Monthly Newsletter: January 2009

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D.light Design (www.dlightdesign.com) is a lighting and power company that delivers affordable and high quality solutions to serve families living without adequate electricity. Our mission is to replace every kerosene lantern in the world to provide everyone access to a basic human need: safe and bright light. D.light is financed by prestigious venture capital firms including Nexus India Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Garage Technology Ventures, Mahindra & Mahindra; with investment from leading social enterprise funds Acumen Fund and Gray Matters Capital.

 

D.light Opens Office in East Africa!

We are extremely excited to announce that D.light has opened an office in Tanzania! We have hired a stellar team who will be managing Sales and Marketing in the East Africa region. The team will be led by Pepijn Steemers, a native of the Netherlands who has years of experience with development and social enterprise in Africa. The need could not be greater: In Tanzania alone, about 90% of households do not have access to electricity, while approximately 150 million households in East Africa are off-grid.

We have begun a large-scale marketing campaign in Tanzania, and are currently selling both our Nova product series and the Solata (formerly known as the Comet) in East Africa. As you can see from the photos below, the response has been decidedly enthustiastic! Stay tuned for more updates on our expansion into Africa!


The new East Africa Sales office
 

Rolling out our Solata products
 

Crowds come to hear about our products
         

Pitching D.light products

D.light staff man the sales table
 

Joseph demonstrates the Solata to potential customers

 

Announcing the D.light Design Fellows Program!

We are pleased to announce the launch of the D.light Fellows Program! The Fellows Program connects D.light with passionate and talented professionals from around the world.  For terms of 3-10 months, fellows will use their unique skills and experiences to contribute in a significant way to our mission of replacing kerosene lanterns with safe and bright light. 

Each fellow will be located in one of our three field offices in India, China, or Tanzania, working closely with our multi-national team across three continents and four countries. As D.light continues to expand quickly, we promise that all fellows will have an invigorating, challenging, and life-change experience!

Please visit our website to view a more detailed description of the program and how to apply. The first application deadline is February 15, 2009, so please consider applying and help us spread the word! We are currently recruiting for the following fellows:

  • Business Development (India)
  • International Business Development (China)
  • Marketing (India)
  • Marketing & Communications (China)
  • Product Design (India)
  • Reliability & Testing (China)
  • Research & Development (China)
  • Supply Chain Management (China)

 

New Staff Around the World

This past month, D.light continued to bring on new staff in three continents around the world, in Tanzania, India, and the US. Join us in welcoming these amazing individuals to our team!

East Africa Staff

Pepijn Steemers

Managing Director    

Sjoerd Spaanjaars

Business Development

 
Joseph Mutashopya
Sales

   

Laura Smeets
Marketing


Abbas Mohamed
Sales


 


                                                        

 India Staff

Hari Prasad

Electrical Engineer  

Ashish Krishna
Product Designer

 

 

         

Heidi Krauel

Acumen Fellow

Shashank Yadav
Intern
 

                        

US Staff

William Dewes
Chief Financial Officer

 

The India Office has moved!

Right on the heels of the China office moving, having outgrown their space, the India office has also moved to a new office! As D.light's largest staff team, the India office houses many of our business development, product design, and sales staff. Please visit the contact page on our website to see our updated address and phone number.


Staff in the India office enjoy their new setup
 

A conference room
 


Even more meeting space!

 

Report from the Field: Lighting Up India, One Village at a Time

D.light is partnering with Beyond Solar, a US-based organization that aims to change lives through the use of renewable energy technologies, to provide lights for very low-income families in the Indian state of Orissa. Beyond Solar is testing the viability of various financing models to make our lights more affordable. On a recent trip to the village of New Keringa, the Beyond Solar staff demonstrated the D.light Nova and explained the financing model that would allow villagers to purchase the light with a small down payment and weekly installments thereafter. This is what Jeff Olshesky and Trevor Knauf, co-founders of Beyond Solar, shared in their blog:

After three hours of tough questioning by some surprisingly savvy negotiators (the villagers), we ask the final question - “the close” - who wants a solar lantern? People began disappearing and returning with their down payment in hand. Purple thumbprints replaced signatures for those who could not write. After almost an hour, the five boxes of solar lanterns that we had brought were empty and every household in New Keringa was beaming with light! ...It was truly fulfilling to see a place, that normally falls quiet at sundown, transformed into a bright, colorful and lively place within a matter of hours. The most basic benefits of the light were immediately recognizable; kids were playing in the street and parents gathered outside of the houses to socialize.

Many thanks to our friends at Beyond Solar, who have helped us light up an entire village of over 40 households in India who never before had access to bright and dependable light! Please check out their blog to follow their progress as they visit additional villages in India.


Demonstrating our Nova lights
in New Keringa, Orissa


This village used to be completely
pitch black at night; now it is lit up!

 

Featured Customer Story: Boys Boarding School in Lindi, Tanzania

Kerosene is still the main source of lighting in Lindi, where electricity is not readily available. A boys' boarding school in Lindi was concerned that the kerosene lanterns were not providing sufficient and good quality light for studying. The thick smoke from the lanterns were also causing health problems for the students, especially when they study in an enclosed space.

The school purchased five Novas and one Solata to replace kerosene lamps in lighting up the classrooms. The D.light products provide bright light for studying and relieved the students of studying in polluted air. The lights are also used by their students to move safely from building to building at night. The students also expressed that they are very satisfied with the sturdiness of the products.


The boys' school in Lindi, Tanzania


The headmaster explains how the school has been using D.light's products