We take pride in each one of our portfolio companies, and it’s always rewarding to see them recognized for their work. Simpa Networks has been quietly walking the walk and is now talking the talk, evidenced by article after article popping up in our Google Alerts. The media stories on Simpa spotlight the need for alternative energy and accompanying innovative financing solutions for the under- and un-electrified. Now, mainstream media like Inc Magazine and National Geographic are running stories on energy poverty, quoting industry stats on the 1.4 billion people in the world who have no access to electricity and 2+ billion who rely on inadequate and unsafe sources.
Paul Needham, Jacob Winiecki, and Mike MacHarg are not only spreading the word about Simpa Networks, but also about the bigger problem their product solves. They bring attention to the obvious boom in demand for energy in emerging markets that has piggybacked on the increase in mobile telephony. Users need energy not only to live, study, and work, but – plain and simple – they want to charge their phones! Although the demand is straightforward, clean tech engineers often overlook it. Simpa has not – the company provides an innovative solution that allows users to pay for solar power with their mobile phones. The team is working hard to scale their business and in the process, spreading the word about both the demand and opportunity.
Some recent media highlights are below:
“It’s been widely reported that Indians and Africans have jumped an era in technology by skipping land lines and heading straight for the mobile phone, carrying one in each pocket many times. But, the same is happening in terms of access to alternative energy. Unlike other products that become saturated in markets, Needham explains, energy is constantly in demand—and if it’s coming from a clean source, such as solar, that’s not a bad thing.”
“Navigating the Developing-Nation Solar Boom” by Esha Chhabra in Inc Magazine
“The basic solar system size Simpa sells is around 25 watts to 50 watts, which can power a couple of CFL lights, a mobile phone charger and maybe a fan or a TV cable box, Simpa Co-Founder Jacob Winiecki told me in a phone interview. Remember, these are off-grid, often rural homes that don’t have access to the power grid, and the households commonly live on $4 or less a day. These customers often don’t have predictable income and are often farmers who only get paid when they sell their goods at the end of the growing season.”
“A startup’s plan to sell solar like cell phones” by Katie Fehrenbaher in GigaOM
Other notable articles include: “Electricity Simplified via Simpa Networks” by Mansi Reddy on Innovation Alchemy and “Inspiring Green Business Ideas from India” by Maryruth Belsey Priebe on Green Marketing TV. It’s not just Western media either – The Economic Times in India picked up Simpa’s story: “Why India’s clean tech sector is attracting US, Europe, and Asia Pacific entrepreneurs” by Peerzada Abrar.
In addition to the written word, Simpa also captured the media’s attention with audio and video. Listen to Boyd Matson’s Audio Interview with Paul Needham on National Geographic Weekend. ThoughtWorks’ Client Portfolio on Simpa has been updated with a Video of Michael MacHarg. Finally, Paul, who was named an honorable PopTech Fellow, gave an inspiring presentation on global energy demand.
As Simpa starts a new year, the team has some big goals to work toward and even bigger impact to create. On our end, they’ve hit every milestone we set out for them so far and we know the team is working hard to scale and succeed. We’ll continue to expect great things.
Images courtesy of Simpa Networks.