Scale-up: Premium Portable Solar Products with a Powerful Social Mission…
Meet WakaWaka: the award-winning, fast-growing social enterprise on a mission to help people everywhere plug into the sun with premium quality solar-powered consumer products.
Our suite of portable solar solutions provide hours of sustainable power and light — all using nothing but the power of the sun.
WakaWaka combines a great product with a powerful social purpose:
to bring light and power to the more than a billion people living without access to electricity and the billions seeking plentiful, renewable energy solutions. Through our Share the Sun model, for every product sold a solar light is given to humanitarian and emergency relief efforts around the globe.
Founded in 2012, we have made tremendous advances without traditional financing. Here are some of the highlights:
Read on to learn more about our vision for safe sustainable solar for all — and how WakaWaka is lighting the way.
At the heart of WakaWaka’s vision is something so simple, so essential to the way human beings live our lives, that millions of us barely ever think about it: light.
We take light and power for granted, because it’s always there. At a flip of a switch we have light for as long as we need it.
But for billions of people living in darkness after the sun goes down the picture isdramatically different.
Not having access to power may be a temporary nuisance to some, but if you live off-grid it is more than just an inconvenience: it has very real, very significant implications that touch upon everything from education to healthcare to economic well-being.
Without electricity, people living in off-grid areas rely on toxic, dangerous and expensive kerosene lamps that cause respiratory disease, serious burn injuries and can consume up to 20% of a family’s disposable income. Replacing a kerosene lamp with a WakaWaka saves money, improves education and increases income generating opportunities for families.
In a village in South Sudan, pass rates went from 57% to a 100% within a year’s time after students received solar lights that allowed them to finish their homework in the evening, according to a 2009 World Bank report.
At WakaWaka, we are in the business of empowering lives. We believe everyone can spark positive change and as such, everyone can be an Agent of Light.
OUR VISION AND MISSION
As the world’s population grows, generating renewable energy remains a pressing concern. Solar, the largest source of energy on the planet, offers a safe, sustainable solution for all.
Social enterprise, sustainable venture, benefit corporation — there are many ways to describe how WakaWaka works. But what it comes down to is this: at WakaWaka, we harness the power of business and the power of the sun for social good.
All of our products are proud examples of world-famous Dutch design and aesthetic. The same premium, high-quality products for all markets.
Share the Sun
Buy a WakaWaka and you also give a solar light to a family caught in crisis and living without access to electricity. Through our Share the Sun model, WakaWaka provides an essential resource to emergency relief organizations, while also raising awareness about energy poverty. In the United States we work exclusively with the International Rescue Committee. In other countries we work with the Red Cross, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity and others.
We are acutely aware that flooding communities with donated products can have adverse consequences. WakaWaka donates our Share the Sun units without reservation in crisis situations. Outside of humanitarian emergencies, WakaWaka develops market-based, sustainable and scalable business models and we encourage our partners to do the same.
In our market approach we distinguish between developed and developing markets as well as our primary and secondary target consumers.
WakaWaka’s suite of premium portable solar products are vital additions to modern first-aid kits — must-haves for everyone: the modern-day explorer – urban, suburban or way (way) off the beaten path.
The active adventurer who prefers to spend more time out in the world than inside.
The busy mom taking a break from it all after shuttling the kids to their third extracurricular activity of the day
The business traveler battling others for that elusive outlet at the airport or on the train.
WakaWaka portable solar products are perfect for anyone who is looking for a sustainable, impactful way to power their busy lives.
WakaWaka’s most important customers are those living without any access to electricity. Making less than $2.00 a day, these rural households are technology-thirsty, entrepreneurial, and eager to use the additional hours of light for improving education, running the family business, and connecting with loved ones. WakaWaka develops smart payment solutions to provide access to energy to these customers.
Because a single light can lead you from harm to home, we set out to create the best in class solar products on the market. It had to work efficiently under the worst conditions and be sturdy enough to last.
With that goal in mind, we partnered with leading solar technology innovator Invitation to incorporate their groundbreaking patented solar technology into our products.
The result: the most functional, ultra-efficient and beautifully designed suite of portable solar-powered solutions on the market today:
The quintessential entry point into the solar revolution for anyone on the go who hates to be left without power. A rugged, ultra-efficient solar flashlight + charger beautifully designed to help people plug into the sun for power and light, WakaWaka Power+ will charge smartphones and other USB powered devices. It also provides up to 150 hours of bright LED light on a single charge from the sun.
