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Solar products maker d.light raises $41 mn from African investment firm, others
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d.light Design Inc., a San Francisco-based solar lighting and power products maker with operations in India, has raised $41 million (about Rs 294 crore) in equity funding from a consortium led by Inspired Evolution, an Africa-focused investment advisory firm specialising in the energy sector.

The other members in the consortium include the Dutch development bank FMO, as well as government-sponsored investment funds Swedfund and Norfund, a company statement said.

With the latest round, the company has secured total capital worth $100 million till date. The round gave some of the firm’s earliest investors an exit, the press note said. However, d.light Design did not disclose the names of those investors.

The company will use the capital to expand its solar and Pay-Go consumer finance business in Africa, the statement added.

“Inspired Evolution’s energy expertise and strong network add significant value to the work of d.light, allowing us to expand our product line, launch in new markets, and reach more customers,” said d.light’s co-founder and chief executive Ned Tozun.

Established in 2007, Inspired Evolution runs two investment funds—Evolution I and Evolution II. Its investment territory covers the sub-Saharan African region and it has offices in Cape Town, London, Nairobi and Mauritius.

Founded in 2007 as a for-profit social enterprise, d.light makes and distributes solar lighting and power products to people without access to reliable electricity. It has five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia and the US.

d.light’s product portfolio ranges from affordable portable solar lanterns to solar home systems that can power multiple lights, mobile phones and small appliances, including a flat-screen television.

Last year, d.light had raised $10.5 million (Rs 71.4 crore) in a funding round led by Norwegian state-owned investment fund Norfund.

In September 2016, it raised $22.5 million in equity and debt funding from investors including KawiSafi Ventures Fund, Energy Access Ventures, Omidyar Network and NewQuest Capital Partners.

In March 2014, it had raised $11 million in its Series C round of funding from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Omidyar and Nexus Venture Partners.

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