Little Sun, a Berlin-based company focused on providing sustainable lighting and power solutions to global communities with no access to electricity, has met with overwhelming success in its latest effort to crowd fund its latest product, a solar mobile phone charger.
The company launched its campaign on Kickstarter on September 2 with the 30-day goal of raising 50,000 ($55.795). In two days, Little Sun has received more than double that amount.
The Little Sun Charge mobile phone charger (which comes with built-in lamp) is the second collaboration between artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, the founders of Little Sun. The partners first product, the Little Sun solar powered lamp shaped like a sunflower, launched at the Tate Modern in 2012.
The Charge is aimed at helping people with no access to electricity as well as travellers, freelancers and outdoor enthusiasts. Using high-efficiency Sun Power solar cells and featuring an LED light and an optional stand, the charger will fully power a smart phone in about five hours in the sun. According to Little Sun, most other solar chargers currently take between eight and 20 hours.
Proceeds from sales will support solar entrepreneurship in Africa and tangibly change the lives of those living off-grid, who rely on their phones for their livelihoods and as their only means staying connected with the wider world, the company said.
As it did with its solar powered lamp, Little Sun is working with a number of partners in Africa, including Alight Zimbabwe — a community-based trust formed by young entrepreneurs who were sponsored by the NGO Plan International as children and now work as the distributors of Little Suns lamps in Zimbabwe.
Alight has told us directly how urgent the need is for people in their communities to have access to solar phone chargers, the company said. Little Sun is answering that need with Little Sun Charge.
Little Sun adds that the funding they receive directly impacts the lives of people living without access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly through the rewards we are offering in our campaign that will allow Alight Zimbabwe to scale their local distribution.
Last year the company received a $5 million impact investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which oversees the charitable activities of business magnate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to help the initiative reach its goal of providing clean energy to homes, schools and local businesses that lack grid connection, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
So far, the Little Sun lamp has brought light to hundreds of thousands of people, including more than 670,000 people living without access to the electrical grid.
Little Sun currently has distribution in more than 10 African countries, including Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Ghana, as well as in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and the United States.