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SolarHome tops USD5 million in funding after latest investment from impact VC Insitor Impact Asia Fund
SolarHome tops USD5 million in funding after latest investment from impact VC Insitor Impact Asia Fund

SINGAPORE, JULY 31, 2018 -- SolarHome, a pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go ("PAYG") solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia, has raised USD5 million to date after closing a USD1 million convertible note offering with impact venture capital firm Insitor Impact Asia Fund.

Bradley Kopsick, Myanmar country manager at Insitor, said, “SolarHome impressed us with their strong growth trajectory over the past 15 months, reaching more than 15,000 households in Myanmar while maintaining high portfolio quality. The company is a natural fit to our current microfinance and renewable energy portfolios. Moving forward, we see valuable synergies between SolarHome and our existing investments and networks that will help to accelerate its strategy to grow and gain a firm foothold in the Southeast Asia region.”

Ted Martynov, chief executive officer and co-founder of SolarHome, said, “We are pleased to welcome one of the most seasoned investors in this space. Insitor is one of the few regional funds that has an on the ground presence in Myanmar and an intricate understanding of rural Myanmar. With this round, SolarHome is on track to hit EBITDA breakeven by end of this year, after which we will see significantly lower reliance on equity capital to finance our operations.”

SolarHome will use the new funds to extend its network of hubs throughout Myanmar, move into offering more premium products, and to expand into Indonesia and Cambodia by year end. The company currently distributes its off-grid systems via 19 sales hubs across central Myanmar and has installed more than 15,000 homes with its systems. SolarHome provides employment to over 350 employees that includes an extensive team of field sales representatives and installers. 

The PAYG model leverages a growing trend in rural communities where through commonly available mobile phones, consumers make regular payments on their mobiles to top up their solar home systems for up to two years, after which the system is “unlocked” and transferred to the consumer. This “rent-to-own” model provides customers access to financing that would not otherwise be available and increases the affordability of quality off-grid solar solutions.

SolarHome works with international development finance institutions in Myanmar to raise awareness and educate rural communities about the socio-economic and environmental benefits of PAYG solar. The Lighting Myanmar platform, co-founded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank, is one such education initiative. Bill Gallery, program manager for IFC’s Lighting Myanmar program, said, “IFC is very pleased to be working with SolarHome as one of our partners under the Lighting Myanmar project to provide sustainable energy solutions to the people of Myanmar. With our deep expertise and experience in other developing countries facing significant electricity gaps, we will help SolarHome and other developers grow a commercial and sustainable market for quality off-grid solar products in Myanmar that will eventually bring affordable and reliable power to communities in rural and remote areas.”

 

SolarHome is led by an international leadership team with extensive experience and a proven track record in inclusive consumer finance in emerging markets. The company counts notable venture capital firms such as TRIREC, BeeNext and Uberis Capital, and distinguished angel investors, including Singaporean businessman Koh Boon Hwee, among its investors.

 

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About SolarHome

SolarHome is the pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia.  SolarHome installs the IFC-World Bank’s Lighting Global certified integrated solar energy and appliance units in customers’ homes and offers radically affordable “rent-to-own” plans of energy service subscription. This dramatically lowers the barriers to adoption of solar technology by the bottom-of-pyramid clients. SolarHome is delivering a significant social impact in its addressable market of 27 million households across Southeast Asia living outside of the electric grid. Headquartered in Singapore, SolarHome presently operates in Myanmar. SolarHome was seeded and developed by FORUM, a leading fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia.

 

About INSITOR  IMPACT ASIA FUND PTE LTD

Insitor Impact Asia Fund is a social venture capital fund that provides financing to social businesses in emerging and frontier markets. Insitor supports early stage companies that have the potential to improve the living standards of low-income communities. The fund focuses on a number of development sectors in Myanmar: renewable energy, nutrition, water and sanitation, financial inclusion, education, and livelihood enhancement. The fund also invests in Cambodia, India, and Pakistan. Visit www.insitorimpactasiafund.com to learn more.

