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D.light, a for-profit social enterprise that makes solar-powered products for “off-grid” communities, has raised another $10.5 million in funding, taking its total financing to more than $40 million over the past quarter.
Founded in 2007, San Francisco-based D.light manufactures a range of solar lighting goods, including the D30 bundle, which consists of a solar panel, battery-charging pack, lights, switches, FM radio, and a torch, all powered by D.light’s pay-as-you-go platform. The company claims distribution hubs spanning the U.S., East Africa, West Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.
Back in September, the company announced a $22.5 million raise, constituting $15 million from a number of VC firms, including Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The remainder of the funding came via a $5 million grant and $2.5 million in debt funding. A month later, D.light announced another $7.5 million in debt funding and revealed plans to produce a solar-powered TV.
This latest $10.5 million tranche comes in the form of $5 million from new investor Norfund and $5.5 million in grant funding from Beyond the Grid and Shell Foundation. It takes the company’s total funding past the $60 million mark, including all grants and equity / debt funding.
The announcement comes as D.light cofounder and CEO Ned Tozun is scheduled to speak at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, where he will be discussing the “progress of decentralized energy systems for those living at the bottom of the pyramid,” which he says is part of the impending “fourth industrial revolution.”
“Progress in energy access through off-grid solar can catalyze a chain of events that move the developing world into new forms of financial inclusion and internet connectivity, which will in turn significantly increase GDP,” said Tozun. “Growing these sectors requires massive support.”
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