Major Layoffs Following Administration

Kenyan e-commerce startup Copia Global has laid off 1,060 employees just two weeks after the company entered administration. This move comes on the heels of an internal memo revealing the B2C platform’s struggles with payroll, raising serious questions about its future operations.

Meeting with Staff and Immediate Actions

In a brief 20-minute meeting held on Thursday, Copia’s CEO Tim Steel, alongside the newly appointed administrators, informed staff about the layoffs. Employees were asked to return company property, such as laptops and tablets, and to sign their termination letters by Friday, June 7th.

Though Copia has committed to paying a one-month salary along with other benefits like accrued unpaid leave days in compliance with Kenyan labor laws, the administrators have not provided a specific timeline for these payments. This uncertainty has sparked concern among employees, especially in light of the recent delay in May salaries, which were only disbursed this week. Two employees expressed their reluctance to sign termination letters until a clear payment schedule is provided.

Historical Struggles and Operational Scale-Backs

The current layoffs are part of a broader pattern of financial difficulties for Copia Global. According to an ex-employee, the company began experiencing significant business challenges in 2022. Financial constraints forced Copia to scale back its operations, including exiting the Ugandan market less than two years after its launch and laying off 700 employees.

Recent Operational Changes

Earlier this week, Copia ceased taking orders from six key locations in Kenya, including Embu and Eldoret, likely in an effort to cut down on expenses. Employees working in these affected markets were asked to take leave. At its height, Copia operated a 50,000-agent network serving rural Kenya.

Future Uncertainty for Copia Global

The significant layoffs and operational cutbacks suggest that Copia Global is facing severe financial instability, raising concerns about the company's viability moving forward. As employees await clarity on their compensation and the company navigates its financial turmoil, the future of Copia Global remains uncertain.