>Sally Madsen                                                                                                    
>Empowering Lives in the Developing World Through Innovative Products
>IGNITE Innovations, a 'spin-off' from Stanford University backed by some of
>the leading investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from Silicon Valley,
>has as its mission to empower lives in the developing world through innovative
>products. Their first product, being marketed in India, is a solar powered
>lantern using the latest Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
>IGNITE Innovations' vision is to move beyond the drip-feed of charitable
>donations and engage the power of the private sector to unlock social and
>economic value in the developing world, using technology and business to
>create sustainable social change.
>Sally Madsen, a member of the IGNITE leadership team, earned Bachelors
>and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University,
>concentrating in mechanical and electromechanical design, and in design for
>developing countries. She will describe the origins of the organization, the
>challenges of developing and marketing the first product and plans for new
>products and new markets.
Sally began her talk by explaining that IGNITE wants to harness the
power of the private sector to make life better for people all over
the world by selling products that make sense in the local marketplace.
The principals in the company are recent Stanford grads that identified
a niche for their products and want to fill it. At this point in time the
company is a year old, and consists of a small staff and their first

Then she explained that in places like India that don't have electricity,
a lot of light comes from kerosene lanterns. These cost between four
and ten dollars a month to run (for most homes), and are a leading
cause of indoor air pollution where they are used. To dramatize this,
Sally said that bad air is the second leading cause of preventable
childhood deaths (behind bad water) in the developing world.

IGNITEs solution to the problem is a lantern with a bright LED for
the light source, a couple of batteries to store energy, and a solar
panel to gather light from the sun during the day. They expect
to retail them in India for about $25 once the volume on the
production there has ramped up. "This price would be affordable
to a large number of kerosene users, especially if combined with
microfinancing"Sally explained., and a better deal than the
equivalent dollar value in kerosene.

They have gone through a pilot production run to test out the idea
in real world conditions, and the results were very encouraging. They
have a relationship with a manufacturer in India that wants to do
production for the units. Currently IGNITE is looking for financing to
build their first big volume production run. Interested parties should
contact them directly.

During Q&A a number of points came up.

A lamp with a couple of AA batteries in it can supply about two
to five hours of light per evening from a day's sunlight.

The brightest LEDs this year are twice as bright as the best ones
of a year ago. Improvements are still coming at a dramatic rate.

Solar panel technology is mature enough that low price in volume
is more important to this application than the state of the art.

Injection molding of plastic is much more available in India than
blow molding of plastic.

Rechargeable batteries can be expected to wear out after 500
to 1000 charge cycles (17 months or more at a cycle per day).
After that replacing the batteries should be a small investment
compared to buying the lamp. The rest of it can be expected to
last for a very long time.

Tian Harter