'Public will soon demand wireless charging'
People will soon demand wireless charging facilities from food and drink venues and hotels, according to the CEO of a specialist tech firm.
Dan Bladen, 27, founded Chargifi with Charlie Cannell and Peter Wallace in 2013 after he and wife Jessica constantly ran out of power for their devices while travelling the world.
The 2017 Wireless Charging Market Report claimed the sector could be worth $37.2 billion globally by 2022 – and Bladen’s start-up is poised to take advantage.
“There has been an explosive growth in the market for wireless power,” Bladen told BusinessCloud.
“We’ve already seen Dell announce their first laptop with wireless power at this year’s CES: we fully expect this to be the start of a much wider adoption of wireless power into everyday consumer tech.
“Wireless power will become something the public will come to expect when visiting a venue. Each sector will modernise their respective facilities to attract customers; namely, the hospitality trade.
“As competitors quickly update their venues to compete with these forward-thinking companies, change will be rapid.”
Chargifi device attached to underside of a table
As smartphones become more powerful with every passing year, the big race is for tech manufacturers to develop longer-lasting batteries while maintaining slimline design features.
That reportedly contributed to the demise of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was the subject of a total recall after several of the devices became overheated and caught fire.
There has been a rise in the use of ‘power blocks’, remote units which can be used to charge devices on the go, but Bladen does not see these as an obstacle for the wireless charging market.
“Consumers are constantly looking for convenient, hassle-free, quick ways of using tech to enhance their everyday lives,” he said. “Power blocks do not necessarily offer this as they are bulky and are just another piece of tech you have to remember to charge.
“Once installed, Chargifi spots first and foremost bring free convenient power to people where and when they need it most.
“The massive bonus that Chargifi offers for businesses is the chance to collect the data, giving organisations a valuable insight to their customers’ behaviour – something that power blocks don’t do.”
Charging a phone using Chargifi tech
Chargifi has raised $3.4 million from investors such as Intel Capital, Techstars, R/GA Ventures and Brett Akker, founder of Zipcar and LOVESPACE.
Cannell is digital director at Inflexion Private Equity, while fellow co-founder and COO Wallace has served as chief financial officer for high-profile companies including Publicis Groupe Media, Aegis Media UK and mobile advertising company AD Maxim.
“Their expertise adds a vast amount of experience from different industry perspectives, which is invaluable when starting a tech business,” reflected Bladen.
The firm was selected among 33 start-ups for TechCityUK's six-month Upscale programme recently, a development that Bladen says gave it “a huge boost”.
“The future of Chargifi is one where people are never far from a Chargifi Spot to power their device,” Bladen continued.
“Following early trials at Carnaby Street juice bar Moosh and early investment from Brett Akker, Chargifi has now rolled out to a number of international markets, including Hong Kong, Singapore and India.
“It is also set up in a number of venues in London, including Pret A Manger – which we’re planning to roll out further this year – The Clubhouse and Imperial College London.”
London-headquartered Chargifi has a significant presence in Silicon Valley and the wider USA, but Bladen is quick to talk up the UK’s tech credentials.
“Some industry bodies at CES 2017 [in Las Vegas] criticised the lack of Government funding for British start-ups – there were nearly five times as many French companies attending than British ones,” he added.
“However, whilst Silicon Valley is clearly the godfather of tech, London has earned its stripes in recent years.”BELOW: Flick through the Q1 2017 edition of BusinessCloud's interactive digital magazine