- Apis Growth Fund I, the private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP (“Apis”), has completed its investment in Greenlight Planet Incorporated, the largest and most profitable provider of pay-as-you-go off-grid solar energy financing solutions in Africa
- The investment will leverage Apis’ financial services expertise to fund the growth of an innovative energy and financing provider across growth markets
London, UK – 5th December 2017: Apis announces a significant investment by Apis Growth Fund I, (the “Fund”) into Greenlight Planet Incorporated (“Greenlight Planet” or the “Company”), the leading provider of off-grid solar products and financing to underserved rural populations across Africa and Asia. Greenlight Planet has brought light and financing to millions for the first time, equipping businesses to stay open later, students to study longer, and families to enjoy more time together. As the largest and most profitable company in the sector, the Company has sold over 7.5 million Sun King branded solar home products, which are used around the world each day for light, security and device power.
Greenlight Planet now operates the largest direct-to-consumer pay-as-you-go solar financing business in the world, with over 2,400 company-managed sales agents in five countries selling over 25,000 financed solar products to end consumers each month. The Company’s pay-as-you-go customers pay for their solar energy investment over time, for as little as 25 cents per day, through local mobile money systems.
The financing of off-grid solar home systems enables greater affordability for Greenlight Planet’s customers and is the first step to broader product-based financial inclusion across growth markets. Consumers without previous access to credit build a credit history for the first time via the pay-as-you-go model, enabling Greenlight to offer additional products and financial services in the future.
Today, the Company’s products include solar powered lighting, phone-charging and radios, table fans, and clean cookstoves. Greenlight began selling affordable solar home systems just three years ago, and has sold nearly 600,000, now at a rate of over 1,000 solar home systems per day. The company is soon adding solar-powered televisions to its home system product line.
Greenlight Planet has 11 offices in 8 countries primarily across Africa and in India, over 800 employees, and more than 2,400 sales agents. The Company also operates through a network of more than 300 distribution partners, including 40 microfinance institutions, as well as its network of local micro-entrepreneurs, to reach rural communities and off-grid villages across 62 countries. Over 28,000,000 Greenlight Planet customers already benefit from kerosene-free lighting and save 400,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.
Led by Apis Growth Fund I, Greenlight Planet raised $60 million, including equity and debt. Existing shareholders Eight Roads Ventures and Bamboo Capital Partners also participated in the equity funding round. Debt investors included Deutsche Bank, Global Partnerships, SunFunder, PG Impact Investments, responsAbility and SIMA Funds. Freshfields acted as the legal advisor to Apis Partners.
The Fund’s investment in Greenlight Planet will be used to accelerate the Company’s growth across Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, strengthen its capital structure, and invest in its technology-enabled platform with a focus on credit and financing infrastructure.
Commenting on the investment, Patrick Walsh, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Greenlight Planet said “Anish and I founded Greenlight Planet to create life improving products for underserved customers and we are delighted to partner with Apis to help us realize that vision. Already, for less than the cost of a single electrical pole, we can provide a solar home system with enough energy to power a complete range of appliances needed by rural consumers. We are looking forward to expanding Greenlight Planet’s footprint across Africa, and to enable affordable, clean and reliable Sun King branded off-grid solar solutions for our distribution partners and end-customers.”
Anish Thakkar, Co-Founder of Greenlight Planet added, “We look forward to drawing upon Apis’ expertise with respect to growth markets and financial services to consolidate the Company’s market leading position, and importantly, to fulfil Greenlight Planet’s mission to connect underserved and unbanked populations to power as a first step to offering product and financing solutions for a range of life necessities. Our distribution partners will also benefit from an expanded product line and even stronger support and service.”
Matteo Stefanel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Apis noted, “We are excited to partner with Greenlight Planet to serve over 1 billion underserved and unbanked customers with no access to electrification or financing. As the first consistently profitable, and hence proven-sustainable, company in the off-grid solar industry, Greenlight Planet is leading the off grid solar sector in leapfrogging the electrical grid by providing reliable and affordable off grid energy and financing for rural Africa.”
Udayan Goyal, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Apis added, “We see a tremendous opportunity to leverage Greenlight Planet’s distribution partners, technology, Sun King brand and platform to offer broader appliance financing to underserved Africa populations. Greenlight Planet also offers a financing product embedded within the sale of a much-demanded physical product, and we think this context-based approach to financial services will drive financial inclusion in the mass market across growth markets.”
About Greenlight Planet
Greenlight Planet (https://www.greenlightplanet.com/) powers and finances its customers’ ambitions to improve their daily lives and transform their communities through the use of reliable solar products. Founded in 2009, the Company operates through a network of more than 300 partners and 2,400 agents to reach rural communities and off-grid villages across 62 countries. Greenlight Planet is accelerating the adoption of safe, affordable and clean energy distribution and financing options, providing a platform for economic mobility for its users. The financing of off-grid solar home systems enables greater affordability for Greenlight Planet’s customers and demonstrates the Company’s pioneering approach to electrification and financing.
In 2016, Greenlight Planet was the winner of the Ashden Award for Increasing Energy Access, and was named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list. The Company has also been a winner of the Lemelson-MIT Innovation Award and the World Bank/IFC Outstanding Products Award.