Kenya-based financial technology company, M-Kopa has appointed former Country Head, SafeBoda Nigeria, Babajide Duroshola as the new General Manager to lead its team. His appointment coincides with M-KOPA’s broader vision of expanding to other markets, which includes a move to Nigeria.

On June 18, Babajide Duroshola, ex-country head, SafeBoda Nigeria, stepped down from his role two years after taking the safeboda job post-Andela.

Less than a month later, the talented strategist and serial brand manager has found a new role as country manager for Kenyan Fintech company M-KOPA.

During his time at Safeboda, Duroshola was able to evade the deadly crackdown on bike-hailing in the country particularly in Lagos by moving SafeBoda’s operations to Ibadan thereby creating the country’s most successful bike-hailing company.

By the time Duroshola left the company, it had onboarded 5,000 drivers and completed more than 1.5 million rides in a full year of operation.

Duroshola took a huge risk with Safeboda, the risk which obviously paid off. While major ride-hailing platforms in Lagos like ORide, MAX.ng and Gokada completely halted their operations in the state after a ride-hailing ban, SafeBoda thrived in Ibadan.

What is M-Kopa?

Now you may want to ask, what is M-Kopa? M-KOPA is an African connected asset financing platform that offers millions of underbanked customers access to life-enhancing products and services which includes solar lighting, smartphone & financial services.

M-Kopa was launched commercially in 2012 and is headquartered in Nairobi

The Fintech startup uses a pay-as-you-go financing model that allows customers to build ownership over time by paying an initial deposit followed by flexible and affordable micro-payments.

The company ran a pilot test of its solar systems and smartphone financing options in the Nigerian market earlier in the year and saw a significant adoption rate and selling over 20,000 devices in Lagos.

Also read: top reasons why startups fail

So far, M-KOPA has sold over 1 million PAYG solar systems and provided $400 million in financing to millions of customers while raising over $180 million in equity and debt across its main markets in Kenya and Uganda.

Duroshola’s role as country manager for M-Kopa

As the new General Manager, Duroshola will be charged with the similar

task of pushing M-Kopa’s expansion into the Nigerian market.

Mayur Patel, M-KOPA’s CCO, said,

“We’ve been deliberate about finding the right person with a strong track record and in-depth knowledge of the Nigerian tech community to lead our team as we scale up our country operations.

And the milestone coincided with Babajide’s appointment as we look to grow and expand into new regions.”

In his words, Babajide Duroshola, General Manager M-Kopa said,

“Already, we have seen firsthand in Nigeria how smartphone financing is a driver of business growth and by increasing access to life-improving devices, M-KOPA has been able to deliver enormous opportunities for innovation and tangible impact within the communities it works.

It is a great honour for me to be joining and advancing M-KOPA’s mission in Nigeria and I look forward to being an integral part of such a talented global team.”

My vision as a person and what really typically drives me on a normal day is to help African startups scale and being that person that would help build, set up, get to the point where they’re able to think about their business strategy and how they can plug into the Nigerian space.

What I’m looking to build with M-KOPA is a full credit machine. I want it to become a household name within the Nigerian market space where when people are thinking about pay-as-you-go financing for everyday use cases, M-KOPA is what comes to their mind.”

what you should know about M-Kopa

In Nigeria, M-KOPA deals with various products especially in the Samsung A series (A02, A12, A22, A32) ranging from $80-$250 (~₦40,000 to ₦125,000). The company plans to include more devices and handset manufacturers, but the COO doesn’t say when.

In Kenya and Uganda, however, M-KOPA sells Nokia phones in addition to the aforementioned Samsung products.

You should know that M-KOPA is focused on smartphone financing in the West African country, Duroshola wants to mirror what Kenyan M-KOPA’s customers enjoy (where other products asides from smartphones are sold) in Nigeria. He believes it will help build their credit history and worthiness over time.

Finally you should know that the Kenyan company is currently recruiting for engineering roles in Nigeria and globally as part of its expansion plans, so you might want to try your luck. Duroshola will lead the charge in Nigeria in what can be described as his third stint of scaling African startups in the country.

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