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The amazing rise of M-Kopa; Kenya solar energy startup

Kenyan pay-as-you-go solar energy startup M-Kopa Solar, has taken its investment to the next milestone by raising $19 million funding round.

M-KOPA provides ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy for off-grid customers, combining mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to enable the leasing of solar power systems.

The funding round was led by London-based Generation Investment Management (Founded by former US Vice President Al Gore together with David Blood). Also included in the funding round were new investments by Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin group), Jean and Steve Case (Founders of AOL) and reinvestment by existing shareholders.

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The startup says it is on track to reach its initial target of equipping 1 million homes in East Africa with solar energy by the end of 2017, having already reached over 280,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in its first three years M-Kopa. Solar home systems are available to low-income households, for an initial deposit of just $30. They only have to make additional mobile money payments of 50 cents daily, in total far less than they would spend on kerosene.

Jesse Moore, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of M-KOPA Solar says “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 Solar home services are made affordable for the low income earners on a convenient pay-as-you-go plan by offering installment payments.

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