The WakaWaka Light is a sturdy, highly efficient and sustainable solar-powered LED flashlight that provides users with up to 80 hours of light after just a single day in the sun.
WakaWaka Base 10
The next step in the evolution of portable solar power: the ultimate all-in-one compact kit for when the sun goes down or the lights go out. With a 10,000 mAh battery, the state-of-the-art WakaWaka Base 10 converts solar energy into battery power significantly faster than any other solar powerbank on the market today. After a single day in the sun, the powerful WakaWaka Base 10 will charge a tablet, multiple phones, cameras and other USB-powered gear, or provide up to an entire week of light.
WakaWaka products are fueling the solar revolution by helping consumers plug into the sun in developed and developing markets. No kerosene, batteries, or outlets needed. We have the opportunity to reach new heights by building on four years of exciting innovation, sales and marketing.
In 2016, we are expanding our operations and strengthening our market penetration in the US, Netherlands and Rwanda to leverage the high demand for premium quality solar products.
With the help of extensive earned media exposure and celebrity influencers, WakaWaka is already well-positioned as a premium lifestyle brand with a powerful mission. We will continue amplifying our lifestyle branding and unifying our customer experience across all channels.
Our own ecommerce sales will be prioritized along with premium retailers and etailers. To fully capitalize on the higher margin sales from waka-waka.com we will build a scalable, and robust digital commerce platform.
European expansion will be managed through a hybrid strategy that utilizes both direct-to-retail and distributor partnerships.
Following our success with Amazon in the US we will expand our global Amazon footprint into the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain as well as Mexico in 2016.
Building off the lessons from our Virtual Grid pilot in Rwanda, we will expand marketing, sales and distribution infrastructure in East Africa and Asia through a new IT platform, additional offices, direct sales, and distributor partnerships. Utilizing pop culture and tapping into an enormous desire for projected entertainment, WakaWaka’s Solar Cinema events are well-positioning the brand in both rural and urban markets in Rwanda.
The urban middle class and tourism sector have been added as secondary target customers and will be reached through retail chains, prominent niche markets and strategic partnerships within the tourism industry.
For the majority of people living without access to electricity, one of the most significant obstacles standing between them and renewable energy is simply the cost of the necessary technology up front. With the Virtual Grid, our innovative pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) plan, WakaWaka is making access to premium solar-powered products an affordable option.
Customers can now pay for their WakaWaka in affordable installments. At just $0.75 per week, the Virtual Grid is one of the most affordable PAYGO solution of its kind — and an essential component of WakaWaka’s mission to make solar power accessible and affordable for all.
Here’s how it works:
Following our 2015 pilot in three districts in Rwanda we are now expanding to additional districts within Rwanda and to Uganda in 2016, followed by Tanzania and Indonesia in 2017.
It’s one thing to talk about WakaWaka’s mission. It’s another thing to see that mission in action. Here are just a few examples of how WakaWaka makes real change, and brings power to parts of the world where it’s needed most.
With political unrest ongoing in the Middle Eastern country of Syria, millions of Syrian citizens are being pushed from their homes — and left without access to power and light as a result.
Bob Kitchen, Director Emergency Preparedness and Response of the International Rescue Committee, calls the WakaWaka Power+ “among the most valued aid tools we distribute in Syria.”
In April 2015 a massive earthquake hit central Nepal. The entire country was plunged into darkness.
Within days our Agents of Light mobilized to send over 15,000 WakaWakas that were dispatched to help Nepali families rebuild their lives.
Where do we #SharetheSun? Check out 300+ WakaWaka projects around the world through our online impact map.
WakaWaka has made some incredible progress since our inception in 2012.
To date, we’ve sold more than 550,000 WakaWakas and raised more than $1.5 million through crowdfunding campaigns. All told, WakaWaka has brought safe, sustainable solar power to more than 1 million people in developing areas around the world. That, above all else, is our most important milestone.
International Rescue Committee and Clinton Global Initiative:
WakaWaka is honored to be partnering with some of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations to provide solar solutions for survivors and emergency responders following natural disasters.
We have a threeyear contract with the International Rescue Committee, and we recently accomplished our first commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative — to bring power and light to 1 million people living without access to electricty — a year ahead of schedule.
