In the most dire "1%" battery moments prompt us into flat-out desperation mode -- worst case scenario, you'd kill for a charger and outlet, wouldn't you? - Douglas Baldasare is here to help. He founded ChargeItSpot, a startup that is designed to keep you from mourning the (temporary) death of your phone while lending a helping hand to retailers as well.
ChargeItSpot, Baldasare says, addresses two problems with a service to provide a classic win-win situation.
"One is dying phones, we need our phones so much in our daily lives we clutch them like it's part of us, it's a life line and when our phones run low it makes us really anxious," the founder and CEO told NBC's Elizabeth Fiedler. "The other key problem is traditional brick and mortar retailers are looking to find ways to turn their assets — their stores — into a real opportunity."
Baldasare's company places charging kiosks in different places, mainly stores, that can be used by customers. While they're shopping and taking care of business, ChargeItSpot replenishes their phone batteries in miniature lockers until the owner returns for their device.
"Think about a place like Whole Foods or an Urban Outfitters," Baldasare said in a one minute pitch on PhillyInFocus.com. "Your phone drops low, you go into one of these stores. You open up a little door like this, the charging tips provided in the charging station. Close your phone, charge your phone, lock it up. Now you're waiting for your phone to charge. The retailer gets people to come in, stay there for longer and come back more often."
The idea for ChargeItSpot is one that Baldasare says came to him after he broke a cardinal rule -- thou shalt not sleep without charging your phone. The inevitably frustrating situation made him question, is there a better way?
"It was September 2011, I was with some friends in Miami and the four of us all had forgotten to charge our phones overnight and I pointed to a store, it happened to be an Urban Outfitters, and I said 'Why can't I walk in there and charge my phone?'"
Now with his business, he's effectively answering his own question, and with moderate success experienced in the Philadelphia area (Baldasare has placed ten charging stations around the University of Pennsylvania campus), it's pretty easy to envision a world in which ChargeItSpot spreads quickly.
With customers able charge their phones in a safe way and free of charge while they, for example, shop, eat dinner or watch a movie, all helping store owners to benefit, the qestion of whether ChargeItSpot can take off seems not to be a matter of "if," but rather "when?".
"There are 220 million smart phone users in the United States so a lot of us have them, a lot of us experience a problem with dying phones and we usually have personal stories about when it was really not a good time to have a dying phone. So I think it really is an idea a lot of people can understand and relate with."