The US development bank DFC has approved a US$6 million equity funding on Kenyan startup Copia and Rwanda’s Kasha.
Kenya’s mobile commerce Copia will receive US$5 million while Rwanda’s Kasha will receive US$1 million.
The investments in Copia and Kasha are part of the US$2.5 billion approved this quarter by the Board of Directors of DFC across nine projects that will advance development in Africa, Latin America, and emerging markets across the globe. An additional 30 investments totalling more than US$1 billion were approved by the agency since its last quarterly Board meeting in June, bringing total investments approved over the quarter to more than US$3.6 billion.
Copia will use the US$5 million to help grow its mobile commerce platform and logistics network, which delivers essential goods like food, personal care products, and school supplies to low- and middle-income consumers in rural and peri-urban areas of Kenya.
Founded by Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis in 2013, Copia combines the use of technology, local agents, efficient delivery strategies to supply products and services to “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP) consumers, enabling households to access goods that would otherwise be difficult to obtain without travelling to a major city.
Copia’s business model is designed to reach underserved communities including women and individuals earning less than us$10 per day, with approximately 70 per cent of customers employed by small businesses or farms.
Kasha, on the other hand, will utilize the US$1 million to help expand its E-commerce platform, delivering critical health and personal care products—including personal protective equipment—to women and girls across Rwanda and Kenya.
Enabling greater access to personal care products will also reduce school absences for girls, enabling them to improve their education. Kasha’s mobile platform is accessible with or without internet or a smartphone, selling products directly to low- and middle-income women in both rural and urban locations.
Kasha was first founded in 2016 by Joanna Bichsel in Rwanda and has since expanded to Kenya. The company has served over 55 000 clients, of which 75% are low-income, and delivered close to 600 000 products out of which 275 000+ are health products.
“The investments approved today mark the culmination of an exceptionally impactful quarter,” said DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler.
“DFC’s work over the past three months will unlock billions of dollars in some of the world’s most impoverished countries. These projects will help stabilize communities across the world and prepare them to thrive in the years ahead. I am extremely proud of the DFC team and grateful to our agency’s many partners for their continued leadership in the face of the pandemic.”