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FMO And Consortium Partners Invest USD 41 Million In D.Light To Help Scale The Rapidly Growing Off-Grid Energy Company

FMO is part of a Consortium supporting d.light with USD 41 million in equity funding, energy expertise and networks. This support will enable the leading distributed solar provider to expand and accelerate its growth rate as well as provide energy access to millions of people in Africa.

The Consortium is led by Inspired Evolution, an Africa-focused investment advisory firm that specializes in the energy sector. Other Consortium partners include Swedfund and Norfund.

The deal is a co-investment with Inspired Evolution’s second fund, in which FMO invested in 2017. Now, FMO invests US$10.6 million in d.light, funded by the Access to Energy Fund (AEF) and the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF). The investment will further solidify d.light’s position as market leader in the off-grid energy sector, and enables expansion of the company’s solar and Pay-Go consumer finance business in Africa.

“FMO is pleased to support d.light alongside Inspired Evolution, a trusted local partner. This investment perfectly fits FMO’s inclusive and green business strategy and the investment is additional to FMO’s equity off-grid exposure in terms of product offering and geographies. We believe that d.light is one of the players offering the highest quality and most affordable products, and is able to leverage valuable lessons learned as one of the first-movers in the sector,” said Diana Wesselius, Manager Private Equity Energy Investments at FMO.

“We are thrilled to have Inspired Evolution and the Consortium as the newest funding partner in the d.light family,” said d.light co-founder and CEO Ned Tozun. “Their 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.”

Wayne Keast, Managing Partner, at Inspired Evolution said,” We are excited to partner with d.light, the market leader in the portable solar product and off-grid solar home system market, to support the expansion of their Pay-Go solar business throughout Africa which  will help address the needs of more than 600 million people that do not have access to electricity”.

d.light, Empowering communities for a brighter future

Since its founding in 2007, d.light has provided solar energy to more than 88 million people in 62 countries. Their extensive product line ranges from extremely affordable portable solar lanterns to solar home systems that can power multiple lights, mobile phones, and small appliances, including a flat-screen television. d.light’s solar solutions have won multiple international awards for their innovation and design and are sold through more than 30,000 outlets around the world—the largest existing distribution network for these types of products.

With a strong emphasis on product quality and customer service since its earliest days, d.light has built up a loyal customer base in emerging markets. d.light continues to profitably sell hundreds of thousands of units per month, while maintaining excellent
quality at scale. Its pay-go financing system has among the lowest delinquency rates in the industry. The company is led by a strong team of deeply experienced, internationally recognized leaders and highly committed, talented local staff.

This latest funding round brings the total amount of equity and debt that d.light has raised in the past two years to over US$100 million. The funding round also enabled some of the company’s earliest investors to achieve an exit.

About the other Consortium partners

Inspired Evolution was established in 2007 as a specialized African investment advisory business dedicated to two investment themes: clean energy infrastructure-type development and project finance investments; and energy and resource efficiency growth equity investments, and the value chains that support them. Inspired Evolution, with offices in Cape Town, London, Nairobi and Mauritius advises two investment funds, Evolution One and Evolution II. Its investment territory covers the sub-Saharan African region. Inspired Evolution has been involved in more than 1000 MW of renewable energy infrastructure generation projects over the past decade and is pursuing a pipeline of new clean energy projects and resource efficiency opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa.

Swedfund is the Swedish Development Finance Institution, providing risk capital, expertise and financial support for investments in local companies in developing markets. Swedfund’s mission is poverty reduction through sustainable business, contributing to economic and environmental development as well as a positive impact to society. Swedfund’s investment strategy rests on three main pillars: impact on society, sustainability and financial viability. Since 1979 Swedfund has been engaged as an active, responsible and long-term investor in more than 260 companies worldwide.

Norfund is the Norwegian Development Finance Institution. Norfund’s objective is to contribute to sustainable commercial businesses in developing countries through providing equity, other risk capital, and loans to companies in selected countries in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa, South-East Asia and Central America. With a portfolio of USD 2.4bn, Norfund invests in three main sectors: clean energy, financial institutions, and agribusiness. – CT Bureau 

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