+ 1.1 What is VIA’s official name and jurisdiction for proposed borrowing? Are there any guarantors?
Village Infrastructure Angels Ltd, registered in the United Kingdom. VIA has a $1 Million risk guarantee provided by USAID’s Powering Agriculture.
+ 1.2 What is VIA's elevator pitch?
VIA is working to bring basic infrastructure to the most remote of off-grid communities. This infrastructure includes modern lighting, mobile phone charging and other household energy uses, as well as agro-processing. Renewable energy is key to all of VIA's work and this currently includes both solar and hydroelectric modes of energy generation.
+ 1.3 What is unique about VIA?
VIA operates at the intersection of GIS consulting, renewable energy products designed for off-grid communities, and pay-as-you-go financing. Each part of this equation is critical to the success of VIA's projects and no one else is currently working in this space.
+ 1.4 What big problem does VIA solve?
Problem 1 - households without electricity must spend around 1 hour per day manually processing their crops, reducing the time that can be spent on more productive activities. Problem 2 - households without electricity have to travel 2-20 km to a nearby diesel or grid-powered mill 1-2 times per month to have their crops processed, which costs approximately $1 per 25-50 kg bag for processing but also up to $1 per bag for travel. Hence, small villages that do not have a mill may spend up to 100% more on agro-processing than households in large villages. Problem 3 - households lack other services electricity can provide, such as clean and safe lighting (kerosene lamps are often used) and access to communications.
+ 1.5 Where are you headquartered?
VIA is registered in the United Kingdom but is currently operating mainly out of Vanuatu
+ 1.6 How big can VIA get?
+ 1.7 May we see the executive summary of your business plan?
+ 2.1 What is the expected ROI of a typical project?
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+ 2.2 What is the expected SROI of a typical project?
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+ 2.3 What is VIA’s growth potential?
+ 2.4 How big is the market opportunity?
+ 2.5 What does VIA have to offer as collateral?
VIA has a $1 Million risk guarantee provided by USAID’s Powering Agriculture, as well as _ worth of equipment in the field in Vanuatu and Indonesia.
+ 3.1 Who are the founders and key team members?
Please see our “Who We Are” page.
+ 3.2 Why is this team uniquely capable to execute VIA’s business plan?
+ 3.3 What motivates the founders?
+ 3.4 How many employees does VIA have?
+ 3.5 May we have copies of passports/national IDs of Management?
We are happy to share this with you but since it is sensitive information, please email email@example.com to request the materials you need.
4. Business Operations
+ 4.1 How does VIA plan to scale in the next 12 months?
+ 4.2 Please describe some of the risks.
|Description||Type||Probability||Risk Management Actions|
|Default by community members during lending period||Financial||Medium||Households that default will have systems repossessed, and redistributed to other households. Repeating this cycle will, within 1 year, weed out most defaulting households. “Smart Grid” payment systems will be put in place to enable a pay-as-you-go service model to be used such that systems switch off if payment has not been made, and which mimic existing payment habits for mobile phone recharges.|
|Product failure||Technology||Low||Products used for projects have been used for many years in multiple countries, with lighting system and phone charging components generally certified by Lighting Africa/Global or equivalent. Solar agro-processing machines will have been run in laboratory situations for the equivalent of 5 years of 1 hour/day operation (2000 hours) before release to the field, to further improve the reliability of the DC motors and other weak points that may occur (such tests have not been affordable yet to date, but field operation to date has been satisfactory). Similar quality testing can be undertaken for additional equipment components.|
|Solar mills are not socially / culturally appropriate||Social||Low||To date, field feedback has indicated that women are far more interested in operating a solar-powered agro-processing mill than a diesel-powered mill, due to the perception that they are simpler to operate due to their smaller size (200-100W instead of 2000-3000W) and highly reduced maintenance requirements. Test runs of example mills during the first 6 months will check that flour fineness and grating outcomes are sufficient and as good as traditional techniques. It is expected that women will benefit from the technologies more than men.|
|Lending capital is not raised from Kiva/other crowdfunders as modelled||Financial||Medium||While on-going projects have been fully funded in 4 hours, it is possible that some or all of the anticipated fundraising of 3-5 year loans for projects is not successful. In this case, and assuming other non-crowd debt funds are not secured, the worst case scenario is that Construction Investors and other mobilized grants would remain as the funding source for the assets for the long term, at approximately a 50/50 share. Construction Investors will be made well aware of the risk that refinancing may not be 100% successful. The $1 million risk guarantee from Powering Agriculture also helps protect investor capital, and be used for long-term lending if needed|
+ 4.3 Are there any contractor/energy/other national/department licenses required for VIA to operate?
+ 5.1 What have you learned from early installations and implementation?
+ 5.2 Can we see a product demo?
+ 5.3 What makes the products that VIA uses different?
6. Sales & Marketing
+ 6.1 Who is the competition for VIA?
+ 6.2 What is VIA’s competitive advantage?
+ 6.3 What are the barriers to entry?
+ 6.4 How does VIA find customers?
Once VIA is linked with a local partner in a country, the team uses GIS satellite technology to identify off-grid communities that are also far from agro-milling facilities. The team will then visit the chosen communities and present the products and financing opportunities. Each community is given the chance to opt in and decide which milling facilities they will need.
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