs (i.e. the cost of delivery), since it is connected to one of the masters of logistics in the world, DHL .
Another element of the partnership between DHL and MallforAfrica is the market for offering e-commerce fulfillment services through MallforAfrica’s white label Link Commerce service.
This could set the duo together to compete with (or work with) the big names in e-commerce entering Africa and add another layer of competition with Jumia, which offers its own vertical execution services in Africa.
Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund
A new African venture capital fund of over $ 100 million is in the works. Private equity company based in Tunisia Africinvest team up with Cathay Innovation to announce the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund, with a target fundraising of 168 million dollars.
Details are yet to come, but the fund will focus primarily on Series A through C investments in startups across multiple countries in fintech, logistics, AI, agtech and retail. ‘edutech. Investments could start as early as 2019, fund co-founder Denis Barrier told TechCrunch.
He expects to see a strong local presence for startups from Africinvest’s 10 country offices in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The company will soon open an office in Johannesburg, according to a company statement.
The zip line expands in Ghana
Zipline, the San Francisco-based drone maker and logistics service provider, has launched a program in Ghana for drone delivery of medical supplies.
Together with the Ghanaian government, Zipline will operate 30 drones at four distribution centers to deliver vaccines, blood and life-saving medicines daily to 2,000 health facilities across the West African nation. Speaking to TechCrunch, the company’s CEO, Keller Rinaudo, described the operation in Ghana as “the largest drone delivery network on the planet.”
The Ghana program adds a second country to Zipline’s live operations. Zipline started in Rwanda and leveraged its experience in East Africa to begin testing medical delivery services in the United States. Zipline plans to move from the pilot phase to live delivery of medical supplies to the United States this summer.
ConnectMed acquired by Merck
And finally, the German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaa acquired technology from Kenya-based online health technology company ConnectMed. A competitor to Startup Battlefield Africa in 2017, ConnectMed paired telehealth kiosks with local pharmacies, turning them into online clinics where patients use the startup’s tablet app to connect live to doctors for assessment and prescriptions. ConnectMed had received grants and seed funds from Entrepreneur First and The Norwegian accelerator Katapult.
Merck KGaa (not to be confused with the American pharmaceutical industry Merck company) took over ConnectMed’s telehealth applications. “After the transfer of the company’s telehealth solutions to Merck … ConnectMed will cease operations,” the company said in a statement on the agreement. Merck will integrate the ConnectMed platform into its own CURAFA network of clinics in Kenya.
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