Barefoot Power reaches 2M two million people and raises A$5.8 million

 Less than a year after announcing it had impacted one million people worldwide, Barefoot Power achieved its second milestone of bringing affordable lighting and phone charging products to two million people across 20 countries. In parallel, the Sydney-based social purpose business has successfully raised Series B funding of A$5.8 million from three leading social investment funds, d.o.b Foundation, ennovent and Insitor Fund, along with existing shareholders, The Grace Foundation and Oikocredit Ecumenical Development Coop, and a number of private angel investors. Unitus Capital was sole advisor to Barefoot Power for the transaction.

“We appreciate the commitment by new shareholders and the continuing support of existing shareholders. The funds raised will be used to continue the solid growth trajectory and potential of Barefoot Power, as recently recognised by receipt of the Ashden Award, and solidly positions us to meet our target of impacting 10 million people by 2015″, says CEO of Barefoot Power, Rick Hooper.

Complimenting Barefoot Power on closing the equity round, Hedwig Siewertsen, Director, d.o.b Foundation, said, “We chose to invest in Barefoot Power because it provides access to an affordable and environmentally friendly product for people that currently live without electricity. Bringing a product to Mombasa or Accra is not so difficult; getting it deep into the power grid lacking markets through a network of dealers and micro-entrepreneurs who can offer a warranty for the product, that is the real challenge that Barefoot Power has been addressing successfully in the past few years,”

Valerian Fauvel, Investment Manager, Insitor Fund, noted, “Combining its strong brand with a portfolio of recognized products and a solid distribution channel supported by innovative financial schemes, Barefoot Power is an inspiring example of a successful venture driven by a clear social mission. Insitor is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the future development of Barefoot Power and to be a part of a great team.” Peter Scheuch, Founder and Managing Director, ennovent added “We are very pleased for our shareholding to be supporting the expansion of Barefoot Power’s success into India.”

Commenting on its decision to increase its support to Barefoot Power, Tom Keleher, Investment Officer, Oikocredit, said “The products of Barefoot Power enhance the quality of life for its customers and their families and its business model creates much needed jobs in the markets it works. These benefits to society, combined with the attractive potential financial returns, are compelling. ” John Altmann,founder and Executive Director of TheGrace Foundationadded, “We are confident in the ability of the talented leadership team of Barefoot Power to grow the company, and look forward to the value the three new social investment funds will bring through their interaction with management and the board.”

“Unitus Capital takes pride in working with one of Australia’s leading social businesses and is excited that the capital raised will enable Barefoot Power to continue to provide affordable energy access to millions of people” said Kylie Charlton, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Unitus Capital.

About Barefoot Power
Barefoot Power is a global, social for-profit enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar phone charging, lighting products and business development services to people at the base of the global economic pyramid.

Founded in 2005, Barefoot Power has impacted the lives of one million people in over 20 countries. Over 1.5 billion people lack access to electricity and Barefoot Power is on a mission, to bring affordable renewable energy and efficient lighting to 5 million people by 2013 and 10 million people by 2015 and help eradicate energy poverty.

How will we do that? By bringing electricity to millions of people that currently use kerosene lighting and walk far for phone and battery charging, we plan on reversing the traditional process of rural electrification while reducing the global carbon footprint.

Barefoot Power is funded through a diverse group of investors and the European Union. Learn more about our products, distribution models and financing opportunities at www.barefootpower.com.

About d.o.b foundation
d.o.b foundation’s mission is to support innovative private sector initiatives that contribute to improvements in the quality of lives of disadvantaged people and communities in Africa.
We focus on initiatives that generate income earning opportunities for at least 1,000 low income people or that provide affordable products and services to at least 10,000 low income people.
d.o.b foundation provides equity financing to businesses that are in the early growth stage and expansion phase and that do not (yet) have access to commercial private equity. Through our active participation in the financed initiatives, we can provide advisory services and access to our network to support our mission.For more information visit www.dobfoundation.com

About ennovent
ennovent accelerates innovations creating a sustainable impact on low income people. We work with a global network of entrepreneurs, investors and experts to discover, finance and scale up the best innovations. We envision sustainable living for people at the base of the economic pyramid. www.ennovent.com

About The Grace Foundation
The Grace Foundation is a Melbourne based Christian charitable foundation dedicated to creating sustainable business opportunities for the poor with both our capital and our income. We support business start up programs in Tanzania and we have a particular concern for energy poverty in Africa and South-East Asia. We have been pleased to invest a substantial amount of our capital in Barefoot Power to help meet these objectives.

About Insitor
Insitor Fund is a social venture capital fund that finances social enterprises in emerging and frontier markets. Investees are new and existing for-profit companies proposing market solutions to critical social issues and promoting a responsible and sustainable economy. Sectors include energy, water, low-income housing, health and education. Operations are headquartered in Phnom Penh with offices in New Delhi and Yangon. For more information, visit www.insitorfund.com.

About Oikocredit
Oikocredit is a social investor and worldwide cooperative that promotes global justice by empowering disadvantaged people with credit. Since 1975, Oikocredit has offered loans and investment capital to microfinance institutions, cooperatives, fair trade and other businesses. Today, Oikocredit has 896 partners in almost 70 countries. For more information visit www.oikocredit.org.

About Unitus Capital
Unitus Capital is a financial services firm specializing in arranging capital for companies benefiting those at the bottom of the economic pyramid in sectors including microfinance, renewable energy, health care and education. With operations in Bangalore and Sydney, Unitus Capital delivers a range of financial advisory and capital market services to clients across Asia. For more information, visit www.unitucapital.com.

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