Kenyan startup Copia launches rural e-commerce service

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Kenyan startup Copia has launched a new online shopping solution that makes it easier for people living in urban areas to buy goods and have them delivered to their friends and family upcountry.

Launched in 2013, Copia combines technology and 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. Pre-paid orders take on average only two to three days to be fulfilled.

Copia secured US$2 million in funding from Goodwell Investments in January, and has now launched Copia Online, which consists of an e-commerce website that provides consumers living in urban areas of Kenya the ability to shop for products ranging from household goods, to farming tools, electronics, construction materials and more.

At checkout, all a customer needs to do is provide the phone number of a friend or family member upcountry, with Copia doing the rest – locating the recipient, identifying the nearest delivery centre agent, and delivering the goods.

The startup said this model transforms e-commerce by affording both urban shoppers and their rural family and friends greater choice, affordability and convenience when shopping for everyday items.

“Copia’s rapid growth in just five years shows the demand that exists among Kenyans in both rural and urban areas for digitally-powered solutions that make their day-to-day shopping needs easier,” said Tim Steel, chief executive officer (CEO) of Copia.

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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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