Two years ago we launched our second crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
This time, for the production of our improved GravityLight design, GL02, to test local assembly in Kenya and pilot the new model there. Thanks to our incredible supporters we managed to successfully hit and exceed our target!
What makes crowdfunding so unique…
The best thing about crowdfunding has been seeing how many people share our passion for tackling energy poverty and our vision of establishing a sustainable social enterprise to do so. Support has come from all over the world; from Canada to Colombia, Brazil to Bangladesh, Italy to Indonesia.
We have seen how the demand for GravityLight has involved very different people, from very different contexts and for many different reasons - from disaster relief in places hit by hurricanes to using it as a children's bedside light.
Across both campaigns, our ‘crowdfunders’ have helped to bring an idea to life, to move GravityLight from the workshop to reality. Their early support became a ‘stamp of approval’ that has since been amplified by additional support from many others, such as the DOEN Foundation, Comic Relief, Siemens Stiftung and The Funding Network for our research in Kenya.
From day 1, as the donations flooded in, we at GravityLight Foundation have gained a renewed faith in humanity and have been inspired by the generosity of people! Caroline still remembers being on her cramped London commute home and thinking that anyone on her tube could be a donor and could have a huge difference to our initiative and - most importantly- to the lives of hundreds of families in Kenya.
What have we been up to since that campaign started?
...we have been very busy!
Firstly, we were engaged in developing GL02, improving its SatLights (link to blog) and performing accelerated life testing to ensure its lifespan and consistent performance over time. At the same time we were designing and testing our Kenyan marketing assets - such as ensuring that packaging and instructions were both attractive and understandable.
We then started our production stage. Our first full-scale production was with our manufacturing partners in China so we could deliver the batch of ‘ASAP’ units. Our second one was in Kenya, where we set up an assembly line with our partners at the Burn Manufacturing for our batch of 'Made in Africa' GravityLights, also sent out and being used worldwide.
But most importantly, we have started operation in Kenya: We kicked off with a 50 day roadshow in November and now, thanks to our field sales team , we have been selling GravityLight across the country, replacing kerosene lamp with clean, safe and affordable lighting.
All of this would not have happened without this crowdfunding campaign. It has been amazing to see the power of crowdfunding in providing support across a long and challenging journey: disrupting the category with innovation, taking this from concept to production, and starting up in Kenya with a sustainable sales –rather than give-away – model. We still have a long journey ahead to scale and we really appreciate the ongoing encouragement, patience and generosity of supporters, old and new!
Thank you all!