Africa’s first tech unicorn, e-commerce websites holding company Africa Internet Group (AIG), has received $80 million additional funding from mobile giant Orange in addition to the $326 million it raised last month.
“With this strategic investment, Orange now has the capacity to play a leading role in the fast-growing e-commerce market in Africa,” Orange chairman Stephane Richard said in an emailed statement.
AIG, the holding company for Africa’s fast growing online retail startup Jumia with operation in 11 countries, crossed the $1 billion valuation mark in March after it announced that French insurance giant AXA had invested $84 million for an eight percent stake.
A few weeks later US-based investment bank Goldman Sachs and other existing investors including South African telecom MTN Group and German startup incubator Rocket Internet, injected $245 million in the African e-commerce venture.
“The partnership will allow Jumia to further improve its position as the leading ecommerce platform in Africa, and we anticipate significant synergies with Orange in markets which have tremendous potential,” Oliver Samwer, CEO of Rocket Internet said.
AIG, which was founded in Nigeria in 2012 with a sales approach similar to Amazon, also owns travel website Jovago, classified real estate site Kaymu, as well as food delivery startup Hellofood.
While AIG has not divulged figures on how profitable it is, an article on TechCrunch said Jumia, AIG’s flagship e-commerce website, generated about $234 million in revenue during the first nine months of 2015, a 265 percent growth from 2014.
The group has grown to create 71 different companies across 26 African countries including Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Africa is home to six of the world’s 12 fastest growing economies from 2014 to 2017, according to forecasts from the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects.
“The very label of the first unicorn can convince local and foreign investors that this is possible. We should see more capital flowing in, slowly but surely,” Katherine Klein, Wharton management professor and vice-dean for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative said.
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