The relaunch arrives one year after Lipa Later announced it was interested in rejuvenating Sky.Garden’s e-commerce business.
Sky.Garden, a Kenyan e-commerce platform founded in 2017, has relaunched its business one year after it was acquired by the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform, Lipa Later. According to a statement from Lipa Later, Sky Garden’s business has been restructured after acquiring it for KES 250 million ($1.6 million per the current exchange rate).
Lipa Later has confirmed to TechCabal that a section of former Sky.Garden’s 50 employees will continue working for the platform, although others have since left the company. It now has a total of 60 staff, and 40 more who are indirectly associated with the firm.
“Ever since the acquisition, we have been undergoing a restructuring.” Juliet Wanjiru, head of e-commerce at Sky.Garden told TechCabal. “While we aimed to retain all staff, others pursued different opportunities.”
Before Sky.Garden’s business started struggling due to low capital to run operations, it had raised $4 million in a Series A round in 2021. Prior to Lipa Later’s acquisition in November 2022, it had sealed a $600,000 deal, adding up to $5.2 million of overall funds raised from investors. Its former managing director, Martin Majlund, who left the company at the height of its struggles, revealed that 2022 was a challenging year for running B2C in East Africa, hence the call for new investment.
The call for a new investor was answered by Lipa Later. Lipa Later has now introduced new features and products onto the platform “far beyond the boundaries of conventional online retail”. Customers will be able to buy products on credit using Lipa Later’s BNPL product. There is also a new product named Sky.Logistics, which will handle deliveries to customers. Merchants will also be able to access financing and transaction monitoring using Sky.Wallet.
Recall that in September this year, Lipa Later was in the news over a $1.2 million crowdfunding programme. At the time, the company had said it was not crowdfunding out of necessity. “We recently raised a significant amount of debt investment; we have adequate funding,” Eric Muli, the founder and CEO of LipaLater, told TechCabal. “This public crowdfund is to raise equity investments to improve our debt-to-equity ratio,”
Sky.Garden will run operations independently, just like Lipa Later. However, the two entities are under the Lipa Later Group “We have areas of synergy such as we offer Lipa Later as a payment option on Sky.Garden,” Wanjiru told TechCabal.