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Copia Funding Rounds Timeline: Over $123 Million Raised

Copia kenya funding

By now, you have probably heard the news that Copia is in administration after failing to raise funding. The startup has not had difficulties raising funding before and has so far raised a total of over $123 Million. The most recent round was December 2023 when it raised $20 Million so it is strange to see it face difficulties 6 months later. 

Context

Copia is a ecommerce startup founded in 2013 by Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis. Through the platform, customers could order goods and have them delivered to remote areas that may not be the main target of most other ecommerce platforms.

The startup positions itself as the platform that recruits small business owners and trains them to be agents. These are the people who live in the communities Copia targets and help members of the said communities to make purchases through its platform. The agents also act as the delivery points Copia uses and where customers pick their orders. 

The idea was that some of these goods were available at a reasonable price through Copia or customers can get more varieties to choose from compared to what you can get in some of the remote areas. 

At its peak, Copia claimed to have over 30,000 delivery locations in Kenya alone and had served over 2 million customers and fulfilled 13 million orders. 

Seed Funding (January 2013) – Undisclosed Amount

The first funding round was a seed round led by Savannah Fund with the participation of Opes Impact Fund and DCVC. While the amount raised in the seed round is unknown, the lead investor, Savannah Fund, was at the time investing anywhere between $25,000 and around $500,000 in other startups.

Venture Funding (January 2015) – $4 Million

Two years after raising an undisclosed amount, Copia raised $4 Million in January 2015. This funding round was led by DOB Equity with the participation of D3 Jubilee. It is also not clear what the raised funding was intended for but it was probably used for staffing, marketing and expansion. 

Venture Funding (September 2018) – $16 Million

In September 2018, Copia raised $16 million in another venture  round that Lightrock took part in. This was the highest amount the startup had raised yet and was quite impressive for such a young company.

Series A Funding (January 2019) – $2 Million

A few months after raising $16 Million, the startup raised an additional $2 Million in a Series A round led by Goodwell Investments. Through this investment, Goodwell got an undisclosed stake in the company through its uMunthu fund. According to Copia, this investment was to help expand its geographical footprint in Kenya and other countries. 

Series B Funding (November 2019) – $26 million 

In November 2019, Copia raised $26 Million in a Series B funding round led by Lightrock. This round saw the participation of 5 other investors and they include Perivoli Innovations, Nimble Ventures, Goodwell Investments, Endeavor Catalyst and elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization. 

Copia was to use this funding to expand across Kenya and other African markets. At this point, it had already fulfilled over 3 million orders. 

Venture Funding (September 2020) – $5 Million

Almost 1 year later, Copia raised $5 Million through the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. This funding was to help grow the startup’s mobile commerce platform and logistics network. 

The startup expanded to Uganda in 2021, it later exited the Ugandan market in April 2023.

Series C (January 2022) – $50 Million

This is the highest funding round by Copia and  it was led by Goodwell Investments. Other investors who took part include  Lightrock, DEG Equity, Perivoli Innovations, Zebu Capital, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Koa Labs. 

The funding was meant to again help the startup expand presence across East Africa and other African countries. When closing this round, Copia revealed that it had fulfilled over $10 million orders and had $1.4 million unique customers. 

Series C Extension  (December 2023) – $20 Million

The last funding round Copia took part in was in December 2023 when it raised $20 million in a Series C extension round. This round was led by Enza Capital with the participation of Lightrock, Goodwell Investments, DFC, DEG, Elea, Perivoli Foundation, and Sorenson Foundation.

Through this funding round Enza Capital’s co-founder, John Lazar, joined Copia’s board. 

While Copia has raised over $123 million, it seems to still struggle as the $20 million it raised in December 2023 is not enough to get it out of the mess it is in. The company is trying to raise funding even at this point but that will be hard given that it had burned through $123 million with no significant brand presence. The interesting thing is that most people in Kenya, including those in remote areas, do not know what Copia does. They might have heard about the company but they do not know how it operates and that they are the customers it is targeting.

I will be following keenly to see what happens in the end.

See: Copia Global & Visa Partner to Extend Financial Services to Africa’s Mass Market

About author

Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email: kaluka@techarena.co.ke
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