TAK­ING CHARGE ON MO­BILE BOOST­ERS

Herald Sun - - BUSINESS - CLAIRE HEANEY

DIS­AS­TROUS for some or a mi­nor in­con­ve­nience for oth­ers, a dead mo­bile phone when you’re out and about can be a has­sle.

Find­ing him­self with a flat phone bat­tery while in a bar in St Kilda, Danny Hughes and a friend pon­dered the pos­si­bil­i­ties for recharg­ing de­vices.

“I thought how ridicu­lous it was that there was no place to charge your phone,” he said.

He gave it some thought, brain­stormed with some friends, and they came up with the idea of lo­cat­ing charg­ing sta­tions at venues and public places.

They en­listed some si­lent in­vestors and his now busi­ness part­ner, An­drew O’Brien — who has some ex­pe­ri­ence in man­u­fac­tur­ing in China — found a sup­plier.

While they were wait­ing for the first ma­chine to ar­rive 18 months ago, they worked on the brand­ing for the Charge Spots busi­ness.

“Look­ing for a man­u­fac­turer in China was a big learn­ing curve, with a lot of back and forth, but it was re­ally ex­cit­ing the day the first Charge Spot ar­rived,” he said.

He said the first ma­chine was lo­cated at a restau­rant at Falls Creek.

“It got a mas­sive amount of use, which gave us con­fi­dence that it was a good idea,” he said.

The free­stand­ing or wall mounted de­vices have se­cure lock­ers in which most phones can be placed and charged.

Mr Hughes and Mr O’Brien now have about 70 Charge Spots in place.

Mr Hughes said they were mak­ing calls ev­ery day and knock­ing on doors to get peo­ple to take on the ma­chines.

He started look­ing at events and fes­ti­vals and be­gan pitch­ing to or­gan­is­ers.

The cost to charge a phone is $5, but some com­pa­nies spon­sor the ma­chine and of­fer free charg­ing to cus­tomers.

There are a num­ber of op­tions in­clud­ing rev­enue shar­ing be­tween Charge Spot and the venue.

Mr Hughes, who had a short ca­reer at Mel­bourne Foot­ball Club be­fore go­ing on to play in West­ern Australia and Vic­to­rian leagues, said footy con­tacts had been in­valu­able in get­ting him to the right peo­ple in or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Danny Hughes boosts his phone bat­tery at one of his phone-charg­ing sta­tions, called Charge Spots. Pic­ture: MIKE KEAT­ING

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