Rural Spark welcomes new investors and raises €300.000

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We're proud and glad to announce we've closed another investment round with several private investors to the tune of €300.000! This financial injection allows Rural Spark to start large-scale production of the new Rural Spark kit, available as from early 2016. These kits, the first batch of 10.000 of which will be available in 4 states, allow us to take our new solution to the market, providing access to energy for over 600k people in rural India while building the future-proof network of tomorrow.

We're happy to have these investors, with different backgrounds and experiences, on board. They are an invaluable asset to the capacities within the Rural Spark team.

On Thursday 10 September we met with almost all shareholders and the management team in Rotterdam, where we reviewed Rural Spark’s mission, its current status and our ambitions for the near future. In 2016 we will launch our new solution and start working with several new distribution and service channels while continuing our strategy of innovation. In new pilots, future solutions will be tested, researching social response to proposed solutions with a view to devising a distribution network. Multiple energy sources will be linked.


Second generation products are in progress and expected to be ready by May 2016!

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Rural Spark is on the brink of launching a solution on a larger scale; we have updated and industrialised our products. We expect to hit the market by May 2016.

Following multiple pilots in the state of Bihar in the past two years, (see Rural Spark already influencing) we gained unlimited insight into our clients’ energy requirements. Even though the products we piloted were only slightly smarter than the existing solar home systems, they were used in a different way and were in large demand – they suited the context and allowed local systems to emerge. Also, we knew the time was right to freeze our product specifications and start designing our first scalable product. The first product will be the Rural Spark Station with an innovative prepaid payment solution, together with smart modular battery packs called Spark Cubes. Unlike most stand-alone, temporary solutions, Rural Spark offers a reliable network-solution that can develop simultaneously with the development of the village. Read more on the product here.

From being a flexible start-up, trying to quickly implement innovative solutions, we needed to transform into a professional service provider. This required focusing on partnerships and hiring experienced product developers. After initial internal product development, we now co-operate with PRE, an experienced product development company, as our main partner in the design process. PRE has a young but experienced team and is motivated to work closely together with us and all our production partners in designing a high-quality, low cost product that fits the context and realises our goals in the field. In just one single month, the most critical aspects of the electronics and hardware have been prototyped and are currently being tested. We expect to launch the product in May 2016.

Meanwhile, Rural Spark has obviously not lost its dynamic and ambitious mindset required to build new models that make the old ones obsolete. This is only the beginning!


Review: Crowdfunding for Rural Spark not the success we hoped for

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As most of you know, Rural Spark joined Indiegogo last spring to raise money through crowdfunding. Although we put in a lot of effort, it proved difficult to reach significant numbers of the target audience required to reach our goals. We realised the only way to reach our crowdfunding goal was to go viral in social media, preferably in the US. Although it is picked up by several media, it’s hard to reach a tipping point where you really go viral. Even so, we managed to raise a total of $6,536,- which will definitely help us in developing our products; we used the money especially for further optimisation of the Rural Spark Cube. In addition to the money, we also attracted a lot of attention in the media.

We would like to thank everybody who supported us. The perks you selected are on the way or you may have received them already!

Influencing the lives of over 5,000 people, already today

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Although a massive role-out is yet to happen, Rural Spark currently serves as many as 64 active Local Energy Suppliers in Gaya (Bihar, India). Together these Local Energy Suppliers use 94 Rural Spark energy kits every day to charge over 1,100 lamps as well as many mobile phones, fans and radios. These products touch upon the lives of over 5,500 people each day.

Moreover, the Local Energy Suppliers earn an additional monthly income of INR 1,000 , which equals approximately 25% of an average monthly income. Also, it increases the development at the village level, turning these rural villagers into more resilient entrepreneurs. Together our Local Energy Suppliers charged 493,600 lamps and mobile phones; generating 34.83 kilowatts, saving 50,341 litres of kerosene and 1.31 tonnes of CO2. And that’s just the beginning.