Kenyan mobile commerce startup Copia raises $50m to ramp up African expansion

Kenyan mobile commerce startup Copia raises $50m to ramp up African expansion

Published: 21-01-2022 12:54:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 3638 | Tags:

Kenyan-based mobile commerce platform Copia Global raised $50 million in a Series C equity round led by Goodwell Investments. Copia is the first and only B2C e-Commerce platform with a distribution solution to serve the rapidly growing 750 million middle and low-income  African consumer market. 

Other significant participants in the funding are previous investors Lightrock, the German development finance institution DEG, and Perivoli Innovations. They are joined by new investors  Zebu Investment Partners, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Koa  Labs. 

Launched in Kenya in 2013, Copia Global harnesses mobile technologies, a network of local Agents,  and proprietary Copia Logistics to reach a market that formal retail and Western e-commerce models cannot. Copia brings quality products at the lowest market prices delivered at no cost to thousands of customers every day. To date, the company has fulfilled more than 10 million orders. 

Copia will use the capital to grow its proven model across East Africa and to expand into other  African countries, extending its service to millions of Africa’s underserved consumers.  

The company has built a network of more than 25,000 Agents, small shopkeepers who serve as order and delivery points, across Kenya and Uganda. This allows customers to choose how they interact with Copia – online or offline. Operating its own technology-enabled world-class logistics service, Copia can deliver to the most remote locations, even in places with poor road infrastructure or lack of addresses, at no additional cost to the customer. Urban and diaspora-based consumers can also use the service to shop for loved ones back home. 

Tim Steel, CEO, Copia Global: “While mobile technology underpins all we do, it is Copia’s relentless focus on building trust – by providing low prices, quality products, reliable delivery, and uncompromising customer service - that has enabled Copia to succeed in a market that many perceived impossible.”

According to the IMF, consumer spending in Africa is projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025, with the middle class driving this growth, a vast source of potential for prosperity. However, due to high logistics costs, formal retailers and Western-style e-commerce companies struggle to profitably serve this customer group. Tackling geographical barriers with world-class delivery capabilities, truck routing software, local knowledge, and mobile tracking technology, Copia can profitably serve a  previously unprofitable market. 

Els Boerhof, Managing Partner, Goodwell Investments: “Copia broadens access to affordable household goods for families, regardless of their income level, access to technology or location. This fits perfectly with Goodwell Investments' strategy to support businesses that provide un(der)served groups in Africa access to affordable essential goods and services. People in rural areas in Africa typically travel to the nearest city to buy essential goods such as building materials or medicine, which is costly and time-intensive: on average rural Kenyans, for example, spend over an hour and $4 per commute. Copia’s e-commerce model is built for the unique requirements of the African market and will save many Africans a lot of time and money. We see it as one of the next big leapfrogging technologies; just like mobile phones leapfrogged landlines and solar power leapfrogged the grid, Copia is leapfrogging retail. We are delighted to continue to support Copia by leading their Series C round.” 

Tracey Turner, Founder and Chairman, Copia Global: “I would like to extend a warm thank you to Goodwell and all our Series C investors. The funding enables Copia to grow rapidly and enable millions of African consumers to access quality household products, save money and make their lives better.”