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Kenya’s BNPL Startup Lipa Later Takes Full Ownership Of Sky.Garden

By  |  December 6, 2022

Weeks after Kenyan Amazon-style marketplace for electronics, home goods, and other products, Sky.Garden, announced that it has found a way to stay in business and retain its jobs, the identity of the company’s rescuer has been revealed. 

In the second week of November, the firm, after previously admitting it has been struggling to keep its doors open and even intended to lay off its entire workforce, announced that it had found a buyer for its business. While it afforded a huge sigh of relief, the buyer remained unknown. 

Now, however, it has come to light that Lipa Later, an actor in the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) segment, is [now] the new owner of Sky.Garden, whose operations it will manage in Kenya. 

In January this year, Lipa Later raised USD 12 M in a pre-Series A funding round led by Cauris Finance, Later Frontier, and GreenHouse Capital, with contributions from SOSV IV LCC, Axian Financial Services, and Sayani Investments. 

The 2018-founded platform, which already had operations in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, planned the funds for expansion into Tanzania, Ghana, and Nigeria. While Sky.Garden remains a standalone entity, at least until further notice, Lipa Later will roll out credit offerings for small-scale retailers using the platform. 

Though there are no immediate plans to expand the eCom service beyond Kenya, consumers will be able to buy items from the platform using their choicest payment method, including Lipa Later’s BNPL. 

“Guided by our objective to empower African businesses and consumers to do more by enabling e-commerce, financial inclusion, and shopping all on one centralized and fully integrated platform, our plan has always been to venture into e-commerce with unique value propositions for our consumers,” said Lipa Later CEO Eric Muli.

Sky.Garden has done an incredible job and checks all those boxes. Lipa Later is no stranger to the e-commerce industry, having already established a strong presence in the online payment and finance sectors. This acquisition has greatly accelerated our plans of redefining the shopping experience for consumers,” he added.

Sky.Garden filed for insolvency and went on a brief hiatus due to the inability to raise additional capital, thanks to the venture capital dearth that has this year plagued the global tech ecosystem. In Africa, nonetheless, startups are weathering the storm not only by cutting costs but also through mergers and acquisitions (M&As). 

“Today, I’m happy to see that Sky.Garden will live on with new owners and new management. We built a great product over time, and I believe Lipa Later has the potential to take Sky.Garden to the next level. Through this acquisition, the vision of Sky Garden will continue to live on while retaining jobs and businesses on our platform.” said Martin Majlund, Founder and CEO of Sky Garden. 

Image Courtesy: Paisa Expo

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