Social Entrepreneur Has Venture Backing to Light Up the World

Monday, August 24, 2009

D.light Design Inc., which manufactures and sells solar-powered lamps in poor areas of the globe, is an example of a company that seeks to bring entrepreneurship to a social mission.

GlobalAtlanta met representatives of the company during the First East Africa Energy Conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in June. The company, which was incorporated in May 2007, opened its East Africa office in Tanzania this year.

Sam Goldman, a co-founder, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin when he learned firsthand how extremely dangerous kerosene lamps can be. The son of his neighbor almost died from severe burns he suffered from spilled kerosene.

Even though they provide poor light and are dangerous, kerosene lamps are the primary source of lighting for Africans, and others elsewhere, living in rural areas.

Following his Peace Corps service, Mr. Goldman earned a master’s degree from Stanford University and started D.light Design with the purpose of replacing the millions of kerosene lamps with solar-powered lamps.

Positioned as a “social entrepreneur,” the company has been able to raise $6.5 million in capital from a collection of different venture firms, which responded to its mission.

Source: Global Atlanta (link opens in a new window)