African Tech: 54Gene, Swvl, Wave… Start-ups are laying off staff at every turn

By Quentin Velluet
Posted on Thursday, 17 November 2022 14:41

Based in Nigeria, 54Gene is the first private African laboratory to sequence the entire human genome ©54gene

The time is ripe for austerity for the continent's start-ups, which are not immune to a global trend favouring profitability over growth.

Its fall has been as meteoric as its rise. At the end of October, Abasi Ene-Obong, co-founder and CEO of 54Gene, one of Africa’s leading biotech start-ups, announced he was stepping down from the management of the venture he had founded in 2019.

This follows the decision of its co-founder, Ogochukwu Francis Osifo, who resigned in September. The 36-year-old Nigerian geneticist remains a senior advisor to the company, which in just four years of existence has had to weather two major external crises.