Tech Pitch: Chargifi

We've all experienced the annoyance of our phone dying when we need to use it - Chargifi thinks its wireless power concept is the solution...

Company name: Chargifi
Founders: Dan Bladen and Charlie Cannell
Background: Bladen’s love of technology started as a young man taking apart and rebuilding computers in his free time. Over the years this passion has particularly centred around an interest in networks and, of course, wireless power.
Based in: London and New York

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Chargifi is a global wireless charging network that revolutionises how people consume power in public by making convenient wireless power available to people in public and semi-public areas. Imagine you get off a plane in Brazil, open your Chargifi app, and a map opens with Chargifi spots displayed where you can top up with power on your phone, and grab a cup of coffee… that’s Chargifi in a nut shell.

Chargifi’s core strength is building the network software and analytics that sits on top of a network of chargers across the world. We prefer to use under-surface mounted wireless charging units in venues such as bars, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, stadiums and others. Using our free mobile app, customers can access this power whenever they need by locating the nearest ‘Chargifi Spots’.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Everyone has had this problem; you’re out of the house or office, having coffee or a drink, look down and your phone is almost dead, maybe you have a charging cord with you maybe not, maybe there is a power plug available, maybe not. Venues have a limited number of plugs, they don’t really want people stringing cords around, but also want to be able to provide an incredible experience to their customers, and, ultimately, sell more coffee or drinks to customers because of it. Chargifi was envisioned to provide users with a convenient way to recharge their devices to keep up with their busy lifestyles and increased dependence on smartphones.

The platform and network effect helps partner venues in multiple ways. By displaying Chargifi spots on the network map it creates a suction effect to the venue; say I need a charge I will walk into the coffee shop to get one, increasing footfall and creating customers the venue never advertised to. Businesses find dwell time increases by up to 40% for venues with a charge spot equating to increased sales for that venue.

The Chargifi dashboard enables businesses to have real understandings of table dwell time, charge time, charge frequency, as well as full control of power and service usage. Imagine being able to not only provide an increased customer experience by satisfying a singularly important need of power, but also having a true understanding of your customer and his or her interaction with you.

Are you funded?

Yes. To date we have raised $3.4m from the likes of Intel Capital, Techstars, R/GA Ventures and Brett Akker (founder of Zipcar and LOVESPACE).

What were you doing before starting?

Dan Bladen: In 2012 my wife and I took a year off and backpacked around the world, as we travelled I noticed something – everyone had smartphones almost every place we went; from South America to South India. They used their phones for everything from making purchases, to checking maps, to updating Facebook and Twitter.

We would take buses or cabs and sometimes have hours to wait, and we started to have to make some strategic decisions about the venues we visited because of the availability of power sockets. Our smartphone was our lifeline to the rest of our friends and family back home, as well as our map, email etc. and it was constantly almost out of power.

We started to make decisions about where to eat, drink, wait, even stay, based on power plug availability. I just thought to myself, there must be a better way… When I got back I chatted this through with Cannell and Chargifi was born.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

Having offices in two of the most forward-thinking cities in the world means that we are constantly exposed to the innovative technology that is emerging from both sides of the pond. The company is also able to attract the highest quality of talent and be a part of two thriving tech communities.

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