Chargello

Now in twenty-six countries and over 6000 restaurants and other venues

Chargello makes portable phone charging kits, places them in restaurants and other venues, and uses this unique location to sell targeted ads. By doing this, they have built a highly focused new media channel while also solving the universal need for charging your phone away from home.

“My phone was always dying wherever I went, and I figured this was a big problem for people,” says Freddy Sidi, the CEO and Founder of Chargello. “It becomes so frustrating, so repetitive. You’re walking around with literally a cable. You’re in a café and you need an outlet but you can’t sit by the outlet because someone else is sitting there.”

Funnily enough, Sidi found out later that his iPhone had a recalled battery, so his version of this problem was more acute than average. But without that bad battery, the idea may never have been born. And it’s good it did.

Chargello is now in twenty-six countries and over 6000 restaurants and other venues (such as beauty salons, hospitals, hotels, doctors’ offices, banks, and car dealerships), and they’re on their fifteenth version of the charger. “It seems to be a need!” says Sidi with a laugh.

Part of its success may have to do with the fact that Chargello solves not just one problem, but three. The first is the universal problem of your phone dying when you’re on the go. The second is that this first problem is a problem for venues. If your customer’s phone dies in a restaurant, they leave your restaurant.

They may ask you to take their phone behind the counter to charge it, but taking someone’s phone is a liability. The Chargello battery sits at the customer’s table, where they charge their device themselves. The third problem Chargello solves is that, for advertisers, traditional media channels are no longer what they used to be.

This includes print, television, and radio, of course, but even digital. Chargello’s batteries are a fresh space for advertisers: the customer interacts with the product, which creates an experience that lasts about an hour. This is interactive, uninterrupted exposure to the brand being advertised on that battery, and there’s a positive association created because you’re doing something good for them—the battery is charging their phone.

Chargello’s very first installation was in April 2016. At first it was a challenge to find brands to put ad dollars into an experimental, unproven media channel, but it didn’t take long to turn that around. The first major brand they landed was Diageo, the largest spirit company in the world, for whom Chargello made a highly successful campaign for Don Julio Tequila, Zacapa Rum, Ketel One Vodka, Cîroc Vodka, and Tanqueray Gin.

They’ve since begun relationships with the AmericanAirlines Arena and Marlins Park, so that their chargers are used at every Marlins game and every Heat game. They also work with American Express, and the Baptist Health System uses their chargers system-wide in all their hospitals and outpatient centers. Sidi sees Miami as key to Chargello’s success. “It’s a smaller market, but has huge international appeal,” he says.

It also takes a lot less capital to make a dent in the market—unlike, say, New York, where it would be harder for a startup to gain traction in the restaurant world. Miami is also the hub of a lot of cultures, says Sidi, which functions as a natural proving ground. “If something works in Miami,” he says, “it can work anywhere.”

Chargello is still only getting started. They raised capital for first time recently, and intend to expand into five new U.S. markets in the near future: they’re currently finalizing the New York expansion, plan to launch Los Angeles in December, and in 2020’s Q1 they’ll be launching Dallas, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Sidi emphasizes that, beyond just expanding geographically, Chargello is trying to create a change in the culture.

“Anywhere people spend more than twenty minutes, we want them to be able to ask for a phone charger, and we want to be the brand that provides it for them. We want people to expect that, and receive it. It’s about changing the culture itself.”

Chargello

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