Lives in the Developing World Through Innovative Products
Innovations, a 'spin-off' from Stanford University backed by some of
leading investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from Silicon
as its mission to empower lives in the developing world through
Their first product, being marketed in India, is a solar powered
using the latest Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
Innovations' vision is to move beyond the drip-feed of charitable
and engage the power of the private sector to unlock social and
value in the developing world, using technology and business to
sustainable social change.
Madsen, a member of the IGNITE leadership team, earned Bachelors
Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University,
in mechanical and electromechanical design, and in design for
countries. She will describe the origins of the organization, the
of developing and marketing the first product and plans for new
and new markets.
began her talk by explaining that IGNITE wants to harness the
of the private sector to make life better for people all over
world by selling products that make sense in the local marketplace.
principals in the company are recent Stanford grads that identified
niche for their products and want to fill it. At this point in time the
is a year old, and consists of a small staff and their first
she explained that in places like India that don't have electricity,
lot of light comes from kerosene lanterns. These cost between four
ten dollars a month to run (for most homes), and are a leading
of indoor air pollution where they are used. To dramatize this,
said that bad air is the second leading cause of preventable
deaths (behind bad water) in the developing world.
solution to the problem is a lantern with a bright LED for
light source, a couple of batteries to store energy, and a solar
to gather light from the sun during the day. They expect
them in India for about $25 once the volume on the
there has ramped up. "This
price would be affordable
large number of kerosene users, especially if
explained., and a better deal than
dollar value in kerosene.
have gone through a pilot production run to test out the idea
real world conditions, and the results were very encouraging. They
a relationship with a manufacturer in India that wants to do
for the units. Currently IGNITE is looking for financing to
their first big volume production run. Interested parties should
Q&A a number of points came up.
lamp with a couple of AA batteries in it can supply about two
five hours of light per evening from a day's sunlight.
brightest LEDs this year are twice as bright as the best ones
a year ago. Improvements are still coming at a dramatic rate.
panel technology is mature enough that low price in volume
more important to this application than the state of the art.
molding of plastic is much more available in India than
molding of plastic.
batteries can be expected to wear out after 500
1000 charge cycles (17 months or more at a cycle per day).
that replacing the batteries should be a small investment
to buying the lamp. The rest of it can be expected to
for a very long time.