BY TOM JACKSON
The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved US$6 million in equity investments in Africa-based e-commerce companies Copia Global and Kasha.
The US development bank, DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world, investing across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology.
The investments in Kenya’s Copia, which totals US$5 million, and Rwanda’s Kasha – a US$1 million investment – are part of US$3.6 billion in total disbursements approved over the quarter into 39 projects that will advance development in Africa, Latin America, and emerging markets across the globe.
Launched in 2013, Copia combines technology and a network of more than 5,000 local agents to offer a broad product offering and efficient, reliable delivery to “base of the pyramid” consumers.
The service enables rural households to access goods that would otherwise be difficult to obtain without travelling to a major city. Copia has so far fulfilled three million orders, which take on average only two to three days.
Copia, which raised US$26 million in a Series B equity round in November last year,has secured US$5 million from DRC, which it will use to further grow its mobile commerce platform and logistics network.
Kasha, meanwhile, launched in July 2016 and sells menstrual care products, contraceptives, pharmaceuticals and a range of beauty products, and delivers to customers confidentially.
The startup allows customers to place orders for products via its website, a mobile app, SMS shortcode or phone call. It does not require a smartphone or internet connection, and is focused on female empowerment and self-care.
The startup expanded to Kenya last year, and in April raised funding from Finnfund, a Finnish development financier and professional impact investor for further growth. It has now added to that round with US$1 million from DRC, which will be used to expand the platform.
“The investments approved today mark the culmination of an exceptionally impactful quarter,” said DFC chief executive officer (CEO) 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 stabilise 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.”