IoT Energy Success

Helping M-KOPA Drive Financial Inclusion in Africa

Discover how we partnered with M-KOPA to enable IoT payments and change the status quo.

M-KOPA Drives Financial Inclusion in Africa

An estimated 57% of adults in Africa – around 95 million people – don’t have a bank account, while around 600 million have no access to the power grid. M-KOPA’s mission is to make financing for everyday essential items accessible to this segment. M-KOPA combines mobile payments and IoT connectivity to enable people in remote parts of Africa to purchase the products they need, and power them affordably.

Established in 2011, the company pioneered the pay-as-you-go solar energy market in Kenya, starting by selling energy systems before expanding its product portfolio into smartphones, TVs, fridges, and digital financial services. Today, M-KOPA operates in four markets – Kenya, where it’s headquartered, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana – enabling one million active customers and growing to purchase products and services that would otherwise remain locked behind a cost barrier.

M-KOPA’s technology is built on a proprietary IoT-based asset financing platform which allows customers to take their products home after paying a deposit, then make flexible and affordable micro-payments using their mobile phones over the following year or so.

Why M-KOPA chose Eseye

Specialist IoT boosts system performance

Solar Home Systems

Solar panels are designed to charge lithium-ion batteries, for mobile phone charging and lighting.

Mobile Payments

Users can purchase products and energy in affordable increments on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Accessible Finance

Two million customers empowered to own appliances that would otherwise be out of reach.

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M-KOPA needed a partner with expertise in embedded system design, and an IoT connectivity management system that would support the provision of its GSM-enabled solar home system devices. It was also essential that the company could integrate directly with the local Safaricom mobile network.

The Eseye team worked with M-KOPA to design the hardware, device firmware and device communication protocol, and run the back-office data processing. It then supported with device optimisation, deployment and onboarding. Nick Hughes, co-founder of M-KOPA, says: “Eseye helped us tremendously in the first few years, with figuring out the technology we needed, then the hardware design. The team enabled us to answer questions such as how do we remotely access the system? And how can we make it reliable?”

Harnessing IoT with M-KOPA

Single platform for IoT estate management

All connectivity services and capabilities are powered by Eseye’s Infinity IoT Platform™, which delivers near 100% uptime and gives M-KOPA the ability to see and control each device, plus manage all the connections.

Bring Your Own Contract

Eseye was the only provider able to integrate directly with the Safaricom network. Its roaming agreements with leading mobile operators in 190 countries give it access to more than 700 networks globally. M-KOPA brings its existing network operator contracts and rates and manages them centrally within one IoT platform.

Easy cloud integration

Integration with Microsoft Azure cloud services, as well as M-KOPA’s own management platform, is enabled by Eseye’s application programming interfaces (APIs). Critical payment and device data is sent and received between each solar device and M-KOPA’s enterprise systems, while making it possible for the M-KOPA team to make over-the-air (OTA) upgrades and updates to device firmware and software

Improving lives

To date, M-KOPA has unlocked $600m in credit for more than two million low-income customers in sub-Saharan Africa and enabled 600,000 people to access the internet for the very first time. The company estimates that the lives of 3.8 million individuals have been improved through access to clean energy generated by the products it provides.

Eseye provided M-KOPA with a strong foundation in device and IoT platform design that enabled us to produce and service over one million cellular-enabled solar home systems to customers in rural areas of Kenya and Uganda.

Jordan Hiebert, Head of Embedded Engineering

Quite simply, it is an inspiration and absolute pleasure to work on innovative products that make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

Ian Marsden, CTO

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