Tuck COVID-19 Information and Campus Updates


Jacques-Philippe Piverger

Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder, MPOWERD

It’s more than just a light, when people living in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia get Luci, it literally changes their lives in meaningful ways.

For back-to-the-landers and environmentalists, living “off the grid” is a philosophical choice to disconnect from traditional and dirty sources of electricity, such as coal or oil. But for the 1.5 billion who live in energy poverty, being off the grid means darkness, danger, inconvenience, and despair. These people make $2-3 dollars per day and spend roughly half that just for kerosene to power their lamps and stoves. It’s a crippling expense, in more ways than one. Kerosene is notorious for causing fires and health problems, and its high price precludes poor people from spending their money on other things, like food, health care, and education.

Jacques-Philippe Piverger T’07 has a one-word solution to this problem: Luci. It’s a low-cost, inflatable solarpowered lantern made by MPOWERD, the company he co-founded in 2012 with the mission to “eradicate energy poverty through solar justice.” The elegant, innovative LED light is waterproof and weighs just four ounces. It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery and can illuminate 10 square feet for six to 12 hours, depending on the setting. Luci also, according to Piverger, has a personality. “It’s more than just a light,” he says. “When people living in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia get Luci, it literally changes their lives in meaningful ways.”

Making an impact in the developing world is not a stretch for Piverger, who has spent most of his summers visiting relatives in Haiti. That Piverger chose to make his impact through a startup is also not a surprise. At Tuck, he was a research fellow at the Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship, where he studied developed-market distressed investing and private equity opportunities in South Africa. After Tuck, Piverger worked for AIG Asset Management and PineBridge Investments while simultaneously founding two nonprofits. Piverger has intertwined that background by registering MPOWERD as a benefit corporation, a new type of entity that can have a double bottom line—making a profit and serving a societal mission. “One doesn’t have to get in the way of the other; they complement each other,” he says.

MPOWERD has already produced and distributed more than 200,000 Luci lanterns in 50 countries, through wholesalers and non-governmental organizations. The light has also proven popular in the U.S., where people buy it for outdoor activities, in-home lighting, and for emergency preparedness. The company conducted a “Give Luci” campaign during the 2013 Christmas shopping season, where purchasers could choose to buy another Luci for someone in need. The campaign provided 1,800 lights to communities in Africa, the Amazon, and the Philippines, as well as to girls in a United Nations refugee camp in Kenya. “It’s really exciting to know we’re working on something that makes sense business-wise, but also has a tangible impact on people and families,” Piverger says.

Continue Reading

Related Stories

Why We Need More Women Entrepreneurs—And Investors

A conversation with venture capitalist Elizabeth Davis T’20, an investor with the Anthemis Group’s Female Innovators Lab.

Read More

Blair Crichton

Meet Blair Crichton T’18, co-founder of Karana, a new whole-plant based meat company launched in Singapore.

Read More

Meet Allobee Chief Strategy Officer Anne Forsyth English T’08

Allobee is connecting business owners nationwide to an underutilized workforce of experienced, professional women—a mission that deeply resonates with Chief Strategy Officer Anne Forsyth English T’08.


Read More

Meet Military Veteran and Fitfighter CEO Sarah Apgar T’11

A commitment to public service is a current that runs through T’11 Sarah Apgar’s career and education.

Read More

Laura Scott

At Wayfair, Tuck alumna Laura Scott completely transformed the company’s operations. Now she’s dipping her toes into the startup world with Takeoff Tech.

Read More

Juliet Horton

With Everly, Juliet Horton T’14 is changing how couples plan their wedding

Read More

How to Make a Successful Startup Pitch

In her seven years as a venture partner at LaunchCapital in Cambridge, Mass., Heather Onstott T’07 has heard about 1,000 pitches from startups.

Read More

Susan Hunt Stevens

In 2006 Susan Hunt Stevens T'98 started a blog as a "a guide to going green without going berserk." Years later the idea evolved into WeSpire, a platform that uses technology and social media to promote sustainable living.

Read More

Kinya Seto

CEO of Lixil Corporation Kinya Seto T'96 is leveraging his entrepreneurial smarts to tackle the global sanitation crisis.

Read More

Katrina Veerman

With PK Coffee in Stowe, Vermont, Katrina Veerman T’01 turned a passion into a livelihood.

Read More

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith T'07 chose Tuck first because he was looking for a beautiful environment where he could spend time thinking about how to maximize his impact on big challenges in the world.

Read More

Tracy Sun

Poshmark co-founder Tracy Sun T’05 turned her love of fashion and psychology into a leading mobile commerce app. Shopping will never be the same.

Read More

Gibson “Gib” Biddle

NerdWallet's Gib Biddle T'91 came to Tuck as a marketer, but then realized he was more of a builder.

Read More

Rohit Dugar

Former investment banker Rohit Dugar T'07 is transforming his beer-brewing hobby into Hong Kong's first craft brewery—and using his Tuck experience to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.

Read More

Jack O’Toole

For Jack O’Toole T’14, “building” and “contributing” are words to live by. As a Marine, he did both.

Read More

Roger McNamee

Investor. Philanthropist. Entrepreneur. Roger McNamee T’82 is all of these and more in a career that has taken him to the top of the tech world.

Read More

Barry Hume

After graduating from Tuck, Barry Hume T'95 joined PepsiCo’s Boston-area operations as finance director—a position that quickly provided the opportunity for advancement, but with a difficult choice to make.

Read More

Dennis Lasko

What's for dinner? Pantry, a new food retailer founded by Dennis Lasko T’08, has the answer.

Read More

Jeff Coleman

T’87 Jeff Coleman’s quest for better nutrition led him to a new, whole-food fuel for athletes and a surprising second act.

Read More

Louie Cheng

PureLiving China founder and CEO Louie Cheng T'03 is helping to improve indoor air quality in a country known for its pollution problems. 

Read More