Other Nonprofit partners and customers
In addition to our nonprofit partners, WakaWaka is also working with a variety of leaders from the corporate world, including EY, Accenture, Heineken, SunPower, ABN AMRO, PwC, Rabobank, Postcode Lottery and FMO.
WakaWaka has distribution in 200+ brick-and-mortar locations across the Benelux, Germany and the US. Working with the industry leading channel experts at Sightline Group, we are currently in advanced discussions with several prominent national retailers in the US.
Awards & Press
WakaWaka was honored with three CES Innovation Awards in 2015. We have received many more awards including: four Accenture Innovation Awards, Best Industrial Design Award, Promotional Gift Award, iF Design Award and most recently in February 2016: the Fresh Innovation Award and the Distree Diamond Award for “Best Mobile and Tablet Accessory.”
WakaWaka has been featured in prominent media outlets around the world, generating over $5M in earned media exposure:
WakaWaka’s story began in 2010 when founders Maurits Groen and Camille van Gestel traveled to South Africa for a competition to green the 2010 World Cup soccer championship with LED lighting. Throughout their travels, they were struck by the scores of people living without access to electricity. For them, to see so many people without access to clean power and light—living in what’s commonly known as energy poverty—was a profound awakening. They vowed to extend their efforts to address the lack of safe and affordable lighting among families living at the so-called base of the pyramid.
A gifted connector and serial entrepreneur with 19 years of experience developing and manufacturing promotional products in China for Heineken, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Bacardi, TNT, Goodyear and others. Camille initiated and coordinated a project to mitigate carbon emissions of the entire World Cup soccer in South Africa in 2010, which was the spark for WakaWaka. While serving as co-CEO of WakaWaka, he spearheaded 8 successful crowdfunding campaigns that raised over $1.5 million.
After 40 years at the forefront of sustainable development in the Netherlands, Maurits was selected as ”Number 1 Most Sustainable” on the Dutch Sustainability Top 100 in 2015. He is the founder, director and board member of numerous organizations advancing sustainable development and education. Having organized the Dutch publication and screening of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, he has hosted the former US Vice President on numerous visits to The Netherlands.
A widely sought after-after brand and media strategist, with clients including Grey Group and HSBC, Jehmu has over 20 years experience building powerful social justice movements and raising more than $25 million for high-profile social impact organizations, and progressive political candidates and causes. She served as a Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and was appointed to the US Commission for UNESCO. As President of Rock the Vote, she spearheaded the development of the first-ever national online voter registration; managed strategic partnerships with MTV, Ben & Jerry’s, CNN, Motorola, Cingular Wireless, FCUK, OPI, Sunkist and others. Under her leadership the organization led the highest increase in voter turnout in history.
Served as the Founding CEO of Digicel Foundation Papua New Guinea, the corporate Foundation, of Digicel, a global mobile telecoms operator focusing on developing markets. Marina led and cost-effectively implemented 284 projects and several capacity building programs against a total budget of $11 million. She has more than 10 years of experience as a project manager, consultant and process manager in the telecommunications industry in Europe.
Managed audits and financial due diligence projects in merger and acquisition processes at KMPG for 7 ½ years. Served as business plan coach at BidNetwork. Carolien earned a Master of Business Administration (major: Finance) at the University of Maastricht and a Post Master Accountancy degree at the University of Amsterdam.
WakaWaka has a loyal and rapidly growing community. We call them “Agents of Light”. What began as an organic outpouring of support from our loyal customers is now a passionate global community of brand advocates.
Campaigns for the 60 million refugees worldwide.
By asking our Agents of Light to close their eyes and imagine what it would be like to live in pitch black, night after night, our hope is that many eyes will actually be opened to the millions of refugees and displaced persons who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution. For every photo received on social media, donated a WakaWaka Light to the International Rescue Committee.
We’ve made some incredible progress so far, but this is just the beginning.
As an investor in WakaWaka, you will receive:
- Our entire suite of premium quality personal solar powered products: The WakaWaka Light, WakaWaka Power+ and the WakaWaka Base10 (as soon as it is available this spring).
- A lifetime personal discount code for waka-waka.com.
Ready to be an Agent of Light?
For more information about the future of WakaWaka and how you can help make it happen as a part of our Agent of Light community, request access to the Business Plan tab of this profile,
and let’s talk impact!
Camille van Gestel
Founder, Agent of Light