Victoria from Techpoint here,
Here's what I've got for you today:
- Cellulant lays off… again
- Twiga Foods' CEO resigns
Cellulant lays off… again
Kenyan payments startup, Cellulant, has disclosed that it recently laid off employees for the third time in 2023, citing “strategic operational adjustments” to improve efficiency and support growth.
Following these changes, the company's operations fell into three core business units: banking, collections, and payouts, in December of last year.
The announcement came a day after the company's CEO, Akshay Grover, announced his resignation on January 4, 2024.
According to Techweez, the company did not reveal the number of affected employees, but TechCabal reported that at least four senior executives left the fintech.
Between 2014 and 2018, Cellulant raised $54.5 million in funding. In September 2022, it intended to launch a $100 million series D round of funding, but that plan was shelved.
Consequently, at the start of 2023, Cellulant started restructuring due to its inability to obtain funding. In the first wave of layoffs scheduled for the year, Cellulant let go of 27 workers.
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August 2023 saw a 20% staff reduction because the company was implementing a "leaner product-led structure."
Following Grover's departure, Peter O'Toole, the company's former CFO, takes over as acting CEO.
What’s more, the fintech announced that more senior executives will join the leadership team soon.
Twiga Foods' CEO resigns
Remember this? Twiga Foods' CEO wants to take a 6-month sabbatical
Peter Njonjo, the CEO and co-founder of Twiga Foods, announced his resignation from the company's board of directors last week, a month after announcing a 6-month sabbatical.
When I last talked to you about Twiga Foods, I said Njonjo stated that he was taking the sabbatical to attend to personal matters because of an "intense 2023."
This time, his reason for resigning from the board is his limited ability to add "very little value" to the company.
However, this move seems to corroborate earlier rumours that Njonjo was let go as CEO in 2023.
Grant Brooke (co-founder and former CEO) and Njonjo launched Twiga in 2014. Following Brooke's resignation, Njonjo formally assumed the CEO role in January 2020.
The company at the time focused on agricultural goods and improved the efficiency of connecting farmers' produce with markets.
After Njonjo became CEO, he established a B2B supply chain for FMCG and other consumer goods. The B2B eCommerce company also announced the launch of a new subsidiary, Twiga Fresh, in May 2022.
Nonetheless, Twiga started facing financial challenges in 2023. It also laid off about one-third of its employees in August 2023. But Twiga was able to pay off its debts after raising $35 million in convertible bonds from several investors, including Creadev and Juven.
What now? Njonjo says that following his initial "resignation," he agreed to work through a six-month transition period at the board’s request so that it could hire a new CEO.
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Happy New Year!
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.