Profile: Vishnu Raghunathan, Lytyfy – Winner, India

Sunday July 2nd, 2017 - Smart Villages

What is your off-grid energy business? Can you give a brief overview? How long have you been working on this business?

Lytyfy addresses the twin issues of last mile service delivery of off grid products and end user financing. We believe that these are the two main factors that prevent adoption of off grid energy in energy deprived remote areas. We have been working for almost 2 years.

What inspired you to start working in off-grid energy?  Are there any key people who inspired you to work in this area?

I had started my career by working in rural areas of India. Having lived in a city I could never imagine the harsh reality that I was facing. The things that I took for granted in a city were never present and yet the villagers were happy with their lives. They never complained about anything. This attitude of villagers towards life motivated me to start working in this space.

Have you lived in a off-grid community?  What is something you want people with reliable energy to know about growing up off-grid?

I have lived in a off grid environment for more than 3 years. The access to reliable and affordable energy opens up myriads of opportunities for communities. Small children living in off grid communities generally study under a kerosene lantern in the night. Living and studying under poor lighting conditions also takes a psychological toll on them   

What are the main things you have learned while working as an entrepreneur in off-grid energy? Your biggest success and biggest failure? Key epiphanies or turning points?

Our target customers belong to low and middle income segment. They are still willing to pay a premium for products and services as they understand the value that it adds. The first sale that we concluded gave us a lot of confidence.

What has surprised you most about working as an off-grid energy entrepreneur?

The importance of end user financing in enhancing off grid energy access. End user financing and off grid energy should not be treated as two separate domains rather an integrated approach will be very helpful.

What has been most difficult/most rewarding?

Our customers generally do not expect service for the products that they purchase. We had started providing free doorstep service and now we are happy to see that our customers have become quality conscious and demand the same for other products that they buy.

If you could share some wisdom with yourself 3 years ago, what would it be?  

Do not worry, Just keep going. Persist with the problem, it will lead you to the solution.

Where do you hope to be 3 years from now?

Three years from now, we hope to impact 1 million lives