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Eliminating the need for harmful and polluting fuels used around the world



Headquarters: Denver, CO
Established: 2010
Impact Areas: Over 120 countries
Type: For Profit
Energy Sectors:
  • Power source: Solar Power
  • Power use: Off-grid lighting and electricity
Business Model Types:
Staff Size: 10 full-time staff, 6 part-time
Annual Budget: $1.2M
Major Funders: Founder seed funding, private angel investments
Awards: 2011 Core 77 Design Award for Nokero N200

2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize finalist

2012 International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), World Design Impact Prize finalist


Nokero (short for No Kerosene) develops safe, affordable, environmentally-friendly solar based technologies that eliminate the need for harmful and polluting fuels used around the world.


Energy Products/Services

Target Market

  • Nokero does not sell directly to the end user, instead targeting high potential distributors in Haiti, Kenya, India, and nearly 120 other countries around the world.
  • Distributors include, for example, commerical partners (e.g. Eureka Forbes with 10,000 door-to-door salesmen in India, and The Hot Bread Bakery of 30 stores in Fiji) and focused non-profits pursuing market-based solutions (e.g. Earthspark International in Haiti, Solar Sister in Uganda, and ShelterBox worldwide).



Revenue Streams

  • Income stream from the retailer/distributor.
  • Sales of energy proucts.

Value Proposition

  • Nokero’s distributors earn healthy margins and access to dealer tool kits, which can help accelerate sales.
  • Using distributors supports jobs locally in developing countries.
  • Nokero products can also help provide security, income generation for owners, and education opportunities. They save end users a tremendous amount of money by removing daily lighting costs.

Problem Addressed

  • A quarter of humanity still obtains illumination via fuel-based lighting, usually kerosene.
  • Living with a kerosene lamp is like smoking 40 cigarettes a day. More than 1.8 million people a year die from complications arising from indoor air pollution.
  • Kerosene is also expensive, costing families who buy it roughly 5% of their income in some countries.
  • Families also spend a large portion of their income to charge their mobile devices.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • 400,000 products sold to 120 countries


  • 2010 Founded company on $60K of founder’s investment
  • 2010 Sustainable within 6 months of launch
  • 2011 Patents issued
  • 2012 Received $600K of angel investment

Growth Plan

  • 2013 1 million products sold, 3 large-scale distribution partnerships created
  • 2014 1.5 million products sold to date
  • 2015 2.5 million products sold to date

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing & Design

  • Nokero designs and contract manufactures all its own products.
  • All products are made in a high-quality factory, have their CE certification, and are built to last more than five years when properly cared for.
  • All Nokero products are patented. Team members take pride in their collaborative design and final products, as well as their ability to quickly and effectively respond to any hiccups.
  • To ensure that their products are meeting the needs of their target market, Nokero designers go out into the field, spend time with customers, and get feedback that is then used in the design of the next generation product.
  • Since so many products are sold through distributors, Nokero offers custom branding. For example, EarthSpark International sells Nokero lightbulbs that have been rebranded with EarthSpark’s color and logo.


  • Nokero sells its products directly through its website, largely to American campers and disaster recovery programs.
  • Nokero’s products are sold in over 120 countries through dealers and NGO partners, the list of which can be found on their website.
  • Dealers are given a volume price break, among other benefits. Candidates can apply online, and must have significant experience in relevant areas. Once chosen, Dealers are offered a “Business in a Box” kit to help them grow to reach more communities around the world.

Revenue & Affordability

  • On average, families pay about $1/liter for dirty, dangerous kerosene. This translates to an average of 5% of annual income.
  • Nokero solar light bulbs cost about 10-12 US dollars each. With proper design and distribution, Nokero believes that the target market can afford these.
  • Breakeven is about 90 days in Haiti and 15 days in Mexico .
  • Solar phone charging panels (assuming 14-20 charges a week) pay for themselves in three weeks. After only three weeks, these phone charging panels are an income generator for their owners.
  • The details of financing are left to Nokero’s carefully chosen distributors.


  • Nokero is funded by private investment and earned income from product sales.
  • Nokero was financially sustainable within six months of launch.


  • Nokero is working to accelerate the success of its distributors.
  • To do this, Nokero is looking to scale up its distributor partnering tactics, as well as add three new partnerships by the end of 2013.

Social Impact

  • Nokero measures its success in terms of number of products sold.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

650 Grant St.
Denver, CO 80203

( (303) 991-9871 x1