Interview: Ned Tozen, D.Light

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm started in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Since 2004, the firm has invested close to $500 million in both non-profit and for profit ventures, all of which have a stated mission to catalyze social, economic, and political change. We’ve written about many of the companies that Omidyar has helped start over the years – Ashoka, Mango,, CouchSurfing, and D.light just to name a few.

D.Light is a company we’ve covered more than a few times here on 3p.  In a nutshell, the company makes inexpensive, durable solar lighting designed for sale in poor off-grid communities around the world.   Their product sounds like an easy sell.   It lasts a long time, it’s clean, and most importantly pays for itself in a matter of months by eliminating much of the need to make monthly kerosene purchases.

For the most part, the products are indeed selling well – over 7 million so far.  But education, fear of upfront costs and other challenges remain. I sat down with co-founder Ned Tozen for a few minutes to talk about these challenges and the way D.Light is succeeding from a financial and social perspective:

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

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