Kenyan pay-as-you-go solar provider M-KOPA Solar extends product offering

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Kenyan pay-as-you-go solar provider M-KOPA Solar has taken a new direction by allowing customers to purchase home improvement and technology products through its mobile payments platform.

M-KOPA Solar raised a total of US$31.45 million in funding last year – making it one of the best-funded startups in Africa according to Disrupt Africa’s African Tech Startups Funding Report 2015.

The startup has begun 2016 by announcing it has so far sold 40,000 home-improvement and technology products. The new collection of products – which includes lights, energy-efficient cooking stoves, smartphones and water tanks – is only available for households who have successfully completed the payment plan on their solar home systems.

“Delivering the promise of a better future for our customers is at the heart of what we do. It is great that customers with a responsible payment history can use their solar home systems to access practical products that help them get ahead,” said Jesse Moore, chief executive officer (CEO and co-founder at M-KOPA.

Daily payments are KES50 (US$0.50), the same as the solar home system installments, while mobile payment plans – of varying lengths, depending on the product value – are managed through the control panel on the solar home systems.

“Most M-KOPA households have per capita income of less than KES200 (US$2) per day. This makes it hard to save up to buy life improving products like fuel-efficient stoves. It is also hard to access loans from financial institutions. But with a good credit history M-KOPA makes it easy to upgrade your life. We are trusted to offer a range of practical and affordable products,” said Moore.

Energy-saving stoves have been the highest seller to date, while smartphones are also proving popular.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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