 

 

About FORUM

FORUM is the largest fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia.  FORUM identifies unique market segments for rapid value creation and builds market-leading companies for capital gain. FORUM is currently  developing  four market-leading companies across Asia: CredoLabAsiaCollectSolarHome and AsiaKredit.  The company is headquartered in Singapore and led by founder and CEO Greg Krasnov.

SolarHome raises USD2 million in second tranche of convertible notes
SolarHome raises USD2 million in second tranche of convertible notes

SINGAPORE, JUNE 5, 2018 -- SolarHome, a pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go ("PAYG") solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia, announced today that it has raised USD2 million in its second convertible debt offering this year, from TRIREC, a Singapore-based investment holding company specialising in cleantech and renewable energy.

SolarHome offers off-grid households a solar lighting system at a low-cost 24-month subscription plan, with an initial USD10 down payment, followed by daily, weekly, or monthly repayments through scratch cards or mobile money. Technology built into the system ensures that it won’t function if a payment is not made, giving lenders the confidence that they will be able to recover their investment.

After completing the payment plan, the system is “unlocked’ and transferred to the customer. This “rent-to-own” model provides customers access to financing that would not otherwise be available and increases the affordability of quality off-grid solar solutions. 

Melvyn Yeo, co-founder and partner at TRIREC, said, “SolarHome is a good fit for TRIREC and a natural addition to our renewables portfolio. There are close to 30 million households in Southeast Asia living off-grid, spending an estimated USD2 billion a year on legacy energy sources. SolarHome has secured a significant first-mover advantage in the space, demonstrating exponential growth while maintaining portfolio quality. There’s great synergy too between SolarHome and our existing portfolio and networks; we believe the partnership will help SolarHome secure access to competitive sources of debt capital and scale rapidly within and outside Myanmar.”

In just over a year since its 250-home pilot, SolarHome has expanded distribution to over 14 hubs and installed over 11,000 homes with its off-grid systems. SolarHome employs over 200 field sales representatives and installers and is adding up to 35 workers per month to its sales force in Myanmar.

The new investment will support plans to bring reliable, affordable and clean energy to more than 40,000 homes in rural Myanmar by the end of 2018. Specifically, SolarHome will rapidly increase distribution throughout Myanmar, advance its mobile money platform, as well as expand its product range to more premium products, including systems with bundled television sets. The company also plans to establish presence in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines by the end of this year.

 “We are excited to have TRIREC on board. Melvyn and his team bring with them deep expertise in renewables and financial services, both of which lie at the heart of SolarHome’s business model,” said Ted Martynov, chief executive officer and co-founder of SolarHome.  

“Moreover, we are thrilled by the interest from the investor community for our forthcoming Series B round. This is our second convertible offering since the start of the year and we are pleased to see investors leveraging the convertible rounds as opportunities to secure sizeable allocations in our next equity raise.”

A recent report by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA)[1] found that between 2012 and 2017, companies using the PAYG model accounted for about 85 per cent of growth in off-grid solar investments. The World Bank and GOGLA also predict that PAYG will continue fuelling the growth of solar home systems through 2022. 

SolarHome’s leadership team, led by CEO Ted Martynov and strategically supported by fintech venture builder FORUM, is comprised of individuals with extensive international experience, world-class expertise, and a proven track record in inclusive consumer finance. SolarHome has raised over USD4 million to date.                       

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About SolarHome

SolarHome is the pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia.  SolarHome installs the IFC-World Bank’s Lighting Global certified integrated solar energy and appliance units in customers’ homes and offers radically affordable “rent-to-own” plans of energy service subscription. This dramatically lowers the barriers to adoption of solar technology by the bottom-of-pyramid clients. SolarHome is delivering a significant social impact in its addressable market of 27 million households across Southeast Asia living outside of the electric grid. Headquartered in Singapore, SolarHome presently operates in Myanmar. SolarHome was seeded and developed by FORUM, a leading fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia.

