Jumia has filed to list on the New York Stock Exchange in the coming months according to documents from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The planned IPO is a seminal moment for e-commerce and tech businesses on the continent. It could also mean a possible exit by Rocket Internet, Jumia’s German parent company, selling its remaining stake in the company.
Specifics on the IPO like date and listing price are expected to be determined in coming weeks. It is however anticipated that Jumia will be Africa’s first tech unicorn—a venture funded company valued at more than $1 billion. It will trade under as JMIA on the NYSE.
The news does surface at a time when both Jumia and other tech startups have encountered rocky paths when scaling their operations. Jumia reported a loss in 2018 of $190 million and has warned in documents filed to the SEC that it cannot guarantee profitability over the coming years, citing challenges such as a large scale robbery at its Kenyan warehouse, which saw merchandise worth $560,000 stolen.
Only a few months ago South African internet behemoth, Naspers, offloaded another Nigerian ecommerce company, Konga, in what many have deemed a rather stressed sale. The ecommerce giant had been struggling for several years and in 2017 they cut their workforce by over 600 staff.
Jumia’s anticipated continued losses are only one of the numerous risk factors the company lists, including political instability and regulatory uncertainty in African markets. The company also asserts competition and “more aggressive pricing policies” from rivals including South Africa’s Takealot and Egypt’s Souq.com could have a negative impact on its business.