Africa’s Jumia Sees IPO Success; Ro Reaches USD$500m Valuation

DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: Africa’s Jumia sees IPO success; Ro reaches USD$500m valuation; and Amsale launches DTC for brides.

Africa’s Jumia sees IPO success

Despite hefty losses, Africa-based and focused Jumia’s e-commerce IPO was a success. Last week the company priced its IPO mid-range, selling 13.5 million shares at USD$4.50 (£3.44) each, valuing the business at just under USD$2bn (£1.5bn).

However, after listing on the New York Stock Exchange, Jumia’s shares closed at USD$25.46 (£19.47), up 75.6%. Analysts feel that, although Jumia could have sold fewer shares at a higher price, and kept more control of the company, the IPO was still a success.

The outcome of the IPO shows that there is an appetite on U.S. exchanges for high-risk tech companies still making a loss. No doubt that Jumia’s status as the ‘Amazon of Africa’ is a factor in the success here, with Amazon losing money for years before becoming the powerhouse it is today. What’s more, Jumia has a strong presence in Africa, a continent with around 1.2 billion people, it has huge growth potential.

Jumia will be a massive tool for African DTCs looking to scale, as well. With the continent being such a complex mix of cultures, Jumia could help direct-to-consumer businesses build out their customer base beyond their native market.

Ro reaches USD$500m valuation

Venture capitalists have valued direct-to-consumer telehealth business Ro at USD$500m (£382m) with a USD$85m (£65m) series B financing.

The fresh round of funding comes seven months after Ro widely known for its men’s health brand Roman, a cloud pharmacy for erectile dysfunction – made headlines with an USD$88m (£67m) series A.

The company’s outsized series A, led by FirstMark Capital, was used to launch and scale its second digital health brand, Zero, a treatment plan meant to help men and women quit smoking.

Its latest infusion of capital will likely be used in part to support its third personalised health brand, Rory, a purveyor of women’s health products the business unveiled last month. Targeting menopausal women, Rory offers six products, all of which are available for purchase and direct-to-consumer delivery.

Although the online men’s health industry is still fairly young, Ro are competing in a quickly developing sector. Hims, one of the leading brands in the space, has similarly landed big rounds of capital from top-tier investors, most recently achieving a USD$1bn (£760m) valuation. Other businesses competing for marketshare include Numan, Manual, and Thirty Madison.

Amsale launches DTC for brides

Amsale New York is giving its brides the power to customise their dress online and skip the boutique visit altogether.

In doing so, Amsale is courting the convenience-oriented, digitally savvy bride with a new direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform that streamlines the processes of picking out a wedding gown using 3D images from the house’s pattern library.

Brides shopping on the size-inclusive interactive customisation platform Amsale x You, can select from seven bodice styles and seven skirt silhouettes, input their measurements for each, add on a belt if desired, and checkout.

Though the options on Amsale x You are limited relative to the breadth of the house’s collections, the platform provides a compelling value proposition for time-pressed brides who don’t want the usual nine to 12 months recommended for the usual dress-shopping, dress-buying, and dress-altering process.

Amsale credits business software firm Infor with enabling its digital transformation. The e-commerce platform it debuted in December has seen sales double each month.