Kenyan startup M-KOPA Solar has closed its fourth round of investment through a US$12.45 million equity and debt deal led by LGT Venture Philanthropy, which will be used to expand the company’s product range, grow its operating base in East Africa and license its technology to other markets.
M-KOPA Solar is the market leader of ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy for off-grid customers, combining mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to enable the leasing of solar power systems. It has connected more than 150,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to solar power since launching in 2012.
LGT Venture Philanthropy has backed M-KOPA since 2011, and is now making its biggest investment yet in a fourth round which also includes reinvestments from Lundin Foundation and Treehouse Investments and a new investment from Blue Haven Initiative.
“Our investors see innovation and scale in what M-KOPA does. And we see a massive unmet market opportunity to provide millions of off-grid households with affordable, renewable energy. We are just getting started in terms of the scale and impact of what we will achieve,” said Jesse Moore, managing director and co-founder of M-KOPA Solar.
Oliver Karius, partner at LGT Venture Philanthropy, said: “We believe that we are at the dawn of a multi-billion dollar ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy industry. LGT Venture Philanthropy is a long-term investor in M-KOPA Solar because they’ve proven to be the market leaders,both in terms of innovating and delivering scale. We have also seen first-hand what positive impacts their products have on customers lives – making low-income households wealthier and healthier.”
The startup closed its most recent funding round in December 2013, raising US$20 million in a round which featured a working capital debt facility and was led by the Commercial Bank of Africa.
Disrupt Africa reported last month M-KOPA Solar became the first company from Sub-Saharan Africa to win the Zayed Future Energy Prize, and will use the US$1.5 million winnings to launch a training and development programme called M-KOPA University.