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D.Light Designs names Donn Tice as CEO

d.light is an international consumer products company serving people without access to reliable electricity. The company states is mission as “Enable households without reliable electricity to attain the same quality of life as those with electricity. We will begin by replacing every kerosene lantern with clean, safe and bright light.”.

The company launched their affordable product line in 2008 and has sold hundreds of thousands of solar lanterns to off-grid households in over 40 countries around the world. the d.light solar product line includes D.LIGHT S250, a premium solar lantern and mobile phone charger, D.LIGHT S10, the world’s most affordable solar lantern, and Solata S380, a high-quality solar task lamp.

d.light is financed by leading social enterprise funds Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund and Gray Matters Capital; with investment from prestigious venture capital firms including Nexus India Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Garage Technology Ventures, the Mahindra Group.

 Panchabuta has often opined, that the off grid solar opportunities are much bigger than the utility scale solar power projects that seem to usually get all the attention. It will be worthy to note that companies like D.Light design have scaled rapidly in this area and as Panchabuta had noted, have impacted their second million lives in less than 8 months. It is glad to note that the company has impacted their third million in less than 4 months.

d.light has recently been rated as one of the 5 hot startups to watch by Forbes India and according to the article,this year could be an inflection point for Kiran – the kerosene killer.

Panchabuta had earlier opined that, d.light might have just hit that inflection point that Forbes India talks about, when they hit their second million lives impacted in less than 8 months. Their acheivement of their third million lives in less than four months stands testimony to our assesment.

Earlier, d.light Design was  shortlisted for the Financial Times ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards with companies like Groupon and Zynga.

According to a release today, d.light design announced today that company Board Chairman Donn Tice has been named Chief Executive Officer. Tice, who has been driving innovation in consumer products for over 30 years, will focus on expanding distribution, driving global marketing, and developing d.light’s international team to best serve the needs of its growing customer base.

Tice has been an advisor to d.light since March 2008 and has served on the company’s Board of Directors since November 2008.

“d.light is poised for rapid growth, and I’m excited to be part of it,” said Tice. “Our products have changed the lives of three million people to date, and this is just the beginning. The company’s customer-centered approach to product design and its commitment to making reliable energy affordable will propel us to our goal of improving quality of life for 100 million people around the world.”

d.light’s product offering currently includes three solar lighting products: the S250 solar lantern and mobile charger, the highly affordable S10 lantern, and the Solata S380 study light. Cumulatively, d.light products have saved customers USD90 million, increased productivity by another USD97 million and reduced global carbon emissions of CO2 by over 120,000 tons.

Donn brings a notable track record in consumer products, clean technology, and global marketing and distribution to d.light. He has built $100+ million global businesses and raised $100 million in capital. His passion for BOP consumers began as a United Nations Fellow; Donn was mentored by the late C.K. Prahalad. As Founder of Sustainable Solutions (2006-2010), Donn accelerated the growth of venture capital-backed consumer companies. As CEO of startup Nanotex (2003-2006), his team expanded distribution to 90 brands in 30 countries, through100 distribution partners, creating a 25x valuation increase. As CEO of Winterland (1997–2002), sales grew 3.5x, from $30 million to $110 million.

“Donn’s leadership, experience, and energy will bring tremendous value to d.light’s continued growth and social impact,” said Jayant Sinha, Managing Director of Omidyar Network India Advisors and a d.light Director.

Tice succeeds founding CEO Sam Goldman, who has been named Chief Customer Officer and will be responsible for ensuring that customer priorities, values, and experiences continue to be at the center of the company’s product development. Ned Tozun continues as President, maintaining global leadership responsibility for developing new markets. Goldman and Tozun will both continue to serve on d.light’s Board of Directors.

“Donn has been a great friend and advisor to d.light from the beginning,” said Goldman. “Given his passion for our mission and his proven leadership, we could think of no better person to lead us into our next stage of growth.”

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