In fact, he wasn’t really aware that one in five people across the globe don’t have access to reliable lighting. But after he developed his first N200 solar-powered light bulb, bringing clean and affordable lighting to the world became his passion.
“I was just looking at how I could distribute this new product,” he said.
When he found himself exploring Pakistan for market research six months after the release of the N200, he realized there was a need for a bigger, brighter bulb that could be used in medical clinics and schools.
That’s when he created the newly released N220 solar light bulb.
“This is a great innovation forward,” Katsaros said.
It’s a bigger and brighter LED bulb powered with a small SunPower panel that charges the light during the day and can last through most of the night.
While very bright, the bulb is still completely self-contained and small enough to fit in Katsaros’ hand.
He has sales teams on the ground in parts of the world where people need clean lighting sources like the N220 most. They’re in India and Africa and all over the world where people tend to rely on dirty, dangerous and expensive kerosene or candles for lighting.
Nokero has sold more than 340,000 solar light bulbs and solar battery chargers and portable charging stations since its creation, and the business is growing.
There are seven full-time employees in sales and business development in the company’s Denver office.
Nokero also sells the bulbs domestically for camping and outdoor lighting, but the primary market is the part of the world where the alternative lighting source is most needed.
In those areas, the bulb can pay for itself in 15 days to two months, depending on what fuel it’s replacing, Katsaros said.
He is a patent lawyer who went back to work at a firm after trying to market a motorized bicycle in the third world.
“I developed an affinity for products that will make life easier in those parts of the world,” he said.
The bicycle never took off, Katsaros said. He went back to work as an attorney, but toiled away at his new idea in the meantime.