Copia Global is leaving Uganda, TechCabal has learned. The company says its decision is, “consistent with many of the best companies in Africa and across the world which are responding to the market environment and prioritising profit.”
“Given the economic downturn and constrained capital markets are expected to continue for some time, Copia plans to double down on efforts to drive our founding Kenya business to sustainable, scaled profitability,” a company statement reads.
In 2021, Copia set up shop in Uganda, a move which Tracey Turner, Copia Global founder and chair described as “ the next step” in fulfilling the company’s mission to reach Africa’s emerging middle class. “Uganda has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world with a hard-working population and a dynamic entrepreneurial culture. Copia is designed specifically to serve this high growth but underserved consumer base who want access to high-quality products at the best prices,” Turner had said.
Providing clarification about the decision to leave Uganda, CEO Tim Steel said, “This is the right move for Copia given the market environment,” He says Copia will work hard to reach the point where it can, “restart our Pan African plan.”
“By focusing our resources on our Kenyan business, we can assure short-term profitability and long-term success. This means pausing our international expansion plans, including suspending our Ugandan operation,” Steel added.
Copia says it has notified its agents and customers in Uganda of its departure and is already paying out outstanding commissions to agents. More than 350 employees will be impacted by Copia’s decision to leave Uganda and double down on Kenya. The firm says affected employees have been provided with a severance package.
Founded in 2012 with operations commencing in 2013, Copia combines technology and a network of roughly 40,000 local agents to reach consumers in cities and towns across East Africa. Copia’s aggregation model allows it to pass on reduced prices from its vendor deals to customers. But the firm is also creating its line of branded products and has opened two facilities to package Copia-branded sugar and rice.
Copia has disclosed a total of $103M in funding over 7 rounds according to data from Crunchbase. The latest investment was a $50 million Series C round led by Goodwell Investments which was announced in January 2022.