Vortman is the CEO and co-founder of Lumos. He spoke in an interview during a recent national rollout of its portable, affordable, easy to install solar power home systems (SHS) in partnership with MTN in Nigeria, of the capacity of Lumos’ ‘yellow box’, suggesting that they could send merchants of ‘I pass my neighbour’ generators and their complementary petrol packing from Nigeria. Excerpts.
How did you come to terms with investing in Nigeria?
Three years ago, we looked at the market and we said, ‘how come people are paying so much for using generators and they are getting so much less?’ we thought that with solar power, we can give them a much better service for a much lower cost.
This was the innovation we started with, we developed a technology that can really provide 24/7 electricity for a cost which is 1/20 of generator and so for just N4500 a month, people can get 24/7 power and they can charge their phones, have light for the whole night, they can run a fan, they can run a TV and they can run a laptop the same time every day.
You’ve being in the East Africa market which is smaller to Nigeria, how do you intend to pivot?
Nigeria wants more, and want to do more compared to East Africa. They want more power, they want bigger TVs, they want more laptops and they want more phone charging. We need to build a product and that is what we did. And this is fit for the Nigerian market and if you compare it to the east Africa market, it is bigger, and really a replacement for a generator and not for small light or two hours of phone charging. It really changes lives and gives better living
“It is really a replacement for a generator and not for small light or two hours of phone charging. It really changes lives and gives better living.”
Do you see challenges playing in the Nigerian market?
Unlike generators or other solar products, we are not a one-time transaction. We are selling a service for five years and we guarantee that it will work for you and so we are not going away. You can call us, we have a call centre together with MTN.
We provide full service, if anyone has a problem, they can call us and we will fix it. This is real different from when you buy a generator or when you buy a solar product in the market, there is no one to talk to, but we want to be your family and provide you electricity.
After five years, what will be your business relationship with previous customers?
We see this as a long-term relationship with customers very much like the telcos. Maybe a customer wants a bigger system, then we can offer you a bigger system or more products we can offer in the future. The yellow box is a concept that changes lives.