Yeah, having a ubiquitous wifi network available is great, but let’s talk about the other big problem we have when we’re on the go: finding an outlet to plug in and recharge our phones. And hoping that we remembered to take a cord with us. And that 10 other people didn’t find that one available outlet first. Yeah, that problem.
That’s where chargifi has got you covered. The company provides wireless, location-based charging stations and there’s a platform available for promotional or interactive content, and why not? Talk about location, location, location. You’ve got a captive audience, until the device is charged. And they’re in your venue in the first place, so win-win. chargifi ‘spots’ form an intelligent network, providing an opportunity for venues and brands to discover more about their customers’ needs and introduce a platform for real-time communication.
It’s the perfect way to literally connect with your customers.
Founder Dan Bladen talks about his company’s experience with the R/GA Connected Device Accelerator, powered by Techstars, and why the London-based team relocated to NYC to participate.
Tell us about the decision to apply for R/GA Accelerator and how has the experience been thus far?
One of the leading Techstars London mentors recommended us for the London program. But because of our combination of software and hardware, Techstars referred us to the R/GA Accelerator in NYC.
We have been thrilled with both Techstars’ and R/GA’s commitment to the program so far. Both organizations have been extensively involved; Techstars have already exposed us to a powerful team of mentors and R/GA has put a lot of time and thought already into how their services can improve our product. Our thoughts about our product have evolved nearly as much in the past four weeks as in the prior 18 months.
Tell us about your service.
chargifi is a wireless charging network that uses power as a platform for enhancing people’s everyday experiences.
From coffee shops to hotels, stadiums, bars, and airports, ‘chargifi Spots’ form an intelligent network enabling venues to gather customer information, push promotions, advertising, and other content while offering wireless charging to their guests.
How is it different?
Wireless charging is a new product in the marketplace and very little focus has been placed on bringing wireless power to the consumer in public instead of at home. We want to bring power to people where they presently have the least access to it.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
chargifi wants to provide power for people wherever they spend time out and about—coffee shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, transport hubs, and more. Experts estimate the wireless charging market will grow from $785m this year to as much as $8.5bn by 2018.
What is the business model?
We like to describe our model as hardware-as-a-service. We lease our wireless charging transmitters to venues for a nominal daily amount (covered by the sale of a couple cups of coffee, for example). In exchange for this, we drive foot traffic to the venue and provide promotional opportunities and insights into their customers’ habits.
In short, we’re giving public venues the opportunity to monetize their power outlets.
What type of venues is chargifi most popular at currently?
Our beta testing partners have included hotel chains and coffee shops, with airport lounges, mall chains, and others lined up for our full launch.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We are a London-based company and have just hired a US director to approach the American market as of the start of the R/GA program. We plan to have achieved some banner partnerships in the US and abroad by Q2 2015.
We have secured a number international license deals for our proprietary network technology, which will allow us to simultaneously rollout at scale across the UK, US, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Macau and the United Arab Emirates.
Our latest line of hardware and software will be ready for market deployment before the end of Q4 and we plan to begin a much more aggressive roll-out globally in Q1 2015.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
That’s hard one; there are so many great VCs, PE Houses and investors in New York. That said, we would love to be in touch with Mayor Bloomberg, as he’s been such a foundational voice for the growth of the tech scene in New York City.
What is your take on the current scene in New York today?
We’re relative newcomers to the scene, but we’re impressed by how developed and well connected and friendly the tech scene is. Our first US hire was already pretty established in this space and, of course, New York and London have a somewhat similar cultural mindset.
What are you looking forward to doing most in NYC during this upcoming winter?
Apart from our London team reenacting scenes from Home Alone 2 in front of Rockefeller Center, we’re excited to be launching our first chargifi Spots in New York before the end of the year.