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    HomeEcosystem NewsEASTERN AFRICADespite Copia Global’s Uncertain Future, Secured Lender Holds Firm to $7.7 Million Loan

    Despite Copia Global’s Uncertain Future, Secured Lender Holds Firm to $7.7 Million Loan

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    Kenyan e-commerce startup Copia Global made headlines recently with announcements of potential layoffs and business shutdown. However, for Western Technology Investment, a venture debt firm with a secured loan in Copia, the situation might not be a cause for immediate concern.

    Western Technology Investment’s Secured Loan

    As of March 31, 2024, Copia Global holds a senior secured loan of $7.7 million with Western Technology Investment at an interest rate of 12.0% maturing on January 1, 2027. According to Launch Base Africa’s findings, Copia has consistently met its repayment obligations since acquiring the loan in 2023.

    Western Technology Investment classifies a loan as non-accrual if a borrower misses payments for three consecutive months or if management believes the company is unlikely to repay the loan due to a drastic curtailment of operations. So far, this hasn’t been the case with Copia Global.

    A senior secured loan gives Western Technology Investment, the lender, a privileged position in case Copia Global defaults on its repayment. The loan is tied to specific collateral (assets) owned by Copia. If Copia defaults, Western Technology Investment has the right to seize and sell this collateral to recoup its money before other creditors.

    Western Technology Investment has backed numerous African startups including CarePoint, Terragon, Traction Apps, Kobo360, RelianceHMO, Helium Health, Tizeti and mPharma.

    Copia Global’s Financial Difficulties

    On May 16, 2024, Copia CEO Tim Steel informed staff about the company’s financial struggles and the possibility of layoffs or even closure. The company’s efforts to secure additional funding proved unsuccessful, prompting the need for restructuring or potential shutdown.

    The potential restructuring could eliminate approximately 1,060 positions. Copia is legally obligated to provide a one-month notice period and consult with affected employees during this time. In the worst-case scenario of a complete shutdown, all employees would face termination.

    Despite the current challenges, it’s important to note Copia’s success in securing a $20 million Series C extension round in December 2023. Investors like Enza Capital, LGT, and DFC contributed to the round, aiming to support Copia’s focus on serving underbanked consumers in rural Africa.

    Investor confidence stemmed from factors like anticipated growth in African consumer spending, Copia’s vast network of local agents, and the company’s renewed focus on profitability in Kenya.

    Founded a decade ago, Copia has strived to bridge the gap between rural consumers and essential goods and services. The company initially experienced impressive growth of 100% annually, capitalizing on a network exceeding 50,000 local agents.

    Copia’s ability to overcome current financial constraints and achieve profitability in Kenya remains uncertain. The potential job losses raise concerns about the company’s future and its impact on the communities it serves. With a total funding of $107.5 million prior to the 2023 funding round, Copia has a history of attracting investment. Whether the company can secure its future remains to be seen.

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