How Africa Internet Group Became Africa’s First Venture Capital-Backed Business to Be Valued at $1 Billion

Monday, February 15, 2016

Africa Internet Group (AIG), parent company to e-commerce brands like Jumia and Jovago, has become Africa’s first venture capital-backed business to be valued at $1 billion dollars after an $83 million investment from insurance company AXA for an 8% stake.

 It’s a remarkable achievement for any Africa-based startup, much less one that relies on a very small, but growing, middle class consumer base. It also has to overcome unreliable power supply and logistics hurdles in most of its local markets.

But what is especially noteworthy is the timing of the funding. AIG, which is controlled by German investment firm Rocket Internet, has seen its various companies going through a period of layoffs and management firings in the last few months in the run-up to this investment.

 Jumia, an online retailer operating in 11 countries in Africa, is AIG’s biggest brand having attracted up to $200 million in funding to date. Launched in 2012, Jumia has grown to become one of the continent’s leading e-commerce brands. But in October, Jumia reportedly laid off as many as 300 people for its Nigeria business. It also suddenly replaced its managing director in Nigeria—its biggest market. All this comes amid speculation that Jumia was losing ground to homegrown rival, Konga.

Source: Quartz (link opens in a new window)

venture capital