Funding

M-KOPA Secures $51M from US Government to Boost Affordable Smartphone Access in Kenya

What’s this about?

  • M-KOPA secured a $51 million loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to enhance digital connectivity in Kenya by providing affordable smartphones to underserved communities.
  • The funding was part of a larger $250 million package announced during President Ruto’s visit to Washington, D.C., with DFC also opening a regional office in Nairobi to support private sector development in Kenya and Africa.
  • M-KOPA has successfully raised significant capital in recent years, including over $250 million in 2022, to expand its financial services and provide digital financial access to over 4 million underbanked individuals across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Zoom in…

M-KOPA, a fintech platform that connects underbanked customers to financing and digital financial services in Kenya and four other African markets, has received a $51 million loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The DFC announced during President Ruto’s State Visit to Washington, D.C that it has given more than $250 million in a new financing package to various Kenyan firms and that there would be a regional office opening at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to support private sector development in Kenya and across Africa.

This loan will particularly support digital connectivity throughout the country by helping underserved communities access affordable smartphones.

Recently, M-KOPA partnered with Bolt to launch an electric bike fleet in Kenya to allow new and existing drivers an opportunity to lease ROAM and Ampersand electric motorbikes at a discounted price. The 5,000 electric motorcycle rollout aligns with the recent launch of Kenya’s National E-mobility Policy, aimed at promoting local production and assembly of EVs.

By the Numbers

M-KOPA has provided more than $1Bn in credit to individuals who would not ordinarily qualify for formal financing products. Through its innovative micropayments model, which does not require collateral or a guarantor, the company has unlocked access to previously inaccessible products and digital financial services for over 4 million people. By making smartphones affordable, its offering has enabled customers to connect to the internet, many for the first time, and to improve their livelihoods as active participants in the digital economy. The firm directly employs over 2,000 people across Africa with a network of over 20,000 sales agents expanding its reach.

Last year, M-KOPA secured over $250m in new debt and equity funding to expand its financial services offering to underbanked consumers across Sub-Saharan Africa. It also received $65 million in the same year from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to make capital assets more accessible to customers.

The $250 million funding was led and arranged by Standard Bank Group with participation from The International Finance Corporation (IFC), funds managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners, FMO: Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, British International Investment, Mirova SunFunder and Nithio. A further $55m in equity investment was backed by existing strategic investor Sumitomo Corporation. Blue Haven Initiative, Lightrock, Broadscale Group and Latitude, the sister fund to Local Globe, also participated in the transaction.

In 2022, M-KOPA raised $75 million in a growth equity round led by Generation Investment Management and Broadscale Group, with new investors such as LocalGlobe’s Latitude Fund and HEPCO Capital Management joining in. CDC Group and LGT Lightrock, two of M-current KOPA’s investors, also participated in the round.

What they are saying…

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s (DFC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Scott Nathan said, “The U.S. and Kenya have strong ties that include a robust relationship with the private sector,. With this week’s announcements, DFC is doubling down on its commitments to Kenya’s development, with investments into energy, e-mobility, and infrastructure. DFC is also expanding its on-the-ground presence by opening an office to help us better pursue opportunities across the region.”

According to Jesse Moore, M-KOPA CEO and Co-founder, “ As we continue to scale we remain committed to building a sustainable business and closing economic and digital gender gaps. We are delighted to have the support of new and existing investors who share our vision and mission.”

Present in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and most recently South Africa, M-KOPA is supporting individuals without access to traditional financial services and is also establishing Kenya’s first local smartphone assembly factory, adding 300 recent graduates to its workforce, 70% of whom were first-time job holders. 

Source: techmoran.com

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