Kenyan E-Commerce Firm Founded In Silicon Valley Raises $26M Series B To Expand Into Africa

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Kenyan e-commerce firm
Copia Global, an e-commerce firm giving Kenyans in rural areas access to goods through an online platform, has raised a $26 million investment. Residents queue for free water transported in by the municipality, in Senekal, South Africa on Jan. 7, 2016. Image: AP/Denis Farrell

Copia Global, an e-commerce firm giving underserved Kenyans in rural areas access to goods they’d normally have to travel for, has raised a $26 million investment led by LGT Lightstone.

Copia uses technology combined with a network of more than 5,000 local shopkeepers who serve as ordering and delivery points across parts of Kenya.

These agents allow Copia to deliver goods and services that benefit around 180,000 underserved consumers in rural parts of Kenya, making it the “Amazon of rural areas”. 

The e-commerce platform was founded in Silicon Valley in 2013 by social entrepreneurs Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis and is now based in Nairobi, according to Ventureburn.

Copia Global co-founder Tracey Turner

Turner and Lewis are business executives with successful track records as social entrepreneurs, according to DignityCapital.

Turner, who previously lived in Kenya, was the founder of MicroPlace, a company that allowed non-accredited investors in the U.S. to make investments in microfinance funds that create positive social and economic impact while earning a financial return. Turner went on to sell MicroPlace to eBay, before founding Copia with Lewis.

Lewis is a social justice activist and social entrepreneur who founded social venture firm MCE Social Capital, and Opportunity Collaboration, an annual strategic business retreat for 450 senior-level anti-poverty leaders from around the world.

An e-commerce firm for rural areas

The Series B investment is expected to enable Copia to strengthen its operations in Kenya’s rural areas while expanding into other East African countries, Ventureburn reports.

People living in rural Kenya can only buy limited products at their local mini-markets. Copia says it makes it possible for these shoppers to order online and have a wide variety of items delivered to them within days.

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London-based impact investor LGT Lightstone led the funding round, Crunchbase reports.

Participating investors included Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investments, Silicon Valley-based investment firm Endeavor Catalyst, Nimble Ventures, a San Francisco-based family office that makes venture capital investments, and Perivoli Innovations, a Mauritius-based investor focused on early-stage digital and tech companies in sub-Saharan Africa.

The $26 million is Copia’s second funding round of 2019. The e-commerce platform raised a $2 million equity investment through Goodwell Investments in February.

Copia previously raised $4 million in funding during 2017 from various investors including Savannah Fund, DOB Equity, Data Collective DCVC and the Opes Impact Fund, according to Crunchbase.