Featured In

 

To request an interview, press materials, or a speaking engagement, please email press@fenixintl.com.

Latest News

Fenix awarded GSMA’s MECS grant to scale ultra-affordable “pay-to-own” energy solution across Uganda

Fenix International has been awarded a Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) Market Validation grant by the GSMA to launch ReadyPay, an ultra-affordable “pay-to-own” solar energy solution, in Uganda.

The award programme, designed to help improve access to basic energy and water services in underserved communities, will enable Fenix to roll out ReadyPay nationwide offering clean, affordable solar energy to over 30 million Ugandans who live without power on a daily basis.

The ReadyPay Power System will be available through MTN—Africa’s largest telecom—on a pay-to-own basis through MTN Mobile Money. With ReadyPay, customers can make affordable and flexible payments for electricity on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to charge phones and power lights, radios and TVs.

Starting from 40,000 UGX ($16), a customer can a take a ReadyPay kit home with 7 days of free power included. Additional days can be purchased via MTN Mobile Money for as low as 1,000 UGX ($0.39 per day). These Mobile Money payments are credited towards the customer owning the solar kit over time, while powering their homes or businesses.

Mike Lin, CEO of Fenix International, said: “We are honoured to receive this MECS award. Following a successful ReadyPay pilot, this MECS grant provides vital funding for Fenix to validate and scale ReadyPay across Uganda.”

Fenix International first began developing energy products with MTN in Uganda in 2009. ReadyPay builds on the success of Fenix’s first product, the ReadySet, a plug-and-play solar charging system that Fenix designed to empower entrepreneurs to charge phones and lights at kiosks in communities without electricity.

ReadyPay is a multifunctional solar power system that includes a solar panel, smart battery featuring two USB ports & two car lighter adapter ports, and a range of lights and phone charging accessories. Larger kits include a radio or TV.

This project is receiving funding from the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, Inc. (GSMA Foundation), which, in turn, received its funding by UK aid from the UK Government. The views expressed are not necessarily those of GSMA Foundation or the UK Government.

About Fenix International
Founded in 2009, Fenix International is a venture-backed renewable energy company with offices in East Africa and Silicon Valley. With core expertise in power electronics, product design and base-of-the-pyramid marketing, Fenix’s mission is to deliver quality of life to the 1.3 billion people who live without power in emerging markets. www.fenixintl.com

About MTN Uganda 
Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As of 30 September 2013, MTN Uganda recorded 8.4 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug and for our football fans www.mtnfootball.com. Customers can also follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and www.twitter.com/mtnugandacare for assistance.

About the MECS Innovation Fund
Mobile Enabled Community Services, MECS for short, encompasses any energy and water service provided to a community which includes a mobile component, whether it is voice, SMS, USSD, Machine2Machine, NFC, a mobile operator’s agent network or tower infrastructure. The MECS Programme aims to seize the opportunity, leveraging mobile technology and infrastructure to enhance access to affordable and reliable energy and clean water in underserved communities.

Established with the support of the UK Government the MECS Innovation Fund will provide up to £2.4M in grants. The specific objectives of the Innovation fund are to:

  • Accelerate efforts using mobile technology to enable improved or increased access to water or energy services for underserved communities
  • Identify innovative business models that can support mobile innovations for energy and water services
  • Generate knowledge about the application of mobile enabled services which can be shared with the development community and mobile industry
  • Stimulate productive partnerships between mobile operators/tower companies and energy provides, water providers, NGOs, entrepreneurs and academics to achieve these objectives at scale

http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/programmes/mobile-enabled-community-services/innovation-fund

For more information, please contact Fenix International:

Uganda:
Chris Bagnall
Marketing Director, East Africa
m:+256 (0)785 085 115
cbagnall@fenixintl.com

United States:
Peter Glenn
Business Development Director
m: +1 415 742 1649
pglenn@fenixintl.com

Imagery:
Imagery provided separately. High resolution images can be requested by emailing press@fenixintl.com.

Fenix and MTN launch ReadyPay, pay-as-you-go solar power in Africa

In a bid to improve energy and telecommunications access for the 1.3 billion people in emerging markets without electricity, San Francisco startup Fenix International has launched ReadyPay, an ultra-affordable “pay-as-you-go” energy solution.

MTNReadyPayLaunched with MTN—Africa’s largest telecom— Mike Lin, CEO of Fenix International, said: “Fenix is delighted to build on our 4 year partnership with MTN to launch the ReadyPay Solar Power System. ReadyPay will bring clean, reliable solar energy to the 30 million Ugandans without access to electricity. The rapid growth and adoption of Mobile Money enables us to make energy even more affordable with flexible payments to match our customers’ needs. 

The ReadyPay Power System is available on a pay-as-you-go basis using MTN Mobile Money, a payment platform that allows mobile subscribers to send and receive money via their cell phones.  ReadyPay enables customers to make affordable and flexible payments for electricity on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to charge their phones and power lights, radios and TVs.

Starting from 40,000 Uganda Shillings (less than $16), a customer can a take a ReadyPay kit home with 7 days of power included. Additional days can be purchased via micropayments as low as 1,000 Uganda Shillings ($0.39).  Micropayments are credited towards the customer owning the solar kit over time, while powering their homes or businesses.

“For example, on the most affordable kit, a payment of 1,000 Uganda Shillings will provide power for a day, whilst a larger payment of 30,000 Uganda Shillings will provide power for a month”, said MTN Chief Marketing Officer Ernst Fonternel. “This is all thanks to MTN Mobile Money which means customers can make small, affordable payments until they own the system.”

Fonternel added that the product was launched in Lira on 18 November 2013 with great success and is set to roll out across Uganda early next year.

Talking about the key benefits of the product, Fonternel said: “The ReadyPay Power System provides bright, safe, reliable lighting without the risk of using kerosene lamps, and secure phone charging without leaving your own home. It’s easy to set-up, no technician is needed, and comes with an 18 month warranty.”

Fenix International first began developing energy products with MTN in Uganda in 2009.  ReadyPay builds on the success of Fenix’s first product, the ReadySet, a plug-and-play solar charging system that Fenix designed to empower entrepreneurs to charge phones and lights at kiosks in communities without electricity.

ReadyPay is a multifunctional solar power system that includes a solar panel, smart battery featuring two USB ports & two car lighter adapter ports plus a range of lights and phone charging accessories. Larger kits include a radio or TV.  Additional accessories like hair clippers or flashlights are sold separately.

 

About Fenix International
Founded in 2009, Fenix International is a venture-backed renewable energy company based in San Francisco, California.  With core expertise in power electronics, product design and base-of-the-pyramid marketing, Fenix’s mission is to deliver renewable energy to the 1.3 billion people who live without power in emerging markets.  www.fenixintl.com

 

About MTN Uganda
Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As of 30 September 2013, MTN Uganda recorded 8.4 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug and for our football fans www.mtnfootball.com. Customers can also follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and www.twitter.com/mtnugandacare for assistance.


About the MTN Group
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 30 September 2013, MTN recorded 203.8 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at www.mtn.com.

For more information, please contact Fenix International:

Uganda:
Chris Bagnall
Marketing Director, East Africa
cbagnall@fenixintl.com

United States:
Peter Glenn
Business Development Director
pglenn@fenixintl.com

Imagery:
Imagery provided separately. High resolution images can be requested by emailing press@fenixintl.com.

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/