Copia Global, A Kenyan e-Commerce Company Secures $50 Million To Fuel Expansion Plans Across Africa

Copia is a service that lets users purchase quality goods at affordable prices and get them delivered to them within two to four days. The service delivers foodstuff, household, construction, electronic items and farm feeds to locations in Kenya after an order has been placed on them.

Copia Global, a B2C e-commerce company based in Kenya has secured $50 million in a Series C equity round which was led by Goodwell Investments. New investors Koa Labs, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Zebu Investment Partners, as well as old investors Lightrock, German development finance institution DEG, and Perivoli Innovations, participated in the round.

The round brings the total amount raised by the e-commerce company to $103 million and comes three years after the company raised $26 million in a Series B round. According to a statement, the company leverages mobile technology, a network of local agents and its logistics arm Copia Logistics to gain access into a space untapped by businesses using the conventional Western e-commerce model. Founded by Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis, Copia Global is a B2C e-commerce platform designed to serve middle and low-income earners in Africa.

Copia’s successful business is based on its approach to this “untapped” market. What it does is that it places its focus on customers (low and middle-income earners) living in rural areas. People living in these areas face the problem of accessing goods and services that their urban counterparts have access to with ease, and so the idea is to bring give them this “access”. “The whole premise of Copia was to find a solution that was sustainable and profitable to serve consumers that we could improve their quality of life and that of their families”, CEO Tim Steel explained.

The pattern with Africans, especially low and middle-income earners, is to visit physical stores. The major reason for this is the lack of trust for these e-commerce platforms while another is deliveries. To earn the trust of people, Copia employs a model, described as a three-way relationship, that involves the company, its 30,000 agents present across communities in Kenya and its customers.

A part of Copia’s strategy involves recruiting people who own small businesses and have their own customer base that trusts them, as agents. Their primary duty involves advertising and selling Copia to their customers and people in their communities.

With Copia, when people make orders in a particular location, the company delivers it to its agents in that location where customers can pick their orders up. This method saves users from paying a delivery fee. Orders can, however, be delivered to customers’ homes upon request. CEO Tim Steel explained “This helps to create the viability of the model from a cost and unit economics perspective. But it also means that we don’t suffer the same issues many e-commerce companies face where deliveries fail because the receiver is not available at the location. Our agents are always there because they’re running their businesses”.

With Copia, people can choose to have an item delivered to their friends and family. For instance, people in other countries can easily buy from Copia’s platform and have the item delivered to their loved ones in Kenya, saving them time and cost of sending them to Kenya.

Copia has 30,000 agents across Kenya and 77 percent of them are women, making it quite easy to spread the word about the company. Orders are delivered to customers between 24 to 48 hours after they have been made via the company’s platform.

Speaking on the investment Els Boerhof, the managing partner at Goodwell Investments, said in a statement that “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”.

Thanks to the new funding from the Series C funding round, the company will launch its plans to grow its operations across East Africa and eventually enter into the untapped markets in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc.

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