The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) has helped to successfully launch another technology-based British company globally.
By successfully sourcing £145,000 worth of funding from the SEIS, entrepreneur Dan Bladen was able to launch Chargifi in the UK, Ireland and Dubai at the back-end of 2013.
Chargifi allows smartphone users to recharge their devices in various coffee outlets simply by placing their phone on the table. The wireless charging technology is deployed as hardware underneath the tables in the participating establishments.
Wireless charging technology is a sector which has created great interest from investors over the last 12 months, with research suggesting that the technology will see revenue generation of $785 million this year, up from $216 million for 2013. By 2018, the industry is predicted to grow to $8.5 billion.
The London-based start-up is not on its own in this potentially lucrative field. A US company named Powermat Technologies also use the same idea, and have recently secured a nation-wide contract with Starbucks in the States.
Franchising the Expansion
Chargifi’s business model is slightly different to that of their US counterpart in that they seek franchisees for their technology, the licensing capital made is then used to fund their expansion.
In fact, they are currently in discussions with organisations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE as well as various European based businesses with the intention of expanding and placing charging points in over 20,000 establishments throughout 15 countries over a three year period.
The service is paid for using targeted marketing, which is sent to the user’s smartphone during the time they are charging. These ads can range from drinks offers related to the establishment or banners, and any profits made from the marketing is shared between Chargifi and the venue.
Chargifi has recently been used at golf and tennis events, with both the European PGA Tour and the ATP embracing the idea.
Despite the success enjoyed thus far, Bladen is set to enter into a second round of funding to help take the brand to Asia and other jurisdictions where smartphone’s are particularly popular.
SEIS was introduced to encourage investors to place funding into UK start-ups by offering them extremely generous tax breaks. The scheme aims to help drive the UK economy as it experiences something of a resurgence driven by start-ups such as Chargifi. More information on the benefits and incentives offered by the SEIS can be found at www.seis.co.uk