Lumeter Networks, Inc.

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Overview

Enabling renewable energy partners to serve the rural poor profitably

 

 

Overview

Headquarters Berkley, CA USA
Established 2012
Impact Areas Global
Type For Profit
Energy Sectors
Business Model Types
Staff Size 3 full time, 5 contractors
Annual Budget $480,000
Major Funders Family Investment Fund, Angel Investors
Awards 2011: Echoing Green Semi-Finalist2012: Rockefeller Foundations’s Next Century Innovator’s Competition Semi-Finalist2013: Honorable Mention by William James Foundation

ABOUT

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Lumeter Networks has created a series of low-cost pre-paid electricity meters and a cloud based accounting platform that is sold to renewable energy providers to help them extend their reach to low-income communities in the developing world.

 

Energy Products/Services

  • Low-cost pre-paid electricity meters
  • SMS Cloud based accounting platform for energy providers

Target Market

  • As a B2B company, Lumeter’s primary customers are Renewable Energy Partners working off-grid in the developing world.They may be working with wind, solar, hydro, biomass, etc.
  • The end beneficiaries are the 1.4B people living without electricity at the Base of the Pyramid.

 

LUMETER NETWORKS

Revenue Streams

  • By partnering with renewable energy providers, Lumeter will have its devices installed in the households that are using the electricity.
  • Lumeter expects to receive about 10% of electricity payments made by the end users, with the 5% going to local agents and the rest going to the Renewable Energy Partner, netting the enterprise an estimated $10-12 per household per year.
  • Lumeter will generate the majority of its revenue from these small fees paid by the customers when they buy credits.

Value Proposition

  • Lumeter Network’s low-cost pre-paid electricity meters and cloud based accounting platform can be used by its partners and integrated into whatever type of energy they are producing as well as their business model, allowing them to reach new off-grid markets and bring electricity to those without it.
  • Lumeter’s products can help to reduce risk of investment for renewable energy partners by offering pay-as-you-go solutions for the end users.
  • This system, similar to the sale of prepaid mobile phone talk time, provides an opportunity for locals to become energy entrepreneurs.

Problem Addressed

  • 1.4 billion people lack access to electricity and must rely on unhealthy, dangerous, low quality, expensive alternatives such as kerosene.
  • Renewable energy companies find it difficult to access poor, mostly rural communities mainly because they do not have the capacity to effectively collect payments for electricity.
  • One of the major problems faced by institutions/businesses attempting to provide electricity in the developing world is illegal tapping or electricity theft, which discourages them from entering developing world markets.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • Lumeter has currently launched pilots on three different continents and has begun to take orders from renewable energy partners.

 

Milestones

  • 2012: Raised $190K including $50K from both co-founders
  • 2013: Completed a first iteration of the meter and cloud platform and integrated with Cellpower payment network
  • 2013: Field-trialed product in Peru, demonstrated the technology and raised first revenue
  • 2013: Started field trial in Zambia, revised the meter design based on this experience and began to manufacture the next version
  • 2013: Took an order for 77 meters from India

Growth Plan

  • 2013: 1,000 houses in 3 markets electrified
  • 2014: 62k houses electrified
  • 2015: 230k houses electrified
  • 2016: 506k houses electrified

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • Lumeter’s products are designed in concert with Meridian Design Inc., experts in frugal design and micro-controller circuitry.

Distribution

  • Lumeter works through renewable energy providers, who are local suppliers of distributed energy, such as Ilumexico, who service customers directly.
  • The simplicity of the meter coupled with the modularity and flexibility of the accounting platform allows Lumeter to adjust to a variety of business models employed by the renewable energy providers.
  • Lumeter is identifying its initial renewable energy providers through personal connections and the extensive networks that the developers and advisors have built in the field.

Affordability

  • Lumeter partners with renewable energy providers (B2B), allowing for meters to be sold to companies that have enough capital to invest in the low cost product.
  • Lumeter hopes to be able to produce the meters for as low as $8-$10 per unit, allowing them to remain affordable to even the poorest customers.

Financing

  • Lumeter expects to reach profitability after reaching approximately 100,000 customers, which will be the primary source of revenue.
  • Until then, the business will focus on garnering convertible debt and equity.
  • Lumeter also has alliances with microfinance banks, crowd funding platforms and impact investors.

Scaling

  • Most of the 1.4 billion people living without electricity reside in rural areas, which is Lumeter’s primary market.
  • Many global rural electrification programs, supported by grants from international organizations, consist of initiatives of 50,000 to 500,000 units. Lumeter’s partnering with just a few of these initiatives would allow them to become profitable.

SOCIAL IMPACT

  • Lumeter’s low cost meters and flexible, cloud-based accounting platform will allow renewable energy providers to access new rural customers that were previously thought to be a financial risk.
  • The product enables the energy providers to reliably track the cost of electricity and enables consumers to ay for electricity in a pay-as-you-go model such as that already used by many rural mobile phone subscribers.
  • This system also provides an opportunity for locals to become energy salespeople, selling electricity credit just as they would sell mobile talk time.
  • Bringing clean energy to the base of the pyramid will address a variety of social, economic, and health related issues that come from the use of kerosene and other fuel sources.
  • Lumeter pays special attention to creating tamper-proof products that reduce the risk for customers as well as energy providers.

 

Technology

Description

  • Meter Hardware:
    • The meter consists of a small, tamper-evident box containing electrical components as well as several indicator LEDs and terminals.
    • Power enters the meter from the street before going to devices such as lights. Cell phones can be charged directly from the USB port on the meter itself.
    • Credit codes are entered into the meter from an infrared remote controller.
    • Meters can operate on stand-alone power systems but are most useful when used on a mini-grid, allowing many meters to communicate with each other to combat energy theft and monitor usage.
  • Cloud based accounting server:
    • This server can be accessed from a web-browser, or more commonly, through SMS.
    • The server tracks customer payments, ensures routing of commissions, and manages lease payments.
    • The server is modular, making it versatile enough to be integrated into many different business models.
    • A sophisticated fraud detection system will be integrated into the server, which will monitor customers, agents, and the energy providers.

Cost Data

  • The target cost of manufacturing is $8 for the meters.

 Meter & Girl & First Purchased Token

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

info@lumeter.net

+1 424-242-5687