MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--When starting a business, it's important to create a product that solves a problem. A small start-up is tackling a big dilemma: 2 billion people in the world don't have access to electricity.
Here at Launch: Silicon Valley at the Microsoft campus, 30 start-ups are pitching social-media products or software as a service. D.light Design is thinking a bit more globally.
D.light Design was born out of a Stanford University class project, and it currently has five employees. Chief Executive Sam Goldman spent four years in the Peace Corps in West Africa, where he says he lived with a family that used kerosene lamps to light its home after sundown. Goldman discovered firsthand that not only are the lamps dangerous--one of the children was permanently disfigured in a kerosene fire--they're an investment, requiring up to 30 percent of the family's income.
The result of Goldman's experience is the Forever-Bright, a prototype light-emitting diode (LED)-based device that he showed off to investors and media at SVASE.
The product is a small, white box that doubles as a light and power source. D.light says the final product will last five years and is chargeable off any power source, including solar power, 110- or 220-volt grids, and diesel generators. There will be power jacks in the back for powering other devices, such as cell phones. The Forever-Bright will launch in parts of India and Pakistan next month, Goldman said.