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Reference no. IMD-7-2114
New product
Published by:
IMD (2020)
Revision date:
25 pages
Data source:
Field research


Angaza's story is not a typical solar light story, but the story of a female social entrepreneur with a for-profit Silicon Valley mindset, transforming a social enterprise from a hardware to a software business model. It is about pivots, changing value propositions, new products and business models as Angaza evolves to escalate social impact while still making money. Angaza began as a solar-light company founded in 2010 by Stanford graduate Lesley Silverthorn Marincola to address energy poverty in rural off-grid communities. In her quest to address affordability, Lesley realized that the main problem confronting rural off-grid communities was not the price of solar lights per se, but finding a way to spread payments over time. In 2012, Angaza pivoted from being a solar-light producer to a software provider offering pay-as-you-go (PAYG) metering and monitoring technology to players in the solar-light ecosystem - manufacturers, distributors and mobile network operators. The PAYG technology allowed end consumers to buy solar-light products by paying small amounts over time, eventually owning them outright. At the end of the case, students are confronted with a very real dilemma facing the founder and leadership team of many start-ups, including Angaza - what are the next opportunities for the company? Is it further scaling (if so, scaling up or deep), a pivot (into data), or an exit (sell the business)?


Sustainability; Social innovation; Pivoting; Entrepreneurship; Payment system; Energy; Poverty; Solar energy; Silicon Valley; Software as a service


The events covered by this item took place in 2010-2019.

Geographical setting

United States; Kenya

Featured company

Company name:
Computers; Information Technology

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