These entrepreneurs earned a spot at the 2016 Unreasonable Institute and they need your help!  Learn more...

Simusolar

Tanzania

Distributing high quality and affordable clean energy solutions in Tanzania

$370 Raised out of $2,000
-429 Days Remaining

What is the urgent social or environmental need you are addressing?

There is a lack of affordable, productive tools available to individuals living and operating in developing markets where electricity is unavailable or unreliable. The absence of these tools results in health hazards, missed income opportunities, and educational challenges.

Go visit any small town in an electrified area and observe the businesses. There are welders, salons, refrigerated food providers, printer/copier centers, internet cafes, and more. Drive outside the town center and you see farmers of grains, produce, and animals. Nearby is a cooperative center where the grains are milled, seeds are expelled for oils, fruit is pulped and sold as juice, and animals are butchered and frozen for shipping. All these businesses depend on tools that depend upon electricity. Take away the power source and the economy is handicapped.

 

What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy

Simusolar is selling complete electric home & business packages. These include solar panels to generate electricity, high-quality battery storage for nighttime use plus energy efficient appliances. Our products are designed to address the needs of rural Sub-Saharan African residences and businesses that have no access to electricity. In addition, these products come with a built-in, automatic payment processer for pre-pay functionality, allowing customers to easily pay in small increments over time at a price they can afford.

 

Convince us it will work. What milestones have you achieved?

In a short span of time with limited resources, the company has built the platform, integrated with Airtel and Vodacom, set up mobile money with m-Pesa and Airtel Money, piloted with paying customers, developed several partnerships, added commercial products to the portfolio, been awarded a grant from a prominent foundation, and last but not least...been qualified as Unreasonable.

 

Marianne Walpert
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CEO
Michael Kuntz
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COO

About Marianne Walpert

Marianne started Simusolar after founding and leading TanzSolar, a non-profit, for 7 years in the same region of Tanzania. With over 25 years working in solar sales, operations and management, as well as teaching solar, she is an industry veteran like our CTO. Having learned Swahili and built a community in the east Lake Victoria region (Musoma and Mwanza), she established the foundation for Simusolar.

About Michael Kuntz

Michael's background combines a number of areas: corporate finance at a Fortune 500, structured finance that will be instrumental as Simusolar and the industry grows, local-impact finance via Slow Money that aligns vehicle structure with mission, design thinking from work in the Peruvian Amazon sponsored by IDEO, and social entrepreneurship having led a social venture in Nigeria. He is the team's odd-job, passionate about poverty alleviation and building an organization that develops its team alongside its clients.

About David Katz

David Katz, CTO, created the off-grid solar industry in 1979. He has built and sold several solar distributors and been influential in development of numerous products.

Why is your team uniquely qualified to run this venture?

Marianne started Simusolar after founding and leading TanzSolar, a non-profit, for 7 years in the same region of Tanzania. With over 25 years working in solar sales, operations and management, as well as teaching solar, she is an industry veteran. Michael's background combines a number of areas: corporate finance at a Fortune 500, structured finance that will be instrumental as Simusolar and the industry grows, local-impact finance via Slow Money that aligns vehicle structure with mission, design thinking from work in the Peruvian Amazon sponsored by IDEO, and social entrepreneurship having led a social venture in Nigeria. He is passionate about poverty alleviation and building an organization that develops its team alongside its clients. David started the off-grid solar industry in 1979 with AEE's first solar catalog. We're seasoned, having spent our lives doing this work.