Today, Copia is one of the fastest-growing retail enterprises in Kenya with plans of expanding into other African countries. With a network of over 50,000 digital-enabled Agents, two million customers and over 13 million orders to date, we provide a seamless shopping experience to all customers regardless of their income level, access to technology, or location.
Copia’s business model is designed to also help improve the standards of living in the local communities where we operate. 81% of our Agents are women, serving 75% of customers who are also women, and contributing to the financial well-being of their communities. We strongly believe that doing the right thing for our people, the communities we work in and the environment leads to better business results.
That’s why we maintain a strong commitment to our stakeholders through extensive support to our Agents, and delivery of quality goods and services to our Customers.
‘Copia is leapfrogging retail in Africa, and we are leaving none behind.’
In a population of 1.2 billion, 800 million consumers are part of the African mass-market. Consumer spending accounts for 60% of African economic growth, $680B of which is driven by the middle class alone. Due to poor road infrastructure, the distribution of goods to the low-income consumers is highly inefficient, resulting in fewer choices and higher prices. Copia provides a platform for them to gain easy access to a variety of quality products that are delivered affordably and at their convenience.
People who do not have internet access can now buy essential goods through our digitally enabled agents, USSD short code and frequently updated print product catalogues. Our e-commerce platform is designed to meet the specific needs of Africa’s middle to low-income households, saving them time and money.
With the significant growth in first-time e-commerce platform users across the Continent, Copia is uniquely positioned to leverage key African megatrends such as a rapidly growing, young population with increasing purchasing power, increased digitalization, improved infrastructure and mobile technology adoption.
‘We enable populations who may not have access to internet connectivity to make purchases through our digitally enabled agents. Where this is not possible, our frequently updated print product catalogues provide the solution.’
The cofounders of Copia, Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis, are friends and colleagues from Silicon Valley. Both serial entrepreneurs, each started their own social impact fintech companies in the early 2000s. Tracey’s was acquired by eBay in 2006 and Jonathan’s is the very successful MCE Social Capital.
They also hit it off because Jonathan has a penchant for truly terrible dad jokes at which Tracey can’t help but laugh. Jonathan is an artist and author. Tracey is a triathlete and a mom of three two-legged and one four-legged animals.
To brainstorm new ideas for their next ventures, Jonathan and Tracey met in San Francisco in 2010. Jonathan had a brilliant idea around a household goods catalog in emerging markets. Pre-smartphones, fintech loan officers traveled to physically collect loan repayments, providing an opportunity to deliver household goods as well. And the idea of Copia was born.
Jonathan served as the founding board chair and is now an investor and official President of the Copia Fan Club. If we didn’t hold him back, he would cheer us on with pompoms. Tracey has served as Board Chair since 2013. Whenever she is not running with her dog, she is working on the company nearly full-time.
Meaning abundance in Latin, Copia was officially launched in 2013 with a pilot in Kenya. Tracey had lived and worked in Kenya in the 1990’s so this market was most familiar to her. She saw the potential of this $1.5T market, the lack of private enterprise services and the transformative effect of mobile phones.
She fleshed out the business plan which formed the basis for recruiting a board of directors and raising a seed round of capital. Our first employee, founding CEO Crispin Murira, started with a small garage space, his dad’s station wagon and 12 “Copia Agents,” the small shops who serve as delivery points.
Innovatively, Copia chose to work with existing, established and trusted small mom and pop shops located all over the country. These shops provide safe, reliable delivery points for Copia to cost effectively provide ecommerce to millions of Kenyans.
Jonathan’s vision was to improve the lives of mass market consumers in emerging markets by delivering high-quality, affordable household goods. Working with this original concept, Tracey is transforming this largely neglected customer segment into empowered global consumers via an ecommerce service, providing not only household products but also food, electronics, health, farm, DIY and financial services.
The Copia code of conduct outlines the guidelines for staff conduct. It also provides guidance on how to exercise good judgment in ethical matters. While the Code is specifically written for Copia employees and Board members, we expect members of our extended workforce (temps, vendors, and independent contractors) and others who may be temporarily assigned to perform work or services for Copia to follow the Code in connection with their work for us.