African e-commerce startup Jumia files for IPO on NYSE

Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange today, per SEC documents and confirmation from CEO Sacha Poignonnec to TechCrunch.

The valuation, share price and timeline for public stock sales will be determined over the coming weeks for the Nigeria-headquartered company.

With a smooth filing process, Jumia will become the first African tech startup to list on a major global exchange.

Poignonnec would not pinpoint a date for the actual IPO, but noted the minimum SEC timeline for beginning sales activities (such as road shows) is 15 days after submitting first documents. Lead adviser on the listing is Morgan Stanley .

There have been numerous press reports on an anticipated Jumia IPO, but none of them confirmed by Jumia execs or an actual SEC, S-1 filing until today.

Jumia’s move to go public comes as several notable consumer digital sales startups have faltered in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation, largest economy and unofficial bellwether for e-commerce startup development on the continent. Konga.com, an early Jumia competitor in the race to wire African online retail, was sold in a distressed acquisition in 2018.

With the imminent IPO capital, Jumia will double down on its current strategy and regional focus.

“You’ll see in the prospectus that last year Jumia had 4 million consumers in countries that cover the vast majority of Africa. We’re really focused on growing our existing business, leadership position, number of sellers and consumer adoption in those markets,” Poignonnec said.

The pending IPO creates another milestone for Jumia. The venture became the first African startup unicorn in 2016, achieving a $1 billion valuation after a $326 funding round that included Goldman Sachs, AXA and MTN.

Founded in Lagos in 2012 with Rocket Internet backing, Jumia now operates multiple online verticals in 14 African countries, spanning Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Egypt. Goods and services lines include Jumia Food (an online takeout service), Jumia Flights (for travel bookings) and Jumia Deals (for classifieds). Jumia processed more than 13 million packages in 2018, according to company data.

Starting in Nigeria, the company created many of the components for its digital sales operations. This includes its JumiaPay payment platform and a delivery service of trucks and motorbikes that have become ubiquitous with the Lagos landscape.

Jumia has also opened itself up to traders and SMEs by allowing local merchants to harness Jumia to sell online. “There are over 81,000 active sellers on our platform. There’s a dedicated sellers page where they can sign-up and have access to our payment and delivery network, data, and analytic services,” Jumia Nigeria CEO Juliet Anammah told TechCrunch.

The most popular goods on Jumia’s shopping mall site include smartphones (priced in the $80 to $100 range), washing machines, fashion items, women’s hair care products and 32-inch TVs, according to Anammah.

E-commerce ventures, particularly in Nigeria, have captured the attention of VC investors looking to tap into Africa’s growing consumer markets. McKinsey & Company projects consumer spending on the continent to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025, with African e-commerce accounting for up to 10 percent of retail sales.

Jumia has not yet turned a profit, but a snapshot of the company’s performance from shareholder Rocket Internet’s latest annual report shows an improving revenue profile. The company generated €93.8 million in revenues in 2017, up 11 percent from 2016, though its losses widened (with a negative EBITDA of €120 million). Rocket Internet is set to release full 2018 results (with updated Jumia figures) April 4, 2019.

Jumia’s move to list on the NYSE comes during an up and down period for B2C digital commerce in Nigeria. The distressed acquisition of Konga.com, backed by roughly $100 million in VC, created losses for investors, such as South African media, internet and investment company Naspers .

In late 2018, Nigerian online sales platform DealDey shut down. And TechCrunch reported this week that consumer-focused venture Gloo.ng has dropped B2C e-commerce altogether to pivot to e-procurement. The CEO cited better unit economics from B2B sales.

As demonstrated in other global startup markets, consumer-focused online retail can be a game of capital attrition to outpace competitors and reach critical mass before turning a profit. With its unicorn status and pending windfall from an NYSE listing, Jumia could be better positioned than any venture to win on e-commerce at scale in Africa.

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The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 has arrived — but it comes with a price

The long-awaited $35,000 Tesla Model 3 has finally arrived, three years after CEO Elon Musk promised to bring the electric vehicle to market at that price point. But that cheaper Model 3 comes with a dramatic shift for Tesla. 

Tesla said that to achieve this lower price it will shift all sales globally to online only, meaning the company will be closing many of its stores over the next few months. The stores that remain, in high-traffic locations, will be turned into information centers, Musk said on a call with reporters.

“Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected,” the company wrote in a post.

Tesla announced Thursday that the $35,000 version will have a 220 miles of range and be able to reach a top speed of 130 miles per hour. 

“This is the lowest we could possibly make this car,” Musk

“and still be financially sustainable.”

The company also said it’s introducing a Model 3 Standard Range Plus version, which offers 240 miles of range, a top speed of 140 mph, and 0-60mph acceleration of 5.3 seconds as well as most premium interior features at $37,000 before incentives.

“I’m excited to finally meet this goal, which has been insanely difficult,” Musk said on a call with reporters.

Tesla will continue to offer its mid range, long range all-wheel drive, and Model 3 Performance vehicles in the U.S. The company is also bringing back its original Model 3 long range rear-wheel drive vehicle in the U.S. All Model 3 come standard with a tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection, auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirror, and driver profiles via the center screen.

Just hours before the announcement, the “order” webpages for the Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicle redirected to show message that read “The wait is almost over.” Below the main message, it read “Great things are launching at 2 pm.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Feb. 27 “Some Tesla news,” followed by equally vague tweets “2 pm” and “California.”

The tweets had led to widespread speculation of what Musk would announce. Others argued that the teasing tweets were merely a tactic to distract investors and the media from his recent scuffle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission .

