Kenya Ecommerce Site Copia Layoff 1000 Employees As Part of Cost-Cutting Measures

Copia Ecommerce Platform

Copia Global, a Kenyan B2C e-commerce startup that has secured $123 million in venture funding across seven rounds, is contemplating layoffs or closure due to prevailing uncertainties.

The potential layoffs, which could impact over 1,000 employees, represent a significant cost-cutting measure for the company, which recently announced an extension of its Series C round in December 2023.

According to an internal memo obtained by TechCabal, Tim Steel, Copia’s CEO, highlighted the likelihood of workforce reductions and the possibility of salary payment disruptions amid the uncertainties.

Steel emphasized that employee layoffs would be the initial step in cost containment.

Copia Ecommerce Platform

However, if unsuccessful, the company might consider shutting down, joining other Kenyan e-commerce startups like Wefarm and Zumi that have ceased operations since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While funding constraints and challenging market conditions have been cited by startups for their closures.

Experts suggest that factors such as business model viability, lack of industry data for expansion decisions, inadequate infrastructure, and a deficit in customer trust could also contribute to these closures.

Steel noted that Copia is legally obligated to provide a one-month notice of potential redundancies to all staff and conduct a one-month consultation period with affected employees.

The company will also inform the Labour Officer as required by law.

Despite being one of Kenya’s most well-funded startups, Copia exhibited signs of strain in 2023, laying off over 700 employees and exiting Uganda operations after just two years in the market.

Copia Ecommerce Platform

Amid an economic downturn and tight capital markets, Copia shifted its focus to optimizing operations and maximizing existing resources.

This included a 25% reduction in workforce affecting 350 employees.

In July 2023, Copia indicated plans to sustain profitability and enhance customer service through streamlined processes and cost reductions.

Expansion plans to other African markets, including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Mozambique, were put on hold to accelerate the drive to profitability.

Founded in 2013 by Tracy Turner and Jonathan Lewis, Copia aimed to enable customers in remote areas to order goods through its platform and receive deliveries via its network of agents.

Olivia Murphy
Driven by a commitment to excellence and integrity, Olivia strives to empower her audience with knowledge that enables informed decision-making and fosters a deeper understanding of the business world. She believes in the power of storytelling to bridge gaps, spark dialogue, and drive meaningful progress within the global business community.