IMPORTANT NOTE: high risk product - direct loan to solar power product distribution company. No local partner in between to cover risks.
Issuer: SunTransfer Kenya Investments Ltd
Amount: 100,000, senior debt
Maturity: 24 months, semi-annually and linearly amortizing
Interest rate: 6% p.a.
This is a direct loan to a company (rather than lending to a financial institution) and therefore it is recommendable that you are careful with the amount you will invest.
- Due diligence partners:
- Company Business Presentation (download here)
Registered in Aug/2009, SunTransfer Kenya (STKE) is a solar company in Kenya with a bold mission – transforming rural lives and livelihoods through off-grid solar. We are driven and inspired by the challenge of making quality solar energy accessible and affordable to over 6 million households or 70% of the off-grid households in Kenya, majority of whom are at the bottom of they pyramid (BOP). At the core of STKE innovation is designing, testing and scaling last-mile distribution models to deliver the twin goals of accessibility and affordbility of quality solar energy to the BOP in Kenya. We are energized by the difference we have made thus far, distributing over 50,000 solar lanterns and nearly 5,000 solar home systems, thereby transforming nearly 100,000 lives and livelihoods in some of the most rural and remote regions of Kenya. The great news is that this just the begining; STKE’s future is brighter and our promise even bigger.
Our bold mission is delivered through four key operational strategies:
- “full energy” service beyond kerosene displacement –STKE recognizes that the energy demands by the BOP go far beyond “kerosene displacement.” Just like the grid-connected middle-class, BOP h/holds and their micro-businesses require “full power” to enjoy quality lighting, entertainment, communication, refrigeration, and water pumping. Thus, our model enables BOP access “full power” from large solar systems (20-200Wp) combined with highly efficient DC appliances to deliver Tier 3 of energy services (800Wh/day). According to the UN/Sustainable Energy for All Framework, Tier 3 goes beyond lighting to deliver sufficient energy to run basic h/hold appliances e.g. radio, TV and tablet computer and also productive applications e.g. small fridge, a DC sewing machine, a DC grain mill or small water pump (120 gallons/hr).
- lease-to-own model via our “pay-as-you-go” mobile payment platform known as M-SOLAR. By enabling the BOP to pay and own quality solar systems via small instalments (e.g. €0.5 per day or €15/month), our M-SOLAR solution removes the major upfront-cost barrier faced by the BOP. Further, our “lease-to-own” model coverts energy expenditure into an asset purchase (solar system) and also transforms the BOP from consumers of costly and polluting fuels (e.g. kerosene) into a ready mass market for clean energy, thus accelerating transition to more sustainable societies. Micro-payments are delivered via mobile phones, making our "lease-to-own" solution highly accessible, cost-effective and scalable to the large BOP market (6 million h/holds).
- building a rural network of solar centers (SCs) equipped with well-trained solar technicians offering the much-needed technical knowhow and after-sale service.
- local assembly and “green jobs” – STKE invests heavily in technology and skills transfer by recruiting and training an army of solar technicians, including girls, to guarantee quality installations while creating the much-needed "green jobs" and development impacts in the rural areas.
The project (Part II of II)
Investing in STKE at this stage is crucial and timely because the critical systems and processes of our business model are in place, well-aligned and ready to scale. Over the past 2 years, STKE has registered phenomenal growth and demonstrated significant market traction and revenue promise – in 2016, total sales revenue reached nearly USD 1 Mio and in 2017 we project to grow by 30% to hit USD 1,3 Mio. Our rural network of SCs has grown to 13 and our sales revenue has averaged USD 100k/month. We aim to deliver USD 120-140k/month by Q4/2017.
Our current HR capacity stands at 75 staff, with a high field deployment ratio of 1:4 i.e. only 1 staff in Head Office (Nairobi) for every 4 staff in the field where the key KPIs of sales and customer service are delivered. Moreover, in 2016 we invested heavily in developing and rolling-out our IMS solution known as SIMS (SunTransfer Information Management System) which now integrates 4 key modules: a) Financial management and reporting; b) Credit management; c) Inventory Management and d) HR management. SIMS is now fully integrated with Safaricom/Mpesa mobile payment platform, making it possible for clients to make all payments via mobile phone and to receive credit codes (or tokens), payments reminders and transaction statements automatically via the short-test service (SMS).
We invite you to invest in STKE again because a second loan of EUR 100K will make a critical difference in the following four ways: 1) import another 40-foot container full of 750 different types of solar systems – 250 solar home systems and 500 solar lanterns; 2) expand our product range to include innovative solar solutions such as fishing lights, barber shaving kits and phone charging kits to power rural businesses, thus transform lives and livelihoods; 3) expand the credit period from the current 18 months to 24 months to match the LAH loan maturity cycle, thus contribute to the achievement our key goal of affordability to the BOP; 4) expand our network into Western and Nyanza regions, two areas which command roughly 50% of the potential off-grid solar market in Kenya due to the relatively high population density and low-grid penetration.
- Education and health
Over 90% of rural households in Kenya still rely on kerosene for lighting. This particularly harmful for young children and deny them the opportunity for using a bright and clean solar light for evening study. Below is Kirubi, CEO STKE, marketing a solar lantern to parents, teachers and pupils in in Nasigel primary school in Kenya. The LAH loan will import about 500 units of such solar lanterns, thus impact the lives of 500 households or 2,500 pupils assuming 5 kids/household.
