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m:lab By John Kieti / May 15, 2012

Kopo Kopo grows out of incubation at m:lab East Africa


For Kopo Kopo Inc, a Nairobi based mobile payment services startup, growth could not have been more rapid over the last 12 months. In August 2010, the company was formed, setting up base at the iHub co-working space in Nairobi beginning in early 2011. The company started with a skeleton workforce of two, with Dylan Higgins and Ben Lyon who are its co-founders. A couple of months later the company would succeed to become one of the twenty five mobile startups pitching at the inaugural regional mobile app and developer conference Pivot 25 (now called Pivot East). By the time of pitching at Pivot 25, the company had grown to a team of four by adding Dennis Ondeng and Kibet Yegon to lead the product development team.

The Kopo Kopo team discussing human-centered design

July 2012 was a moment of change for the young company when it won a chance to be one of seven companies incubated at m:lab East Africa’s newly launched facilities. The new incubation space offered a more quiet and dedicated space conducive for team building and “heads down” focus. Incubation at m:lab East Africa also meant improved access to resources, whether investors, mentors, or potential partners.

Apart from raising a Series A financing while at m:lab East Africa, the company also grew its team to twelve by March 2012. Kopo Kopo also completed several iterations of its mobile money-based business intelligence platform and developed an Android version of the service. Other milestones achieved while the company was at m:lab East Africa include establishment of strategic partnerships with mobile operators and business leaders.

Kopo Kopo team at their new premises on 1st floor of Bishop Magua Centre

With the above milestones met and having acquired several hundred enterprise customers, Kopo Kopo officially outgrew incubation at m:lab East Africa on 30th April 2012. The company has since moved location from m:lab East Africa on 3rd floor Bishop Magua Centre to its newly acquired premises on the 1st floor of the same building. The decision to secure space in the same building as m:lab East Africa and iHub was strategic. The company intends to continue tapping into opportunities and access networks associated with being in the technology hub that Bishop Magua Centre has become over the last two years.

Opportunity for Pivot East Finalists

The graduation of Kopo Kopo from m:lab East Africa creates room for other mobile tech startups to join the list of companies benefiting from the Lab’s business growth services. The now vacant incubation slot left behind by Kopokopo is now reserved for the deserving company winning either category of this year’s Pivot East pitching conference on 5th and 6th June 2012

Author : John Kieti

John Kieti is the Lead at m:lab East Africa. He is an exponent for mobile entrepreneurship and an experienced m4d professional. John is passionate about the growth of East Africa's knowledge economy. He holds an MBA and BSc in Computer Science. He also occasionally shares his thoughts about East Africa's knowledge economy on his blog -

  • Kopo Kopo grows out of incubation at m:lab East Africa | InnovationAfrica at 18:14:57PM Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    [...] Go to Source /* Tagged with: East Africa • incubation • Kopo Kopo • startup  If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! [...]

  • Kagai Macharia at 06:38:10AM Monday, May 21, 2012

    Kudos to kopo kopo, they truly show us it is possible to create something from nothing.

  • Paul Kevin Abwonji at 10:35:47AM Monday, May 21, 2012


  • Martin at 13:54:35PM Monday, May 21, 2012

    I just read the news and kudos to Kopo Kopo on this feat. A minor editorial error on dates; I think it should be “July 2011″ and not ‘July 2012″. Check 2nd paragraph.


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