Jumia has entered into a partnership with one of its partners, Travelstart, with new aggressive drive towards profitability over growth.
In a statement released by Jumia on Monday, it said, “We have decided to enter into a partnership with our partner, Travelstart. While we will continue to promote the Travel category, Travelstart will be responsible for the operational side of the business.
“This partnership will ensure we remain hyper focused on our growth and path to profitability as we reinvest our resources in our key markets, services and technology to create the best customer experience in Africa and help Jumia thrive.”
Travelstart, the online flight-booking platform, operates mainly in Nigeria and South Africa. Conversations are ongoing with Wakanow and Konga Travel to absorb Jumia Travel employees subject to an interview process, a source present at the meeting told TechCabal.
Jumia Travel’s website will re-direct visitors to Travelstart by close of business Monday. It is unclear whether the “partnership” entails an acquisition as virtually every operational aspect of the business will be out of Jumia’s control going forward.
An email to employees said that Jumia Travel “will cease to operate our Hotels and Flights websites and apps,” even as they insist the business was not unsuccessful. Everything from revenue management and customer service to corporate sales will now be run by Travelstart.
A post-IPO bug has upset assumptions about the strength of Jumia group’s business. In the last month alone, the company has shut down operations in Cameroon and Tanzania, citing a need to refocus on viable components of its business.
Jumia Travel’s Managing Director, Omolara Adanugodo, could take over leadership of Jumia Food, Jumia’s food delivery service, while Guy Futi, the Congolese who heads Jumia Food, could be moved to another unit of the company. Also at the Monday meeting was Dele Awolala, Jumia Nigeria’s head of HR, who was said to be surprised at the new development with Jumia Travel.
Employees who don’t want to be absorbed by the food or Jumia mall ventures were told they are free to leave with their severance packages. Founded in 2013 as Jovago and rebranded in 2016, Jumia Travel has a staff of about 70 in Lagos.