- Solar pumps to improve food security and adaptation to climate change
To appreciate this impact, meet Lillian Ogindi, a 27 years old single mother working hard to make a living from small-scale farming in Western Kenya. For most of her life, Lilian’s small-scale farming has been labour-intensive, using buckets to irrigate two acres of her four-and-a-half-acre farm. Before she got our solar pump, Lilian was hiring three people twice a week to do the work and watering on the farm. The costs added up to 1,200 KES ($12) a week. But, in her testimony, acquiring a solar pump and two sprinklers has indeed transformed her live. “First of all, I save 1,200 KES ($12) per week because the pump is portable and I don’t need to hire any labor,” a relaxed Lilian notes with a smile on her face. Additionally, Lilian hopes to earn roughly Usd100 per month from growing and selling green vegetables in the local market and hotels. Lilian’s story offer compelling testimony to the huge socio-economic impact solar pumps can make not just in improving food security but also in adapting to climate change in rural Kenya.
- Creation of 150 green jobs
This will be achieved by recruiting and training at least 10 Sales Agent per SC x 15 SCs. Majority of the Agents will be women and youth from the local villages, which is another very effective strategy of leveraging off-grid solar to transform lives and livelihoods in rural Kenya
Description of Vision & Mission:
STKE vision is making quality solar energy accessible and affordable to every household and small business in rural Kenya. Our bold mission is transforming lives and livelihoods through the deployment of quality solar products and services. Our innovation frontier is at two levels: a) last-mile distribution channels and b) affordability - based on pay-as-you-go mobile-phone based platforms. The vision is making buying solar as simple and affordable as sending an SMS!
For example, unlike many other PAYGO solutions in the market, our PAYGO system (M-SOLAR) does not use a simcard making it ideal for the vast regions of rural Kenya with poor mobile and internet network coverage. Instead, our clients receive via their mobile phones a simple 4-digit CODE which they easily load on their solar systems using a simple keypad. The code unlocks the system for the duration corresponding to the payment made typically one month. While simcard based solutions permit real-time control and monitoring, field experience shows that they pose high and frequent risks of poor connectivity and down-times in regions with poor mobile network where majority of our core BOP market lives.
Gathu Kirubi (founder & CEO)
Kirubi is a self-made solar energy entrepreneur, a strategic thinker and a team builder. He brings over 15 years of deep passion and proven business acumen in creating and implementing innovative business models for delivering off-grid solar solutions to communities and micro-enterprises in rural Kenya. In 2001, was the Program Manager for the Renewable Energy Technology Assistance Programme (RETAP), a UNDP funded NGO, where he established and managed a US$1 million microfinance scheme to finance improved cookstoves for rural schools and SMEs in East Africa. In 2001, he won the prestigious Ashden Awards (UK) for his innovation and leadership in energy access for the BOP in Africa. In 2004, Kirubi won yet another prestigious e8 global scholarship Award to the University of California, Berkeley where he earned both an MSc and PhD in Energy and Development.
Bernard Kinyanjui (Operations Manager)
Bernard is a dynamic and resourceful team leader, with a knack for mentoring and motivating diverse teams to deliver results. He brings over 10 years of relevant experience in credit and micro-finance having worked as a Credit Officer and Branch Manager in Faulu Kenya Deposit Taking Microfinance. Bernard served as the Operations Manager (2013-2014) for Nuru East Africa, an off-grid Solar Company, and also as Project Manager in charge of Youth Enterprise at the County Government of Kiambu, Kenya. In addition to developing and deploying a diverse range of sales growth channels at STKE, Bernard has been instrumental in expanding the network of Solar Centers across Kenya. Bernard holds a BA (HRM) and is also a Certified Public Secretary (K) and an Associate Member of theInstitute of Human Resource Management (Kenya)
Jotham Maina (Finance Manager)
Jotham is a young and focused finance professional with strong analytical skills in financial management and accounting. Jotham’s career started as an Internal Auditor at White Rose Dry Cleaners Ltd (2010-12), where he developed keen professional interest and skills in internal financial controls and tracking compliance with a wide range of statutory obligations. With over six years experience in Finance and Accounting, Jotham has demonstrated competence in the critical roles of financial analysis, planning and reporting. In 2015, Jotham received strong commendation from AECF, one of our investors, for both prudent financial management and timely compliance with relevant reporting protocols. Jotham holds a B.Com (Finance) and is also a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya
Michael Kimani (Credit Manager)
Michael an astute Credit Manager, with over 10 years solid experience and strong credentials in credit management. Prior to joining STKE, Michael worked at Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT, a leading Micro-Finance Bank in Kenya, where he rose through the ranks from a Credit Officer to Branch Manager. His core competence includes credit appraisal and risk assessment which are central and critical for our end-user credit model for off-grid solar. Michael holds a Diploma in Business Administration.
Ben Kimathi (Training and Marketing Manager)
Ben is a critical thinker and a skilled marketer. He joined STKE in May/2011 as a junior marketing officer and one year later he was promoted to a Solar Center Manager, thanks to his charisma, flare for marketing and stamina to take on new challenges. Ben’s resourcefulness and networking skills have been instrumental in developing and testing different marketing strategies, forging new partnerships, and growing the network of our Solar Centers in rural Kenya. Prior to joining STKE, Ben worked as Team Leader at the Sustainable Africa Youth Foundation and also as Customer Service Assistant at Equity Bank. Ben holds a BSc (Environmental Sciences) and is pursuing MSc in the same field.
STKE has won the following highly competitive Awards:
- In 2012 –the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)
- In 2014 – up-scaling Award from DEG of Germany (Deutsche Investitions- Und Entwicklungsgesellschaft Mbh)
- In 2014 – Energy Access Award known as “Sustainable Energy Services Africa -SESA” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Government
- In 2017 - Low-Cost Housing Challenge Award from the Habitat for Humanity, Atlanta, USA.