CEO, Nuru Energy
Sameer Hajee is the Founder and CEO of Nuru Energy which launched in 2008 as a lighting and phone charging solution for the world’s poorest consumers. Nuru provides extremely low cost or free-to-consumer LED lamps, which can be charged at stations operated by a micro-entrepreneur within the community.
Sameer trained as an electrical engineer, and worked for the UN, Freeplay Energy and a number of other development-focused organisations before setting up Nuru. The company’s business model is a response to a misconception in energy access thinking, Sameer says.Though some households in the “base of pyramid” population can afford to invest in technology such as home solar systems, most can’t. “There’s market segmentation within the base of the pyramid that no one really appreciates,” Sameer says.
It’s important, he believes, to take official reports on income and spending in the base of pyramid consumer group with a pinch of salt. Nuru can track how often its lights are recharged, and has found that average energy use per household is much lower than World Bank estimates. “It’s a quarter of what’s in the development reports,” Sameer says.