Here’s what you need to know about Jumia, the Alibaba of Africa that’s getting ready to IPO on the New York Stock Exchange

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One of the first unicorns out of Africa is about to go public.

Jumia Technologies’ public debut is expected any day now. On Thursday, Nigerian-founded company set a price range of $13 to $16 per American depository share, according to its updated offering paperwork. At the mid-point of its price range, the company, which plans to have its shares trade under the ticker symbol “JMIA,” would raise $195.8 million in its IPO at a $1.1 billion valuation.

It expects to raise another $56 million in a private sale of stock to Mastercard Europe at the same time as its public offering. Morgan Stanley is leading the IPO, working with Citigroup; Germany’s Berenberg Capital Markets; RBC Capital Markets; Raymond James; Stifel, Nicolaus; and William Blair.

Jumia was born in Nigeria, but is based in Germany

Jumia was founded in 2012 in Lagos, Nigeria. It eventually grew into the conglomerate known as the Africa Internet Group, run by cofounders and co-CEOs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara.

On January 31, 2019, AIG officially renamed itself Jumia Technologies after its popular Nigerian e-commerce website, one of a handful of different companies it previously operated under the AIG umbrella. The company has sold off some of those subsidiaries to other owners, including online real estate website Jumia House.

Despite its African founding and focus, Jumia’s global business is incorporated and has its headquarters in Berlin.

The startup’s biggest and earliest backers include Africa-based Mobile Telephone Networks, which owns 29.7% of Jumia; Germany’s Rocket Internet, which owns 20.6%; and the cellular company Millicon, which owns 9.6%, according to the documents Jumia has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Among its other investors is Goldman Sachs.

Jumia offers e-commerce, logistics, and payments

Like Amazon in the US and Alibaba in China, Jumia has established itself in Africa as the go-to marketplace for a wide variety of goods and services. On its sites, customers can purchase clothing and electronics, order food for delivery, and even book hotel rooms.

But Jumia offers more than just consumer shopping sites. It also helps sellers ship their goods to customers via its logistics service and offers them a payment service.

The company has 41 million active customers, and 81,000 active retailer partners who sell through its sites.

Jumia brought in $149.6 million in revenue last year, which was up 39% from 2017, according to its filings. But like Lyft and many other technology companies going public lately, Jumia is still operating in the red. It lost $195 million in 2018, compared to about $189 million the year before.

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The company claims to be the “only” successful e-commerce business working across Africa. But it believes it has more room to grow as internet penetration increases across Africa and as online shopping grows in popularity.

“As Africa becomes more affluent and ‘connected,’ we believe that African consumers will increasingly become aware of online shopping,” the company said in its latest SEC filing. “Moreover, organized retail is underdeveloped across most of the continent, making the distribution of goods less efficient than in other regions in the world. ”

Jumia’s marketplace is available in 14 African countries, which represent 72% of the continent’s overall gross domestic product, according to the filing. Residents of those countries accounted for 74% of the €1.4 trillion in consumer spending across Africa, Jumia said in the filing.

“Though still nascent, we believe that e-commerce in Africa is well positioned to grow,” the company said.

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