Pay-As-You-Go renewable energy cum asset financing company M-Kopa has raised USD 250 million (nearly Kshs 35 billion) in new funding to continue its expansion plans on the continent.
Japan-based Sumitomo Corporation led the funding round alongside Blue Haven Initiative, Lightrock, Broadscale Group and Latitude.
“The capital injection includes $55 million in equity and over $200 million in debt,” according to TechCrunch.
M-Kopa has now raised USD 245 million in equity funding since its inception 12 years ago.
M-Kopa, which is based in Kenya also has operations in other African countries namely Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. In Nigeria and Ghana, the company’s newest markets, it offers users smartphone financing while those in the East African nations of Kenya and Uganda get the full gamut of its offerings including solar-powered radios, televisions and lighting equipment in addition to smartphone financing.
Smartphone financing has turned out to be the company’s cash cow. In just a year and a half of its launch, the company had already issued out over half a million smartphones, a development that saw it net 1 million new users in just a year and a half. It had taken a whole 8 years to get its first 1 million users.
The company’s smartphone financing which entails customers depositing a small sum upfront, taking possession of the smartphone and paying for it in daily instalments, the same arrangement it has had for over a decade with its solar-powered home systems, is widely credited with turning around the fortunes of smartphone maker Samsung in the Kenyan market in 2022 by research firm IDC.
At the start of 2020, M-Kopa partnered with Samsung and Safaricom to offer customers access to the Galaxy A10s at a daily rate of Kshs 60. It has since expanded its offerings to include several latest Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy A03, Galaxy A03 Core, Galaxy A04E, Galaxy A04S, Galaxy A13 and Galaxy A23, alongside others from Nokia.
The company, which has previously been accused of profiting off the backs of the poor, pulled out of Tanzania, one of its early markets.
In March last year, the firm secured funding to the tune of USD 75 million (over Kshs 100 million in today’s money, about Kshs 85 million then) to enable its expansion plans. M-Kopa plans to expand to at least one new African market this year.