Kenya’s B2B e-commerce meals distribution platform Twiga has laid off 211 of its full-time staff following restructuring that has eradicated the corporate’s in-house gross sales workforce.
The laid-off employees make up 21% of the over 1,000 staff primarily in Kenya, the place it hyperlinks farmers or agricultural producers and fast-moving client items manufactures to retailers.
The agritech’s CEO and co-founder Peter Njonjo instructed TechCrunch that the laid-off commerce improvement representatives (TDRs) got the choice of working for the corporate as unbiased brokers with pay primarily based on the shoppers they purchase and gross sales they make.
The representatives signed up distributors and had been in control of buyer relations, gathering market intelligence and selling merchandise to purchasers. Within the present proposition, the brokers will perform related duties.
Reports additionally state that Twiga has restricted its employees journey allowances as a part of its cost-cutting measures.
“Twiga just lately launched a brand new optimized gross sales brokers’ program … the place present commerce improvement representatives will transition from everlasting staff into unbiased brokers on a 100% fee foundation,” mentioned Twiga in response to a TechCrunch inquiry, including that the transition of the TDRs was made in step with labor legal guidelines and that impacted staff had been granted the primary proper of refusal to transition to the brand new mannequin.
The corporate says it plans to create 1,000 alternatives by the agent mannequin by the top of subsequent yr’s first quarter.
“This transition creates a possibility for entrepreneurship open to former gross sales brokers and most of the people. The advantage of this transition is that it permits for larger earnings primarily based on the trouble and enterprise of the agent. This mannequin has labored with different companies like insurance coverage and banking which have transitioned totally into Unbiased Brokers in Kenya.”
Twiga, co-founded by Njonjo and Grant Brooke in 2014, joins the rising listing of startups in Africa and throughout the globe downsizing amid a slowdown in VC funding, which has made capital for operations and progress exhausting to entry.
The adjustments come precisely a yr after Twiga raised $50 million in series C round to scale in Kenya and expand to neighboring countries. The spherical was led by Paris- and Nairobi-based household workplace and personal fairness agency Creadev as TLcom Capital, IFC Ventures, DOB Fairness and Goldman Sachs’ spinoff Juven made follow-on investments.
In addition they just lately launched Twiga Contemporary, an addition to its personal label by which it would farm and distribute its personal agricultural produce to merchants and to cope with traceability challenges, inventory outs and value volatility — which have made it exhausting for the corporate to ship on its promise of affordability and meals safety.