Nexus-backed solar lighting products firm d.light raises $22.5 mn

San Francisco-headquartered solar lighting & power products maker d.light has raised $15 million (Rs 100 crore) in Series D round of equity funding from KawiSafi Ventures Fund, Energy Access Ventures, Omidyar Network and NewQuest Capital Partners, it said on Wednesday.

Together with debt funding of $2.5 million from SunFunder and over $5 million in grant from Shell Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development - Development Innovation Ventures (USAID-DIV) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), it has scooped up a total of $22.5 million (Rs 151 crore) to grow its PayGo business globally.

Michael H. Gera, managing partner of Energy Access Ventures, who will be joining the d.light board, said: "This is our largest investment to date, and we wholeheartedly believe in d.light's efforts to raise more people up the energy access ladder."

Founded in 2006 as a for-profit social enterprise, d.light manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products designed to serve the more than 2 billion people globally without access to reliable electricity.

d.light claims to be the largest manufacturer of off-grid solar lighting products and says it sells hundreds of thousands of units per month. With this new funding, d.light will focus on ramping up sales for its D30 solar home system, as well as bringing new products to market that can power other appliances, like TVs and fans. Currently, d.light operates five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia and the United States.

As of August 2016, d.light has impacted the lives of over 65 million people, including 17 million school-aged children, with its solar lighting and solar home system solutions. d.light aims to reach out to 100 million people with affordable and reliable solar by 2020.

d.light CFO, Kamal Lath, said, "Consumer financing for solar home systems makes the technology significantly more affordable for our customers. This funding will enable more families and business owners to enjoy access to the affordable, clean and reliable solar energy solutions they need to improve their quality of life."

With the closing of Series D round, d.light has raised a total of $62.5 million to date.

It had raised $11 million (Rs 68 crore then) in a Series C round of funding in March 2014 from all existing investors- Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Omidyar Network, Nexus Venture Partners, Gray Ghost Ventures, Acumen Fund and Garage Technology Ventures.

In June 2010, d.light raised $5.5 million in a Series B round from Omidyar Network and others. In November 2008, it raised a $5.5 million Series A round which was led by Indian venture capital firm Nexus. Prior to that in Jan 2006, the firm raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a group of investors.

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