Anish Thakkar

2016 Young Alumni Achievement Award

For co-founding and growing Greenlight Planet, which is bringing light to millions in developing countries

Anish Thakkar
BSEE ‘07
Co-Founder and Director
Greenlight Planet Inc.
Washington DC

Anish co-founded Greenlight Planet with Patrick Walsh in 2007 and has been on the ground in India and East Africa building Greenlight’s go-to-market operations for the last eight years. Greenlight Planet makes low-cost solar-powered energy devices for the 1.5 billion off-grid villagers who use dirty, dangerous kerosene lanterns for light. In seven years, the organization has brought safe solar lighting to 6 million off-grid families in 40 countries and adds 5,000 new homes each day. Greenlight’s products were recognized as “the best solar lamp” in the Economist and the organization was awarded the prestigious Ashden Award in 2016 for its success in bringing sustainable energy to the world’s underserved families.

Anish was elected CEO in 2012, overseeing Greenlight’s growth from an early stage organization to a profitable, development-focused business with sales and operations in 40 countries in Asia and Africa. Today he serves on Greenlight Planet’s board and in an executive capacity, focused on fundraising and go-to-market strategy for new businesses. Prior to joining Greenlight, Anish worked as a management consultant with ZS Associates, the world’s largest sales and marketing consultancy.

Anish received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2007 from ECE ILLINOIS. As a student, Anish founded the Illini 4000 for Cancer, a charity which has raised over $600K for cancer causes in its first nine years. Anish resides in Washington DC with his wife, Bethany, and one year old son, Arthur.

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Audrey LeGrande

Assistant Director of Alumni and Student Relations
1072 ECE Building
(217) 300-1783
alegrand@illinois.edu