TAKING CHARGE ON MOBILE BOOSTERS
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