DIV SOCAP Spotlight: Jonathan Cedar & Ethan Kay, BioLite
BioLite develops and manufactures clean, affordable energy systems for off-grid communities around the world. BioLite has designed the HomeStove, an ultra-clean, wood-burning cookstove, specifically for cooks in emerging markets. The HomeStove cuts toxic smoke emissions by 90%, reduces fuel consumption by 50%, and delivers on-demand electricity to recharge mobile phones and provide an evening’s worth of light. With generous support from the USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) Program, BioLite is retailing 4,600 stoves through the village agent network of a leading solar lantern distributor in Orissa, India. Through this pilot, we are gathering reliable customer data and testing a range of sales, marketing, and finance innovations before beginning to scale.
Jonathan Cedar is CEO and co-founder of BioLite. BioLite’s first products are wood-burning stoves that reduce toxic smoke emissions by 90% while generating electricity to charge cell phones and LED lights. BioLite follows a model of “parallel innovation” in which it funds the one-time market establishment costs for its emerging markets by reinvesting revenue from product sales in US and European recreation markets. In 2011, Business Week named Jonathan one America’s Top Social Entrepreneurs, and together with BioLite has won the 2012 Tech Awards, 2012 Fast Company Innovation By Design Award, and 2011 St. Andrews Prize for the Environment. Before starting BioLite, Jonathan was a Senior Design Engineer at Smart Design, a New York based product development consultancy, where he led teams that created consumer durable products ranging from housewares to biomedical devices. Jonathan holds a BA in engineering and environmental science from Dartmouth College.
Ethan Kay is Managing Director of Emerging Markets of BioLite. Ethan leads commercialization of the BioLite HomeStove in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2005, Ethan has designed and launched ‘Base of the Pyramid’ ventures, with a particular focus on retailing clean cookstoves. Ethan’s Ph.D dissertation at the University of Oxford examined how to structure and scale cookstove models in India. He is Lead Technical Advisor on the World Bank’s ‘Global State of the Cookstove Sector’ report (forthcoming). He holds a Ph.D in Management Studies from Oxford, where he was a Fulbright Scholar and Sauvé Scholar, an M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford, and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.
Learn more about BioLite here.