An IPO at the Base of the Pyramid?
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Meeting the needs of emerging middle-class consumers in the developing world will spawn some very large businesses.
D.light design, for one, has an ambitious goal: Reach 100 million people by 2020 with its inexpensive solar-powered lanterns. That could be dismissed as just another marketing claim if the company weren’t already more than one-quarter of the way to that goal, and already becoming profitable.
Investors are interested. D.ight closed $11 million in new financing in February, including fromDraper Fisher Jurvetson, a leading Sand Hill Road VC firm, and Garage Technology Ventures, along with well-known “impact” investors such as Acumen and Omidyar Network. With the closing of its Series C financing d.light has raised about $30 million in investments, and another $10 million in awards and grants.
Some say the company could be one of the first base-of-the-pyramid or “BoP” IPOs to offer shares on a major stock market. D.light is “one of the best examples in the world of how impact investing and a market-based approach can fundamentally transform people’s lives for the better,” says Omidyar Network’s Matt Bannick.