The Charge Station: James Gover
The founder talks about life as a bootstrapped start-up and how he plans to monetise on the everyday problem of running out of battery on your phone
Name: James Gover
Company name: The Charge Station Ltd
Date launched: 16/03/2015
Tell us what your business does:
We sell customised commercial mobile phone chargers that can charge numerous smartphones at once.
Charge Stations provide a necessary service whilst increasing the attraction of a venue alongside dwell time and, therefore, the money customers will spend in the establishment. Our charge stations also provide advertising opportunities. A win for the venue and a win for the individual.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Friends and I were having a discussion about how useless the battery life of a smartphone is and at that very time I was in a bar and had run out of battery. I asked the barman if I could borrow a charger but they did not have one.
Also, everyday the same conversations arise in the office I work in “has anyone got a phone charger”. I then thought there must be a solution to this that helps all and the Charge Station was born.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Through first hand experience and through speaking to various owners of bars, hotels, cafes, managed service office providers etc. I was confident there would be a market if I could develop a product.
What were you doing before starting up?
I am still working as a procurement manager for a big retail company until the company (hopefully) takes off.
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Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes from a very early age! When I was 14 I was buying bulk items from Asia and selling them on eBay in the UK. From then I was gripped and knew that one day I would run my own company.
How did you raise the money?
I have funded it myself so far by keeping my day job and limiting outgoing expenses as much as possible; the main costs have been creating a website and developing the product.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Customers can either buy a product outright, or we will lease it to individuals or events.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The main challenge was ensuring the product was developed in the way I had imagined as I don’t have a technical brain at all.
What was your first big breakthrough?
When people said, “yes, that will be brilliant and I will buy one when you are ready” as that really gave me the confidence to get the business going.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Remember to keep going. There are times when you can get bogged down in tedious tasks but you will get there in the end.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I want to be providing Charge Station products to individuals, companies and events all over the world!