A Jumia scooterman arranges product to be delivered in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2013.
Photograph by Pius Utomi Ekpei — AFP/Getty Images
By Claire Zillman
February 9, 2016

There are dozens of startups in the United States that have earned the “unicorn” designation—a title bestowed to private companies that are valued at $1 billion or more. But never before has an Africa-based company earned that moniker.

That changed Monday when French insurer Axa bought a 8% stake in Africa Internet Group for approximately $84 million, giving the owner of e-commerce site Jumia and nine other online companies a value of about $1.04 billion, according to the Financial Times. There are 152 unicorns around the world as counted by CBInsights, a venture capital database.

Africa Internet Group’s portfolio of e-ventures includes delivery service HelloFood, taxi booking app Easy Taxi, and Everjobs, an employment portal, among others. Jumia, the largest e-commerce site in Africa is its crown jewel. It operates in 11 countries and has a business model reminiscent of Amazon’s.


Axa is hoping to sell insurance policies through Jumia, according to the FT.


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