Kenya-based M-KOPA has raised its first ever investment of US$10million FinDev Canada in its latest funding round led by CDC and follow on investments by existing shareholders Generation Investment Management and LGT Venture Philanthropy.
As part of this investment, Dave Easton from CDC has officially joined M-KOPA’s Board of Directors.
According to Nick O’Donohoe, CEO, CDC says, “CDC is committed to supporting the off-grid solar industry in Africa and we’re demonstrating that commitment today by increasing our investment in M-KOPA by a further US$7m. M-KOPA is changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of low-income families in East Africa by bringing affordable and clean energy, financial services and essential appliances to their homes.”
The raise comes just after the Kenya-based M-KOPA has connected 600,000 homes across Africa, providing 75 million hours of kerosene-free lighting each month. Its battery-powered systems come with lights, phone charging, and a solar powered radio – with daily mobile money payments being less than the cost of traditional fuels. Customers can now also opt for a more powerful system with digital solar TV.
Most of the three million people living in M-KOPA connected homes are classified as low-income with per capita income of less than US$2 per day. Access to power is a major issue in Africa. According to the International Energy Agency, more than two-thirds of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa live off the electricity grid.
Jesse Moore, Co-Founder and CEO, M-KOPA says M-KOPA is about upgrading lives of its customers with high-quality and affordable energy solutions and the investment will help it bring power to another one million households over the next five years.
Women stand to gain the most from this off-grid solution and availability of electricity will have a transformative impact on family life. M-KOPA also offers good-quality jobs for women, with 52% of 800-plus East African work force of permanent employees and 44% of its commissioned sales agents being female.
After completing their payment plan the customer owns the system outright, or is able to get more cost-effective financing for a range of productive assets. M-KOPA has sold over 250,000 of these upgrade assets including more lights, televisions, energy-efficient cooking stoves, water tanks and internet-enabled smartphones.
“Our investment will allow M-KOPA to reach more households across East Africa, providing access to power, improving the environment, creating significant levels of employment and helping customers save money and build a credit history,” said Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director of FinDev Canada.