Kenyans have been hailed for their innovativeness. The number of startups that are attracting millions of dollars from investors can attest to this. Lipa Later, a Kenyan startup, received Ksh1.4 billion which will enable the company to enter new markets and expands its operation in its current markets.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of the founder Eric Muli and highlights Lipa Later’s journey to success.
Eric Muli is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Lipa Later. He attended Strathmore School from 2006 to 2009 before joining the Babson College where he graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) specializing in Finance and Economics. He began his career as a project manager at Better Business Bureau before joining K-Rep Bank as a Corporate Finance Intern. He later joined Leadership Forum Inc where he worked as a Research Analyst for 1 year and 2 months. He moved to Growth Hub as a Recruitment and Networks Coordinator before calling it quits in September 2013.
In November of the same year, he co-founded Jossle – an action marketing company that provides unique solutions to traditional advertising targeting 18-24 year olds. He went on to found Alpha Force Security Limited – a company that offers professional and highly qualified security systems and infrastructure as well as 24 hour guard services. In September 2017, he founded Lipa Later Group-the startup that came to give him prominence. He is also a contributor at the Entrepreneur Media for the weekly college Trep Series that serves as a platform for young entrepreneurs to share their experiences and entrepreneurship lessons with other young entrepreneurs. He also serves as the president of Africa’s first rating and review platform, Zabamba.
Establishing Lipa Later
Lipa Later is a Kenyan consumer credit platform that operates in the Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) model. The company operates in different countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Since being established, the company has served over 200,000 clients and delivered a yearly growth rate of about 100 percent expanding to other retail options such as furniture, electronics and home appliances.
Clients who wish to join Lipa Later have to first sign up with the company before being allowed to do shopping from more than 500 select retailers that are in partnership with the company. After completing the shopping, the clients are expected to make payments in affordable and flexible monthly instalments. They is a monthly interest rate 2.3 percent. This experience is made possible through partnerships with different stores and companies in different countries such as Carrefour in Kenya and Samsung in Rwanda.
The Ksh 1.4 billion Funding
In January 2022, Lipa Later successfully raised USD12 Million (approximately Ksh 1.4 billion) in a funding round led by institutional investors. The funding round was a mix of equity and debt financing led by investors including Lateral Frontiers VC, Cauris Finance, GreenHouse Capital, Sayani Investments, SOSV IV LLC and Axian Financial Services. The USD 12 million capital financing brought the startup’s funding to about USD 16 million and is expected to help it expand across Africa.
“In the next 12 months, we are looking to grow and double our presence in the existing markets, even as we open in three to five new markets in Africa,” Eric Muli said in a past interview.
Partnering with Telkom
In June 2022, Lipa Later entered into a partnership with Telkom that will see its customers acquire smartphones via hire purchase, without having to pay a deposit. Once a client has signed up with Lipa Later, they will get a credit limit, and payment will be done monthly, and in 12 months. The partnership entailed that the devices will be more accessible to consumers through affordable monthly instalments.
“Telkom remains committed to enabling Kenyans to be part of an interconnected world. We continue to have exploratory discussions with our partners to find solutions that will enable our customers to have access to a wide range of authentic products and services, affordably and conveniently,” said Mugo Kibati who is Telkom Kenya CEO.