Founder Profile: Doug Baldasare

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Like many guys nights out in Miami, the subject of Scarface came up when Doug Baldasare was there a few years ago and he and his buddies decided to go searching for the movie on DVD. Baldasare quickly realized his phone’s battery was running low. He looked across the street at a large retailer but realized he couldn’t charge his phone there. His anxiety grew as his phone got closer to dying and Baldasare got closer to being separated from his pals.
 
That’s when it hit Baldasare over the head – it would be a win-win for both he and the retailer if there was a way for him to charge his phone in the store, especially if he was able to secure his phone and browse the store.
 
That led to ChargeItSpot, a free, lock-away mobile phone charging station that gives retailers like current partners Whole Foods, Honeygrow, Kembrel and Ritz Carlton another way to entice customers. The company, founded in 2012, promptly completed its first round of funding in November, recently doubled its staff and plans to stay busy through the summer with more than six dozen ChargeItSpot locations across Philadelphia and a mobile app.
 
The goal, Baldasare says, is to never be more than two blocks away from a ChargeItSpot location, meaning far less anxiety when DVD-hunting with friends.
 
What was the biggest challenge in getting ChargeItSpot off the ground?
The biggest challenge in getting the company off the ground was figuring out how to get from idea to manufacturing our product. To overcome this, I flew abroad to visit factories overseas and learned from people who had done it before.
 
What resources did you take advantage of to launch ChargeItSpot? 
My father has been my closest advisor and resource as I launched the business. He was a Philly entrepreneur himself, starting two businesses. I speak to him everyday about strategic issues and growth strategy. He has been an amazing help.
 
Wharton Entrepreneurship was an incredible support system to help us get ChargeItSpot off the ground. We were accepted into their Venture Initiation Program, which provided us with office space, advisors, educational programming and a network of helpful executives. They supported us by hosting events where we could pitch our idea to investors, something that actually led to investment for ChargeItSpot.
 
What advantages does being in your region hold for entrepreneurs? 
Philadelphia is a small market for entrepreneurs, but that makes it tight-knit. People really want to help each other and successful entrepreneurs and VCs are pretty accessible. The low-cost of doing business is also a big advantage. People in Philly are also pretty hungry and have a mentality where hard work is rewarded.
 
Where does your region need to improve in terms of support for entrepreneurs?
More access to tech talent.
 
What’s the big differentiator for ChargeItSpot? 
ChargeItSpot provides customers with a free and secure service. There is no charge to consumers for using our kiosks and they can feel secure in the fact that their phone is locked away while it charges. This provides users with the ability to browse in a store or grab a bite and not just stand around keeping an eye on their phone.
 
What’s next for ChargeItSpot?
We have a big year ahead of us. We are expanding to 76 locations in Philadelphia this summer. In addition, we will be launching our mobile app, which will assist consumers who are out and about in finding a nearby ChargeItSpot location. We are also in the production phase of manufacturing our next generation touchscreen kiosk. These new kiosks will be part of two exciting pilot programs with national retailers that will be taking place this summer. Keep an eye out for us, we’re coming to a store near you.
— by Joe Petrucci



http://chargeitspot.com/
1650 Arch St. Suite 1906 Philadelphia, Pa. 19103

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