M-KOPA Solar Raises $19m Equity Financing

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M-KOPA Solar, a pay-as-you-go rooftop solar provider said it has today closed US$19 million financing round led by London-based Generation Investment Management LLP., a fund founded by former US Vice President Al Gore together with David Blood as well as reinvestment by existing shareholders.

Meanwhile, Virgin group’s Sir Richard Branson and AOL’s Jean and Steve Case have joined in as new investors.

M-KOPA which is founded in Kenya, aims to use the funding to further expand the company’s management team, product range and international operations.

On February 2, the firm raised $12.45million in equity and debt deal led by LGT Venture Philanthropy while in February 2014 it raised $20 million in debt funding led by Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, LGT Venture Philanthropy, clients of Imprint Capital, and Netri Foundation.

The total money, Footprint to Africa learnt now adds to $51.45million both debt and equity financing.

In a statement, Jesse Moore, CEO and Co-Founder, M-KOPA, said, “We’re very pleased to have the world’s leading sustainability investors and entrepreneurs backing us at M-KOPA. We’re proving that solar power for the off-grid world will be transformative for customers, good for the planet and profitable for investors. In just three years we’ve reached over a quarter-million homes across three countries and we are just getting started.”

M-KOPA makes its solar home systems affordable to low-income households on a pay-as-you-go instalment plan. Customers pay a deposit of US$30, followed by 365 daily mobile money payments of 50 cents, or less than they would normally spend on kerosene fuel for lighting. After completing the payment plan, customers own their systems and can also upgrade for more power.

In just three years since commercial launch, M-KOPA has connected more than 280,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to solar power and is adding over more 500 homes each day. M-KOPA has over 2,000 full time staff and sales agents across East Africa.

M-KOPA has been recognised globally for scaling up its pay-as-you-go solar offering, including winning the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize and being selected by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top 50 Companies Changing the World.

Colin le Duc, Partner at Generation Investment Management, said M-KOPA’s innovative model means that modern solar-powered appliances can be made affordable to a huge new market. In addition to attractive long-term financial returns, this brings clear climate advantages and financial savings for low-income customers.

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