E-commerce platform Copia has announced it will be closing its Uganda operations after it launched in the country back in mid-2021.
Copia, which targets low-income consumers in Africa, has been growing over the last couple of years, and this latest development about the closure of its Uganda market marks a turn that hadn’t been expected by people who are aware of how the platform runs.
For instance, before it launched there, Copia had managed to raise a substantial amount of funds to accelerate its expansion plans. In 2021, it raised KES 2.6 billion in a Series B drive. At that time, also, it souped its management by appointing Betty Mwangi as a member of its board (Betty is a former exec at Safaricom, who at one time served as Jumia Kenya CEO).
At the start of 2022, Copia secured $50 million in a funding round. The Series C round was headed by Goodwell Investments.
Given all the funds at its disposal, it would be assumed that Copia was in a good position to expand its services to more countries across Africa. However, this does not seem to be the case, as a statement from the company indicates that Copia is just another victim of the recent harsh economic realities that have led to tech companies laying off their employees.
“To accelerate Copia’s drive to profitability, the company is pausing its Africa expansion plans and suspending its recently established Uganda operation during this period. This decision is consistent with many of the best companies in Africa and across the world, which are responding to the market environment and prioritizing profit,” reads a statement from Copia.
Copia has not revealed how many of its workers have been affected in its now-former Uganda station.
“This highly focused approach will ensure that Copia is well positioned to pursue its pan-African ambitions with its proven formula for successful expansion to serve the 800 million middle- and low-income consumers through the power of e-commerce,” adds Copia.
E-commerce platforms have not been doing very well in Kenya. Jumia, for instance, has been unable to make a mark in the country and other markets as well. Things have been so bad locally for the company that it has since changed CEOs three times in under two years. Some of its execs have since left the company, while others have formed rival services such as Kapu.
It remains to be seen how e-commerce and digital trade will pick up over the next months or years, considering the companies now have the knack for shrinking their operations and slashing their payroll – although their could be some light at the end of the tunnel.