Company to use funds to expand into dry zone in Myanmar and build out credit risk management function
SINGAPORE, Feb. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- 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, 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 USD 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.
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.
FORUM is the largest fintech venture builder in Emerging Asia, focused on the $500 billion growth opportunity in the consumer lending vertical. FORUM identifies unique market segments for rapid value creation and build market-leading companies for capital gain. FORUM is currently developing four companies across Asia: CredoLab, AsiaCollect, SolarHome and AsiaKredit. The company is headquartered in Singapore and led by founder and CEO Greg Krasnov.