Africa’s largest e-commerce platform and first tech unicorn Jumia has filed its paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange.
The intended IPO is a significant move for the conglomerate, which is a landmark for the first of its kind and other tech businesses in Africa. Speculations also have it that it could as well mark the exit of Rocket Internet – Jumia’s German parent company, divesting its remaining 28 percent stake in the company.
Jumia contemplates being the Alibaba of Africa, on the backs of which the Lagos-based firm will be the first African technology company to get listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Its most recent funding round which took place in 2016, valued Jumia around USD 1.2 Bn. The investment was made by the Goldman Sachs Group who bought a stake in the company, which afforded the Nigerian-born e-commerce qualification as the continent’s first technology unicorn in Silicon Valley’s lexicon.
The company has experienced tremendous growth, having expanded its operations to 14 African countries since its inception in 2012. Jumia’s online store sell products from Apple, Huawei smartphones, Procter and Gamble, Nike, Pampers, Puma and an array of other big industry names. When last checked, the marketplace had no less than 81,000 active merchants who come to sell their items on the platform.
The IPO development comes as the latest in a series of related listings by companies backed by Rocket Internet. Furniture retailer Home24 and food startups Hello Fresh and Delivery Hero have also had listings on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange within the last two years.
Going public on the part of the tech startup comes as a significant number of consumer digital sales startups have hit rough patches in Nigeria. With the to-come IPO capital, the e-commerce store will make quite good on its current strategy and regional focus.
Jumia CEO Sacha Poigonnec told Techcrunch: “You’ll see in the prospectus that last year Jumia had 4 million consumers in countries that cover the vast majority of Africa. We’re really focused on growing our existing business, leadership position, number of sellers and consumer adoption in those markets”.