Meet the Jumia Mafia - African Tech Wave
5 min Read December 10, 2023 at 5:16 PM UTC
If you’re a keen follower of the African tech ecosystem, you must’ve heard of the Paystack, Careem, and Opay Mafia(s) by now.
But have you ever heard of the Jumia Mafia?
For people not familiar with the name, though we hope there’s none, let’s give you a brief introduction to the company.
An e-commerce giant
Jumia started as an online retailer in Nigeria in 2012, co-founded by Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, ex-McKinsey consultants along with Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Kofi Afaedor.
The company has since expanded to at least nine other African countries, where it offers several services, including digital payments and delivery.
In April 2019, the e-commerce operator became the first African startup to list on a major global stock exchange when it debuted on the New York bourse.
One fact about Jumia that’s equally as impressive—as its NYSE IPO or standing as the continent’s largest e-commerce operator—but often overlooked is the impact that the company has had on Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Meet the Mafia
Jumia has not only made waves in the African tech industry but also inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs who now run their respective exciting startups.
Some of them include:
- Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin, co-founded Lidya, a Series B startup that provides SMEs with access to finance. The startup uses a credit-scoring system that analyzes a borrower’s online reputation and has raised $16.5 million since its launch.
- Raphael Afaedor is another Jumia alumnus who co-founded Kyosk Digital, a platform that connects informal retailers using kiosks and other similar retail outlets directly to FMCG companies.
- Maguelone Biau co-founded Twende, a ridesharing company that pools African city dwellers with the most direct, affordable, and reliable transport options.
- Kayode Adeyinka is the CEO of Gigmile, a Techstars-backed startup building the services and financial infrastructure for the African gig economy.
- Guy Futi runs ORDA, a startup he co-founded that offers cloud-based restaurant software built for African chefs and food business owners, as CEO.
- Sam Chappatte’s Kapu is a new e-commerce platform that aims to “reduce the cost of living” in Africa. By sourcing directly from farms & manufacturers, creating a low-cost logistics model & minimal food waste, Kapu says it can sustainably pass on savings to its customers. These customers access even lower prices if they place the order as a group (“pamoja”).
- Roger Xavier Macia, a former Chief Commercial Officer at Jumia Senegal, is now the co-founder of Lengo, a startup that combines AI technologies and retailer crowdsourcing to deliver real-time data on consumer goods for FMCGs in Africa.
- Marie-Reine Seshie, Jumia’s former Head of Marketing in Ghana, is now the CEO and co-founder of Kola Market. The startup provides digital inventory management, marketing, and sales solutions to SMEs, powered by AI technology.
- Omolola Oladunjoye, ex-Chief Commercial Officer at Jumia Nigeria, now runs Penda LLC – a fully integrated social commerce platform across Africa.
- Joe Falter, a former executive at Jumia in the UAE for nearly eight years, co-founded Zapp, a startup that provides on-demand grocery delivery services, has raised around $300m, and is backed by some of the world’s leading venture investors.
These are just some of the incredible startups that have been created by former Jumia employees.
Jumia is one of Africa’s earliest tech companies and ranks among the region’s biggest startup success stories.
So it comes as little surprise that former employees and founders have gone on to create their own incredible technology companies, disrupting various industries across the continent.
By sector classification, well over half, or 70% of startups founded by Jumia alumni are either in retail, e-commerce, foodtech, or fintech.
This suggests that Jumia’s early success as an e-commerce giant has created a positive spillover effect, as former employees leverage their experience and networks to create new businesses in related industries such as retail, last-mile delivery & logistics, and digital payments – all crucial components of e-commerce.
Naturally, working in a particular industry provides individuals with valuable insights into the workings of that industry and complementary ones.
Hence, ex-Jumia employees are well-positioned to leverage their expertise and create innovative solutions to meet the needs of consumers in these industries.
And they’re doing so, successfully and with sufficient VC backing.
Collectively, about 14 of such startups we tracked have raised around $330 million in venture capital funding, with over half of them at the seed stage or above.
This shows the talent and expertise that exists within the Jumia ecosystem, which has helped to create a vibrant startup culture out of emerging markets where it operates.
The funding also signals the emergence of a new generation of innovators who are able to attract significant investment and build successful businesses—a positive development for the tech industry.
In addition, it reflects how the African startup ecosystem is becoming increasingly mature and sophisticated, with successful companies spawning new ventures and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Altogether, these startups have created around 1,300 direct jobs.
Jumia has served as a springboard for talented individuals who are contributing to the growth of not only Africa’s startup ecosystem but also globally, even after leaving the company.
It’s impressive to see how the e-commerce giant’s success has paved the way for some of Africa’s most brilliant ‘techpreneurs’.
Truly, great companies have the power to inspire incredible founders and fuel the growth of an entire entrepreneurial ecosystem!
By doing so, they help to build a stronger economy and a better future for all.
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