copia global
One of Copia's rural agents delivering food to consumers. Credit: Copia Global

Copia Global’s $50m round proves investor interest in Africa’s oft-ignored rural consumer

February 2, 2022

Copia Global, a Kenyan B2C e-commerce company, has secured $50 million in Series C funding in a round led by Goodwell Investments.

The round included previous investors LGT Lightrock, DEG Equity and Perivoli Innovations as well as Zebu Investment Partners, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Koa Labs as new investors. Copia will use the funding to expand from Kenya to other African nations.

This is Copia’s seventh round of funding taking its total raised to $103 million, according to Crunchbase. It last raised funding in 2020 when DFC injected $5 million in equity funding.

Why it matters

Copia’s food and products delivery service is one of a kind as it aims to revamp e-commerce models in Africa. Most e-commerce platforms are tailored to suit the needs of a market that’s connected to the internet, targeting clients in the middle to upper-income earning bracket who are often located in urban centers.

Across Africa, just 22% of the population has internet access, significantly behind the rest of the world. Copy-pasting Western e-commerce models in Africa is therefore not a viable solution for most of the continent’s rural dwellers who account for 59% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population.

Recognising this, Copia’s distribution solution is out to make e-commerce accessible to rural populations and empower this often neglected market.

How it works

Instead of making orders online, consumers who don’t have internet access can place orders with Copia’s network of 5,000 local, on-the-ground agents, stationed across Central and Western Kenya’s rural regions.

  • The current catalogue of goods includes food, household items, construction equipment, electronics, and farm inputs. Customers can expect these products to arrive back with the agents, who double up as pick-up points, in two to four days.
  • Urban dwellers, or people with access to the internet, can place orders through the Copia website and have goods delivered to rural areas for free.

By the numbers

  • Headquarters: Nairobi
  • Year founded: 2013
  • Number of employees: 200- 500 (>300, according to LinkedIn)
  • Funding raised: $103 million
  • Funding rounds: 7
  • Competitive landscape

There are a ton of e-commerce platforms operating in Kenya such as Jumia, Kilimall, PigiaMe, SkyGarden, Cheki, GadgetsAfrica, My Big Order, ShopIT, Jiji, Masoko among others but few if any of them target the rural population in the same way as Copia.

What they’re saying

“Copia’s proprietary logistics model helps to address the structural inequalities that adversely impact food security for middle-to-low-income Africans, as a result of poor infrastructure, fragmented supply chains among others,” one of Copia’s investors, Zebu managing partner Brian Frimpong, tells AFN.

“This investment is a step towards improving food security and access to goods for the base of the pyramid consumers, which Copia does so well through their proprietary logistics model. As a fund, we are pleased to support innovative models such as these, which in addition to addressing our core mandate of improving food security, also enhance the economic self-sufficiency of thousands of agents engaged as part of Copia’s proprietary model,” Fripmong continues.

He adds: “This partnership with Copia provides an opportunity to improve access to quality goods for rural communities across Africa, starting with Kenya, and with the capital raised in this round, Copia can expand across Africa and extend its services to millions more underserved rural consumers.”

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