During the project period, Copia as a whole says it has grown to have over 1 million customers and has opened 11 depots. These customers are being served by multiple financial products and services that the Copia Financial Services team is developing.
To support this, Copia has also been able to grow its critical resources. In the last year (2021) Copia continued to build a robust financial services team. It has hired a Vice President of Analytics and is building out its analytics resources and capabilities. Copia has also brought on board a Chief Digital and Financial Services Officer who is assembling a team including field operators and product and engineering personnel to build out consumer asset financing products.
Based on insights mentioned below, Copia is now partnering with organisations that had their own credit scoring models to serve their customers such as M-KOPA.
Even from early on, Copia learned that partners have different aims and strategies, and sometimes these do not align with project goals and timelines. For example, Copia quickly realized that partnerships related to product development that met consumer needs could be difficult as some partners did not understand how to value that consumer and wanted to charge very high interest rates to cover the risk of lending to a consumer that they did not have a lot of information on.
As a result, Copia pivoted to a model where the focus was on using its assets to build credit scoring for its consumers. This was working quite well but was highly dependent on input from Copia’s sales associates out in the field. As Copia was preparing to figure out how to scale the model, COVID-19 struck disrupting our credit scoring model, and this forced Copia to adapt change the way it did business. One of the key changes was having sales associates out in the field. Copia has since pivoted to potentially a more sustainable model, partnering with organizations that had their own credit scoring models – such as M-KOPA.
In addition, Copia has found that seeding a product or service well is critical in it taking root and changing the landscape of financial inclusion. Activities do not always pan out in a linear fashion but going through the stages of trial and error was in line with its vision was critical in the path to determining what actually needs to be done to achieve the vision.
While initial delays were experienced that necessitated Copia self-funding the project initially, the project has overall been a positive experience. The Fund has been very supportive of the various changes Copia has had to make as it has navigated building a viable business and related financial services products.