EMAILED ON March 13, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Africa’s first tech unicorn, Jumia, files to hit the global market

Pan-African e-commerce company, Jumia, filed for an IPO on the NYSE yesterday. The filing, according to SEC documents, is for $100m, but estimates from Renaissance Capital show it could seek to raise 5x that amount.

If all goes well, this could mark the first African tech company to go public on a global exchange.

The Amazon of Africa

Founded in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2012, Jumia now operates multiple online verticals — including a payment platform and a delivery service for trucks — in 14 African countries including Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Egypt.

In 2016, Jumia became the first African startup unicorn — and in 2018 it processed more than 13m packages and garnered over 81k active sellers on its platform.

While a report from Jumia investor Rocket Internet shows improving revenue — around $105m in 2017, up 11% from 2016 — Jumia is not yet profitable, reporting losses north of $135m in that same time frame.

But, B2C continues to struggle

McKinsey & Company projects consumer spending on the continent to reach $2.1T by 2025, which naturally serves as an industrial-grade magnet to VC investors interested in tapping budding markets.

But, even better for Jumia, its move to go public comes at a time when B2C businesses are falling in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation, and largest economy — setting Jumia up to be the leading e-commerce company in Africa.