 

ABOUT TRIREC

TRIREC Pte Ltd is a Singapore-based investment holding company founded in 2015 focusing on global opportunities in the areas of renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability. TRIREC aims to identify suitable equity investment opportunities in early and growth stage companies which can potentially provide significant long-term upside return performance. The team also evaluates infrastructure investment projects that can provide consistent cash flows to its investors. The full spectrum of TRIREC’s investment mandate allows it to support its portfolio partners from early stage development to capital market phase and provides a balanced approach for TRIREC’s investment returns. Achieving long term sustainable and positive impact to our environment while being able to leave behind a better place for our next generation is imperative to our core values.

 



[1] Source: https://www.lightingglobal.org/resource/2018-global-off-grid-solar-market-trends-report/

SolarHome appoints Kate Ladyzhenska as a Chief sales officer
SolarHome appoints Kate Ladyzhenska as a Chief sales officer

Yangon, 4th May, 2018: SolarHome is proud to announce the newest addition to our team, Kate Ladyzhenska!

Kate joins our team as chief sales officer, bringing with her more than 18 years of sales and marketing experience in the consumer finance and technology sectors. Kate will manage SolarHome's 200+ sales organisation and drive the expansion of our hub network in Myanmar.

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About SolarHome

SolarHome is the pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia.  SolarHome installs  IFC-World Bank’s Lighting Global certified integrated solar energy and appliance units in customers’ homes, and offers radically affordable “rent-to-own” plans of energy service subscription.  This dramatically lowers the barriers to adoption of solar technology by the bottom-of-pyramid clients.  SolarHome is delivering a significant social impact in its addressable market of 27 million households across Southeast Asia living outside of the electric grid.   Headquartered in Singapore, SolarHome presently operates in Myanmar.  SolarHome was seeded and developed by FORUM, a leading fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia.

SolarHome reaches solar 6,000 households in rural Myanmar
SolarHome reaches solar 6,000 households in rural Myanmar

Yangon, April 5, 2018 -  SolarHome, the pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia, has reached the milestone of 6,000 solar home systems installed in rural areas of Ayeyarwaddy and Dry Zone of Myanmar.

SolarHome started in launched just over a year ago as one of the first companies in Southeast Asia to provide Pay-As-You-Go solar home systems to poor households living off the electrical grid. SolarHome is now present in 12 townships in the Ayeyarwaddy delta area and the Dry Zone.  More than one million people live off-grid in these areas.  Starting from only 5000 MMK per month, SolarHome products are affordable to even the poorest villagers. The systems are designed to deliver affordable clean energy to rural households, using waterproof high-quality panels, long-lasting batteries and unbreakable lamps which can operate in the challenging  rural environments of SEA.  By using only the highest quality products combined with a 2-year warranty and service quality of a high standard, supported by a skilled local, in-house sales team, reliable customer service, SolarHome has differentiated itself from all other solar companies in the market.

“Most of people who start subscribe for our services are living in rural area and have used candles and batteries. For these people we bring affordable and reliable light, phone charging and entertainment. What we do is especially important for families with kids, since they need good quality light to study. We also help villagers to reduce their monthly energy on lighting, because many of them used to spend 5% of their monthly income for having dim, unhealthy and unreliable light from candles or diesel-charged batteries. We also do our best to educate villagers on the potential hazards that candles and batteries impose especially now, in the peak of summer heat. Our mission is to deliver to every Myanmar household the message that with the help of companies like SolarHome renewable solar energy becomes safer, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable than most of the other energy sources available for off-grid households. “said by  Mila Bedrenets , Deputy CEO of Solar Home.

According to the Department of Rural Development data, only 16 percent of Myanmar households in rural areas are connected to the electrical grid. The government launched the National Electrification Plan together with the World Bank and other development agencies, to achieve universal access to reliable electricity by 2030. The plan covers gird off-gird solutions, including PAYG. SolarHome installs over 2,000 solar home systems per month supporting the government’s plan.  SolarHome currently operates a team of 150 sales personal, committed to delivering affordable, clean, and safe solar energy to the people of Myanmar.

