Kenya's golden child M-Kopa listed among world's top 50 smartest companies

The MIT technology review annually compiles top 50 companies across the globe that “combine innovative technology with an effective business model.”

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M-Kopa, a solar energy firm, has been ranked as one of the world’s top 50 smartest companies in the world, according to a ranking by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Our annual list of the 50 Smartest Companies includes many of these firms, but it’s not merely a list of today’s biggest or most profitable players. It highlights technologically innovative companies whose business models allow them to exploit these advances.” MIT technology review editor David Rotman said.

“There have always been large companies and outright monopolies, but there’s something distinctive about this new generation of what some economists call superstar companies.” He added.

M-Kopa, which made its first appearance on the coveted list, was placed in position 34 ahead of e-commerce firm Jumia (44), multinational tech giant IBM (39), social media firm Snap (48), Daimler (46) and Adidas (38).

Founded in 2011 by Nick Hughes, Chad Larson, and Jesse Moore, M-kopa has steadily grown to become one of the most profitable companies in Africa.

The firm sells solar home systems to low-income earners by allowing them to pay in installments over a year through mobile money.

By the end of April, the firm had connected half a million homes in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania with its M-Kopa 400 system.

The 400 system includes a 20 watts solar panel, three LED light bulbs with cables and switches, a phone charging cable with five standard connections, one LED portable and rechargeable torch and radio.

The firm had also sold over 50,000 solar TV systems and had completed 150,000 customer upgrades for products and services.

The top five smartest firms in the world as per the list include Nvidia, an artificial intelligence software firm, SpaceX, a rockets and spacecraft maker and launcher, e-commerce giant Amazon, 23andMe a biomedicine firm and Alphabet Google’s parent company.

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