There are few problems as universal these days as running out of phone battery.
Wynwood-based Chargello is aiming to tackle the issue. Turns out, after only a year, these devices can now be found all over the world, as the company has been quietly plotting a global takeover to end the world’s phone battery loss headaches. We talked to founder Freddy Sidi about the company.
What is it?
Chargello is the solution to what Sidi says is a “free problem” that anyone with the right smarts and enough capital can solve. While some people may already have to-go chargers, Chargellos are built using expensive batteries and are thus “the fastest chargers you will ever find,” Sidi says. Since they’re already at a venue, you never have to worry about losing them. And since you can take them right to your table or desk, you don’t have to worry about someone else handling your phone.
Since putting up their first installation in March 2016, Sidi says the company has issued 100,000 batteries all over the world, from Qatar to Nicaragua. It costs nothing for a venue to order one because they are all sponsored by a leading brand, usually a telecom. In fact, individual establishments can’t just go out and buy a Chargello – the sponsors lease or loan them to establishments.
Indeed, that is why, Sidi says, Chargello first looked overseas to build its business base — smaller countries have fewer but larger brands, so capturing entire markets is easier.
Who’s behind it?
Sidi was born in Brazil and came to Miami 18 years ago. A graduate of FIU and Harvard Business School, Sidi co-founded his first major company, Auris, in 2001 as one of the first major cloud-based IT software solutions for businesses.
He sold the company 11 years later to Coral Gables-based CIMA Group. His cofounder, Johnny Bosche, has cofounded or helped launch three other Miami startups. The two have known each other for 15 years.
For Chargello, Miami’s ease of access to global markets has made the city instrumental in the company’s success. That’s been especially true in the case of Latin markets — Chargellos can now be found in every South American country except Uruguay, and across the Caribbean. He describes a network effect within the Latino community that has also helped in terms of company personnel.
“I feel like there’s a loyalty and team building here that’s different than Silicon Valley — there, you have people jumping from Google to Facebook, they’re changing jobs every three months,” Sidi says. “In Miami, there’s a culture of loyalty that’s been one of the biggest benefits of creating and building our team in South Florida.”
The company has 18 employees in South Florida.
Chargello continues to push into new markets, and the next big one will be major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago and L.A. They have been self-funded to this point, but plan to announce that they will be doing a fundraising round for $5 million.