Darden Alumni’s Sustainable Energy Company Named to ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2024’ List

By Gosia Glinska

Fast Company has named Husk Power Systems, cofounded by Darden alumni Manoj Sinha (MBA ’09) and Chip Ransler (MBA ’09), to its list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2024, alongside Nvidia, YouTube, OpenAI and Taylor Swift Productions.

Husk Power Systems, which owns and operates 200 minigrids across India and Nigeria, was ranked first in the energy category and 24th overall for decarbonizing the grid in places with historically unreliable power.

“This recognition,” said Sinha, “is a testament to the passion and efforts of the entire Husk team, who has been working relentlessly for the last ten plus years and made this honor possible. Together, we are creating a future of energy that will bring renewable electricity and services to rural and peri-urban populations in Asia and Africa and supercharge economic development across thousands of communities.”

Sinha, who serves as Husk’s CEO, cofounded the company in 2008 with Gyanesh Pandey, Ratnesh Yadav and Chip Ransler (MBA ’09) to address the lack of sustainable, reliable and affordable power which at the time affected three billion people around the world.

Today the company serves more than 500,000 individuals and 10,000 micro, small and medium enterprises through minigrids powered by a combination of solar and biomass energy.

In addition to providing electricity, the company empowers remote communities by offering them a range of energy-efficient appliances, electronics and manufacturing machines with financing. The company also actively encourages entrepreneurship by showing its customers how to use electricity to create businesses around devices such as printers, water purifiers or ice cream makers. “When we install minigrids in a community,” said Sinha, “we look at what might be brought in as a set of entrepreneurial activities that will help people use electricity more productively and generate new income sources. That’s how our business model became successful.”

Fast Company’s recognition is part of a growing list of awards and accolades for the company and its cofounder. Last year, Sinha was named to the TIME 100 Most Influential Climate Leaders list for 2023.

Husk reached profitability in India and Nigeria in 2023. The company also raised $103 million in financing to fund an expansion in sub-Saharan Africa to bring sustainable power to some of the most underserved countries in the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Madagascar.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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