SolarHome tops USD5 million in funding after latest investment from impact VC Insitor Impact Asia Fund
SINGAPORE, JULY 26, 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 for 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 have 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 20 sales hubs across central Myanmar and has installed more than 15,000 homes with its systems. SolarHome provides employment to over 350 employees that include 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 theWorld 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.