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Fenix teams up with SunFunder to fund ReadySet solar entrepreneurs in Uganda

SunFunder

Fenix Intl is excited to announce a partnership with SunFunder, a crowdfunding platform to finance solar for the 1.3 billion people living off-grid.

Launched today, SunFunder’s latest campaign is to fund ReadySet loans to 75 members of the Kinyara Sugar Savings and Credit Cooperative.  Each ReadySet Solar Kit will empower workers and their families to become phone charging entrepreneurs in their communities, earning more than $40 in additional income by charging phones at $0.20 cents per charge.  The ReadySet also provides savings by powering bright, clean LED lights to replace dim, dirty and expensive kerosene lamps.

To thank funders for their support, Fenix is offering a $25 coupon to buy a ReadySet from its North American Web Store for every SunFunder loan made to the ReadySet Uganda campaign.

View our campaign on SunFunder

Orange CEO Stéphane Richard names Fenix International as part of first class of “Orange Fab”, the Orange accelerator in Silicon Valley

OrangeFab

Orange Fab, a 3-month accelerator program managed by Orange Silicon Valley, announced today that Fenix International has been selected among its inaugural class of 6 start-ups.  After a swift and thorough evaluation of 100+ total applicants, 30 companies were pre-selected and invited to present to the selection committee.  The applications spanned many industries from M-payments, cloud services, customer data and video.  The selection was primarily driven by the positive impact startups could have on the way we use networks to improve our lives and businesses. The final 6 were welcomed at the inauguration of Orange Fab by the Chairman and CEO of Orange, Stéphane Richard.

“As a global provider of high quality connectivity, data, and content, Orange has maintained during the last 12 years a history of close engagement with Silicon Valley” noted Elie Girard, EVP – Group Strategy and Development. “Orange Fab is the logical next platform for that engagement, since accelerators have become a strategic component of technologies discovery and adoption. This experience will also inspire accelerators Orange could launch in France and in Europe.”

The first class of Orange Fab’s accelerator program includes 6 startups: AlephCloud (Content Control and Privacy for the Cloud), Fenix international (Power for 600M off-grid mobile customers), Phone Halo (cloud-based tracking for items), Re:Char (mobile data collection and cloud analytics for Kenyan farmers), Talkdesk (call center software for small businesses), Virtrue (online identity verification service).

Mentoring sessions will soon commence with notable Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, world-class engineers, and experienced designers.  The start-ups will also be matched with appropriate Orange executives distributed across our footprint from Silicon Valley to Europe to Africa and the Middle East.  Along with the possibility of receiving $20,000 in funding, the start-ups will have the option to work out of Orange Silicon Valley’s offices in San Francisco.  The program will culminate with two demo days, one in Paris in June and one in Silicon Valley in August.

More info: orangefab.com – Follow us on Twitter @orangefab

About Fenix International

Fenix’s mission is to design and deliver world-changing clean energy and information solutions to the over 1.3 billion people living without power in emerging markets.  Engineered in Silicon Valley and field tested in Africa, the ReadySet smart solar battery powers mobile phones, tablets and 3G/4G LTE WiFi routers.  Ready access to energy has proven to increase ARPU up to 14% and mobile banking up to 50%, a $3.3 billion per year revenue opportunity across 600 million off-grid subscribers globally.  Fenix recently partnered with Africa’s leading telecoms and currently powers communications for over 100,000 households, delivering 5.2 million mobile phone charges each year.

http://fenixintl.com

About Orange

France Telecom-Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with annual sales of 43.5 billion euros and has 170,000 employees worldwide at 31 December 2012, including 105,000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base close to 231 million customers at 31 December 2012, including 172 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.

With its industrial project, “conquests 2015”, Orange is simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group’s ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks in particular to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development.

France Telecom (NYSE:FTE) is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris (compartment A) and on the New York Stock Exchange.
For more information (on the internet and on your mobile): www.orange.comwww.orange-business.comwww.orange-innovation.tv or to follow us on Twitter: @presseorange.
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trade marks of Orange Brand Services Limited, Orange France or France Telecom.

Vodafone to launch solar and bike-powered mobile charger for millions off-grid

Vodafone-ReadySet-1

Vodacom Tanzania and energy firm Fenix International have entered into an exclusive agreement to launch ReadySet mobile chargers in Tanzania from March 2013.

The portable phone charger, powered by a solar panel or bicycle dynamo, will provide a much-needed solution for the millions of off-grid mobile customers who travel miles to access electricity.  Globally, more than 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity and there are 600 million mobile phone users living off-grid who spend an estimated $10bn a year on charging phones using petrol generators and car batteries. Vodafone has more than 100m off-grid subscribers worldwide. In Tanzania, only 14 per cent of the 46m population are connected to the electricity grid.

A ReadySet pilot in the Pwani Region of Tanzania in 2012 found the device to be an enterprise opportunity for small business owners, including Vodacom Tanzania’s 40,000 M-Pesa agents. A commercial initiative, this is expected to increase mobile use for some of M-Pesa’s 4.5 million Tanzanian subscribers and boost revenue in off-grid areas. The pilot saw airtime vendors and M-Pesa agents offering ReadySet charging increase airtime sales and SIM registrations, with a 14 per cent increase in average revenue per user.

The ReadySet is simple to use, charges multiple phones simultaneously and powers lights, radios and tablets. The solar panel charger – which charges up to 10 phones a day – will be available first and the bicycle dynamo will launch later. Five to 10 minutes of cycling provides enough energy to fully charge a mobile. An included universal battery charger enables customers to leave just the mobile battery with the vendor and an included LED light enables businesses to remain open into the evening. Shopkeepers said this saved them up to $10/mo. in kerosene fuel for lighting. The ReadySet will cost around $200, enabling vendors to earn $40-$50 a month from phone charging.

Rene Meza, Managing Director, Vodacom Tanzania, said: “ReadySet is both a commercial opportunity and a simple technological solution aimed at significantly improving the lives of off-grid mobile customers and small business owners seeking an additional revenue stream. It provides off-grid consumers with a cost efficient and energy efficient solution – and increases access to mobile services such as M-Pesa.”

Mike Lin, CEO of Fenix International, said: “Fenix is delighted to partner with Vodacom to launch the ReadySet power system.  Vodacom has already transformed the lives of nine million people in Tanzania by providing unprecedented access to mobile communications and mobile banking via its M-Pesa network.  Whether an M-Pesa agent, small business or a mother looking to generate additional household income, the ReadySet can empower owners to become micro-utility entrepreneurs in their communities.” 

About Vodafone

Vodafone is one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies by revenue with approximately 403 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as of 31 December 2012. Vodafone currently has equity interests in over 30 countries across five continents and more than 50 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com.

About Vodacom Tanzania

Vodacom Tanzania Limited is Tanzania’s leading cellular network offering state-of-the-art GSM communication services to more than nine million customers across the country. Vodacom Tanzania is a subsidiary company of Vodacom Group Limited, South Africa which is also a subsidiary of Vodafone Group. Vodacom Group Limited owns a majority share portion of 65%, the remaining 35% is owned by Tanzanian shareholder, one Mirambo Ltd.

About Fenix International

Fenix International innovates ultra-affordable power generation and smart energy storage solutions to empower more than 1.3 billion people living off-grid. Fenix is a venture-backed corporation based in San Francisco, California with core expertise in power for mobile, product design and base-of-the-pyramid marketing. Fenix has been prominently featured in the New York Times, Wired, Fast Company and has won several awards and honours since it was founded in 2009. For more information, please visit http://www.fenixintl.com/