The SEC asked a judge Feb. 25 to hold Musk in contempt for violating the settlement agreement reached with the agency last year. The SEC argued that a tweet sent by Musk on February 19 violated their agreement. Musk is supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors.

A U.S. judge issued an order Feb. 26 that gives Musk until March 11 to explain why he should not be held in contempt for violating a settlement agreement with the SEC.

This is a developing story.

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Tesla halts online sales ahead of Elon Musk announcement

Tesla buyers might have a hard time ordering a vehicle through its website for the next several hours.

The “order” webpages for the Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicle all redirect to show nebulous  message that reads “”The wait is almost over.” Below the main message, it reads “Great things are launching at 2 pm.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Feb. 27 “Some Tesla news,” followed by equally vague tweets “2 pm” and “California.”

The tweets had led to widespread speculation of what Musk will announce Thursday. It was enough to send shares higher yesterday. Tesla shares have risen more than 7 percent since market open Feb. 27.

In the midst of Musk’s teasing tweets, another pressing matter unfolded involving his settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A U.S. judge issued an order Feb. 26 that gave Musk until March 11 to explain why he should not be held in contempt for violating a settlement agreement with the SEC.

The timing of Musk’s tweets, which followed his recent problems with the SEC, has struck many as a diversionary tactic meant to distract investors and the media.

The SEC asked a judge Feb. 25 to hold Musk in contempt for violating the settlement agreement reached with the agency last year. Reuters was the first to report the judge’s order.

The SEC argued that a tweet sent by Musk on February 19 violated their agreement. Musk is supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors.

The tweet said Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year. He later sent another tweet that corrected himself. The second tweet said “meant to say annualized production rate at the end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”

This is a developing story.

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Elon Musk has until March 11 to respond to SEC contempt motion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has until March 11 to explain why he should not be held in contempt for violating a settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC asked a judge Monday to hold Musk in contempt for violating the settlement agreement reached with the agency last year. Reuters was the first to report the judge’s order.

The SEC argued that a tweet sent by Musk on February 19 violated their agreement. Musk is supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors.

The tweet said Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year. He later sent another tweet that corrected himself. The second tweet said “meant to say annualized production rate at the end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”

U.S. Judge Alison Nathan signed an order Tuesday that reads “Defendant Elon Musk shall submit to this Court by March 11, 2019, briefing to show cause, if any, why he should not be found in contempt of the Court’s Final Judgment,” according to the latest court filing.

Tesla declined to comment.

Musk took to Twitter on Monday following the SEC’s request to hold him in contempt, agreeing with a follower at one point and noting “Something is broken with SEC oversight.”

It appeared that Musk’s tussle with the SEC, which began with a now infamous “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private, had been resolved last October. The settlement with the SEC over securities fraud allegations, which Judge Nathan approved October 16, required Musk to resign as chairman of the Tesla board, to pay a $20 million fine and to set up disclosure controls and procedures relating to his tweets. Tesla also paid a separate $20 million fine.

The SEC alleged in its original complaint filed in September that Musk lied when he tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. Federal securities regulators reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena just a week after the tweet. The SEC filed a complaint alleging securities fraud six weeks later.

The case is SEC v. Musk in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

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The SEC has asked a judge to hold Elon Musk in contempt for violating his settlement with the agency

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked a judge to hold Elon Musk in contempt for violating his October 16 settlement with the agency.

Bloomberg News first reported the news; we’ve since obtained the agency’s complaint, though it is declining comment. Tesla has not responded to our requests for more information.

At the crux of things: Last Tuesday night, Musk tweeted out to his 24 million followers that Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year, correcting himself hours later to clarify that he meant the company would be producing at an annualized rate of 500,000 vehicles by year end.

The next morning, Tesla announced that its general counsel, Dane Butswinkas, is leaving after just months on the job. Butswinkas said in a statement that he was “grateful for the opportunity” to work with Musk and Tesla and that he plans to return to the Washington, D.C. law firm for which he previously worked 30 years. A source meanwhile told TechCrunch last week that Tesla was a poor cultural fit.

Butswinkas had battled on Musk’s behalf with the SEC last year, after Musk infamously tweeted in August that he had “funding secured” to take the company private when he had not.

In the end, Musk and Tesla settled without admitting wrongdoing. Still, Tesla agreed to pay a $20 million fine; Musk had to agree to step down as Tesla chairman for a period of at least three years; the company had to appoint two independent directors to the board; and Tesla was also told to put in place a way to monitor Musk’s statements to the public about the company, including via Twitter.

In November, Tesla announced that Australian telecom executive and chair of Tesla’s audit committee Robyn Denholm would take over from Musk as chair of the company. In December, Tesla met another of the condition of the settlement, appointing two independent directors to its board: Larry Ellison, executive chairman of Oracle, and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, executive vice president of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

It’s Musk’s admission that he didn’t obtain pre-approval for his tweet last week that the SEC considers “clear and convincing evidence that he violated the court’s final judgement,” with the SEC adding in its filing that he has “not diligently attempted to comply” with that specific ruling.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Musk hasn’t commented on the motion on Twitter, though he did write somewhat cryptically a couple of hours ago that “Fate loves irony. Frankly, too much.”

Musk was less circumspect last year, telling “60 Minutes” in a segment that aired in early December, “I want to be clear: I do not respect the SEC, I do not respect them.”

One suspects such public goading hasn’t won him many advocates within the agency.

Typically, if a person is found to be guilty of contempt of court, he or she may face a fine, jail time or other penalty.

You can check out the motion below.

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