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About SolarHome

SolarHome is the pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia.  SolarHome installs  IFC-World Bank’s Lighting Global certified integrated solar energy and appliance units in customers’ homes, and offers radically affordable “rent-to-own” plans of energy service subscription.  This dramatically lowers the barriers to adoption of solar technology by the bottom-of-pyramid clients.  SolarHome is delivering a significant social impact in its addressable market of 27 million households across Southeast Asia living outside of the electric grid.   Headquartered in Singapore, SolarHome presently operates in Myanmar.  SolarHome was seeded and developed by FORUM, a leading fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia.

SolarHome raises US$1.2 million in convertible note offering
SolarHome raises US$1.2 million in convertible note offering

Yangon, FEBRUARY 23, 2018 -- SolarHome, a pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go ("PAYG") solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia, has raised another US$1.2 million in growth capital via an issue of convertible notes to a consortium of investors.

Singapore-based venture capital firm Beenext returned to co-invest in this round after participating in SolarHome’s pre-series A equity round in October last year. Other investors participating in this round include an impact-oriented family office; X Capital Ventures, an investment group focused on seed to Series B ventures; and distinguished Singaporean angel investor, Koh Boon Hwee, whose deep expertise and leadership spans across the technology, consumer, and investment sectors. Mr Koh was formerly chairman of Singapore Telecom, DBS Bank and Singapore Airlines.

Dirk Van Quaquebeke, managing director of Beenext, said, “We are thrilled to continue to back SolarHome. Myanmar is an exciting market for us and SolarHome is in a unique position to capitalise on the massive opportunity set in a country that sits at the intersection of microfinance and energy access. The company has scaled very quickly despite operating in a country with significant infrastructural challenges and we believe there is substantial room for technology to drive further efficiency and scale in the business.”

SolarHome has raised over US$2.3 million in funding to date, having secured its seed capital from FORUM, the largest fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia. SolarHome secured its first debt funding from online platform lender Kiva in October last year,  shortly after having closed an oversubscribed pre-Series A equity funding round of US$625,000 led by impact venture capital firm Uberis Capital.

SolarHome will use the new capital to expand its PAYG solar product line and distribution networks in Myanmar, and develop a strong underwriting function to supplement a growing balance sheet. SolarHome currently operates out of seven hubs in Myanmar, employing over 150 field sales representatives and installers. The company has installed systems in over 4,000 households in the Ayeyarwady Delta region in rural Myanmar since its official launch in January 2017 and has been doubling its monthly installation rate in the last six months.

 Ted Martynov, chief executive officer and co-founder of SolarHome, said, “We are very pleased to have a group of reputable and specialised investors come on board this round. As pioneers of the pay-as-you-go model in Southeast Asia, we are eager to draw upon the expertise of our investor base to incorporate best practices in retail, consumer finance and technology that best serve our unique business model.”

“We have a large target market of eight million households in Myanmar alone, and we are confident this round of capital will enable us to stay on course to bring affordable renewable energy to over 40,000 households by end 2018,” added Ted.

According to the World Bank[1], the global PAYG solar industry has attracted over US$773 million in funding over the last five years. The estimated impact of these investments has been far reaching, with approximately US$5.2 billion in economic savings to households as they switch from kerosene and other conventional fuels to off-grid solar devices including PAYG solar.                                                                                                                                                                    
A 2017 United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded study of SolarHome’s operations in Myanmar established that every dollar invested in its systems in the field has brought a four times return in terms of measurable environmental and social benefits. Rural communities have

seen a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a rise in household savings and income generating activities, improved respiratory and eye health, and have experienced fewer burns and fire incidents.                                                                          

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About SolarHome

SolarHome is the pioneer in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia.  SolarHome installs the IFC-World Bank’s Lighting Global certified integrated solar energy and appliance units in customers’ homes, and offers radically affordable “rent-to-own” plans of energy service subscription. This dramatically lowers the barriers to adoption of solar technology by the bottom-of-pyramid clients. SolarHome is delivering a significant social impact in its addressable market of 27 million households across Southeast Asia living outside of the electric grid. Headquartered in Singapore, SolarHome presently operates in Myanmar. SolarHome was seeded and developed by FORUM, a leading fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia.