Kenya’s Twiga lays off in-house sales team, affecting 21% of its workforce

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Kenya-based B2B e-commerce food distribution platform Twiga has laid off 211 full-time employees following restructuring, effectively eliminating the company’s in-house sales team.

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It has furloughed 21% of its workforce of more than 1,000, mainly in Kenya, where it links farmers or agricultural producers and retailers of fast-moving consumer goods.

Peter Nonjo, CEO and co-founder of Agritech, told TechCrunch that the fired business development representatives were given the option to work as independent agents for the company, paid based on the customers and sales they achieved. Were.

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The representatives signed up vendors and were in charge of customer relations, gathering market information and promoting products to customers. In the present proposal, the agents will perform the same duties.

The report also states that Twiga has capped the travel allowance of its employees as part of cost-cutting measures.

Responding to an inquiry by TechCrunch, Twiga said, “Twiga has recently launched a new customized sales agents program… where existing Business Development Representatives (TDRs) are converted from permanent employees to independent agents on a 100% commission basis.” Will be.” TDR was made in line with labor laws and affected employees were given the first right of refusal to transition to the new model.

The company says it plans to create 1,000 opportunities through the agent model by the end of the first quarter of next year.

“This change creates open entrepreneurship opportunities for ex-sales agents and the general public. The advantage of this change is that it allows for higher earnings depending on the effort and enterprise of the agent. This model has influenced other businesses like insurance and banking. Have worked with businesses that have transitioned into fully independent agents in Kenya.

Twiga, co-founded by Nzonjo and Grant Brooke in 2014, joins a growing list of startups in Africa and around the world amid a downturn in VC funding that has made it harder to access capital for operations and growth.

The changes come just a year after Twiga raised $50 million in a massive Series C round in Kenya and expanded to neighboring countries. The round was led by the Paris- and Nairobi-based family office and private equity firm Creedev as a spinoff of Goldman Sachs from Telkom Capital, IFC Ventures, DOB Equity and Juven.

They also recently launched Twiga Fresh, in addition to its private label, through which it will cultivate and distribute its farm produce to traders and to tackle traceability challenges, stock outs and price volatility – which has created huge business opportunities for the company. Made it difficult to distribute. The promise of affordability and food security.

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