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Kenya: Copia to Lay Off Over 1,000 Employees

A memo dated May 16th from the e-commerce platform Copia Kenya to all its employees has disclosed the company’s impending restructuring of operations due to ongoing financial difficulties.

According to the notice, issued after a meeting held on May 15th, the company is considering laying off staff or potentially shutting down entirely amidst these persisting financial challenges.

Copia has issued a one-month notice to employees in roles that may soon become redundant, signaling the need for staff members to prepare for potential changes in their employment status.

While the company expresses its intention to explore alternative revenue streams to salvage operations, its current financial struggles raise concerns about its long-term viability and potential collapse.

“Despite our best efforts to navigate this challenge, we find ourselves in a position where we must consider a far-reaching organizational re-structuring to ensure the sustainability of our operations,” the memo stated.

Copia was founded in 2013 by Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis, who had individually built and sold social impact finch companies in Sillicon Valley in the early 2000s. Since that period, the e-commerce startup had grown to become one of Kenya’s most promising enterprises – with a capital injection of more than US$ 100 million.

In its Series C funding round in 2022, Copia secured a significant investment of US$50 million. However, the company’s fortunes began to decline last year.

After withdrawing from the Ugandan market in April 2023, Copia’s efforts to realign its strategies were challenged by the vulnerabilities of its business model.

Subsequently, in July of the same year, Copia implemented a workforce reduction, laying off a quarter of its staff, signaling a foreboding outlook for its future.

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