Transactions & Finance

Outstanding Stock Exchange Entrance for First African Unicorn

African e-commerce company Jumia has become the first startup from Africa to list on a major global exchange.

African e-commerce company Jumia has become the first startup from Africa to list on a major global exchange.


Jumia was founded in 2012 in Lagos by two French ex-McKinsey consultants, Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec. Since then, it has continued to grow. In 2015, Jumia generated $234 million in revenue which translates to growth of 265% on 2014. But what is Jumia exactly?

 

Sometimes called the “African Amazon”, Jumia is an online marketplace for goods such as electronics, furniture, fashion and beauty, but also a services platform where you can order a takeout via Jumia Food, or make travel arrangements with Jumia Flights. Jumia became the continent’s first unicorn when its valuation hit $1 billion. In 2018 it was present in 14 African countries, including South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Kenya and processed more than 13 million packages in 2018, according to company data.

 

 April 12th was the big day on Wall Street for Jumia: when it finally got introduced to the New York Stock Exchange with shares beginning trading at $14.50 under the ticker JMIA. It was a big step for the startup, which made history the first startup from Africa to be listed on a major global exchange. The company offered 13.5 million shares for purchase, representing 17.6% of all company shares, in a public offering that could raise up to $216 million for the African e-commerce star.

 

The filing said Jumia made the offering to increase financial flexibility, public profile and awareness, and to create a public market for its ADS shares and facilitate future access to public equity markets, but it did not cite specific uses.

 

At the end of the day, the shares were selling at $19 dollars, and one week later they are almost at $26 per share. Any way you slice it, Jumia has made a remarkable entrance on the market : e-commerce is poised to grow rapidly on the continent.

 

 

 

Céline Loëby

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