The similarities are hard to miss. They both deliver only to Lagos and even the welcome pages bear a striking resemblance
Jumia Fresh welcome page
Konga Daily welcome page
However, unlike Konga, which stocks a sizeable inventory (at least for perishable groceries, last time I checked) Jumia has chosen to take the partnership route by working with an established online grocery delivery service.
I find it interesting that while Jumia has the resources to go the inventory route, they have chosen to partner with potential competition, no less Supermart.ng, which happens to be the brainchild of ex Jumia executives, Raphael Afaedor and Gbolahon Fagbure.
This begs a lot of questions. Why has Jumia chosen to partner with Supermart.ng? Is it a purely business decision? Or could it be a precursor to a possible acquisition/merger, especially on the backdrop of recent consolidation efforts?
The later is not so far-fetched, especially when you consider the secrecy around Raphael and Gbolahan’s exit from Jumia. When I asked about this during an interview in 2015, all Raphael had to say was:
When you build something and get to the point where you feel your baby is now on its feet, you have to ask yourself what’s the best way of spending your time, that can actually benefit the industry.
In hindsight now, I can’t help wondering if “benefit the industry” was a hint at the role Rocket Internet (Jumia’s parent body) had to play in the building of Supermart. The funding sources for Supermart are still shrouded in secrecy to date. You also have to remember that Rahpael and Gbolahan were essentially Rocket Internet employess, not co-founders of Jumia per se.
I will be interesting to observe how things pan out. Interestingly, Supermart.ng’s business model does not involve stocking inventory either. Rather, it serves as an aggregator for offline grocery stores in Lagos, essentially making it primarily a software solution. It could be then that Jumia is trying out Supermart’s technology for possible acquisition consideration. But then again, what happens to Supermart’s fleet of delivery vehicles? Will they be acquired too?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. However, we have reached out to the Supermart.ng founders for comments; they are yet to respond. We will update you on any new developments.