Ref: IMD-7-2114

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2114

Order this case study


Angaza: A Silicon Valley journey

By Professor Vanina FarberVanina Farber and Shih-Han Huang

Angaza’s story is not a typical solar light story, but the story of a female social entrepreneur with a for-profit Silicon Valley mindset, transforming a social enterprise from a hardware to a software business model. It is about pivots, changing value propositions, new products and business models as Angaza evolves to escalate social impact while still making money.

Angaza began as a solar-light company founded in 2010 by Stanford graduate Lesley Silverthorn Marincola to address energy poverty in rural off-grid communities. In her quest to address affordability, Lesley realized that the main problem confronting rural off-grid communities was not the price of solar lights per se, but finding a way to spread payments over time.

In 2012, Angaza pivoted from being a solar-light producer to a software provider offering pay-as-you-go (PAYG) metering and monitoring technology to players in the solar-light ecosystem – manufacturers, distributors and mobile network operators. The PAYG technology allowed end consumers to buy solar-light products by paying small amounts over time, eventually owning them outright.

At the end of the case, students are confronted with a very real dilemma facing the founder and leadership team of many start-ups, including Angaza – what are the next opportunities for the company? Is it further scaling (if so, scaling up or deep), a pivot (into data), or an exit (sell the business)?

Learning Objective

  1. Identify features of business models used by a for-profit social business
  2. Analyze differences between the growth potential of hardware vs. software value propositions
  3. Recognize the growth tensions and dilemmas of a for-profit social business
  4. Identify key factors that enable a for-profit social business to scale
  5. Compare and contrast various growth strategies (scaling up, scaling deep, pivot value proposition and exit) and identify their inherent risks and opportunities
KeywordsSocial Innovation
SettingsAmerica, Global, Northern Africa, United States of America
Consumer Goods, Computers, Information Technology
2010-2019
TypeField Research
Copyright©2020
Related materialTeaching notes, video
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-2114

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre Babson College

Babson Park Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way Boston, MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Case Center Japan

2nd Floor, Toranomon Jitsugyokaikan,
1-1-20 Toranomon, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0001 Japan
Tel +81 3 3503 6621
Fax +81 3 3501 0550
Email [email protected]

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information, please contact IMD's Information Center Copyrights Services.

Contact our Knowledge Center for additional information on IMD publications

Keep reading

Back to top