News of Dealdey’s acquisition by Ringier and Silvertree seems to have taken many of you by surprise.
Well, it’s not like I saw it coming myself. But it’s not the most surprising outcome either. Daily deals as a business model were pretty much dead, but somehow the first startup that would push Sim Shagaya into the entrepreneurial spotlight, and one of Nigeria’s first real ecommerce pioneers kept it together, even after its visionary founder left to create Konga.com.
Etop Ikpe and Kehinde Oriola who joined DealDey via a 2013 acquihire of their online fashion store (3stiches) were stuck with the job of re-inventing an ecommerce site whose underlying business model no longer made sense(thanks, Groupon). They must have been doing something right, because Kinnevik gave them $5 million in follow-on funding to keep doing whatever it was. They would eventually launch a bunch of spinoff platforms that do different things. At some point, they had to let some people go, to reduce their burn. And in the end, it seems to have all worked out, with a tidy acquisition from a Swiss and South African groups that are aggressively grabbing African internet land.
I’ve gotten email from some of you who read this digest asking how much the DealDey acquisition was worth…did the execs get equity in the acquiring company?…did its early investors (Kinnevik is the largest) make bank? Blah blah. I’m sorry, I don’t have those answers (if you do, tell me, haha).
But the plot is yet to run its course. This morning, we learnt that Etop has joined Konga to head up marketplace strategy. Four-plus years of dealing with merchants at DealDey should have prepared him for the role at the ecommerce giant. Konga and Jumia are still locked in fierce competition for who will emerge the clear leader in Nigerian ecommerce. Both of them have gone all in on a marketplace strategy, and a lot of that race is riding on which of them becomes the preferred platform for local merchants. Aluta continua.
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