Shop and charge: Philly guy makes it possible

ChargeItSpot kiosks are available in retail in almost 70 locations. Charles Mostoller/METRO
ChargeItSpot kiosks are available in retail in almost 70 locations. Charles Mostoller/METRO

Doug Baldasare sees his smartphone charging stations as the next air conditioner.

“When air conditioning first came out,” said the Wharton grad, “it wasn’t an understood thing that a retail store had to have it. But eventually, when all the stores had air conditioning, you couldn’t not have air.”

Baldasare, 29, is the CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot, just one of many Center City startups the city says is happy to help grow, as long as they stay.

The smartphone charging kiosk is essentially a locker. Find an open slot, connect your iPhone, Android or Blackberry, lock it up and take the key — free of charge.

Baldasare sells the device to retail outlets. The businesses pay for the customer’s convenience, and to keep them inside. “So while you’re waiting for your phone to charge,” Baldasare said, “you spend more time in the store.”

The lockers are in 68 stores in six states.

“The fact is consumers are constantly running low on their phone batteries, and we need power to our batteries like we need water,” Baldasare said. “It’s a pressing need. We’re so addicted to our phones and when we run low, it’s anxiety-producing.”

A new business environment has emerged in the last decade around smartphones and gadgets.

“We are going after, in one way, a new market,” Baldasare said. “But at the same time, we’re bringing it to a traditional market that’s looking for new growth opportunities.”

And the city is down with that.

Luke Butler, of the city’s commerce department, said ChargeItSpot is one of many fast-growing tech startups in the city.

“We’re trying to figure out what role can city government play to support that growth,” Butler said. ”The cost of doing business in Philadelphia is much lower than in (New York or San Jose), but at the same time we have an increasingly growing and strong network of companies and organizations that rely upon and that support startups.”

As these young startups grow, the city wants them to stay. And, to keep them, they’ll help them navigate the tax and real estate environments, he added.

But Baldasare hasn’t needed them yet.

“But the initial meetings we’ve had with them they’ve been very receptive,” he said.

Baldasare said he’ll say here though.

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s the plan.”

So, what’s his story?

“I was in Miami,” Baldasare said, “and I was low on battery.”

He was with three other friends who were about to split up but they couldn’t. They wouldn’t be able to find each other. Their phones were all dead.

“Damn,” he said. “Why can’t I just walk into Urban Outfitters and charge my phone?”

He originally thought the customer would be tethered to the kiosk, and then he settled on the locker. The first one was installed in August 2012.

The App

ChargeItSpot recently launched its mobile app, which will alert the smartphone user once the battery life dips below a certain threshold. The default of which is 30 percent.

When it hits that magic number, the app will send a message and alert the user of the impending doom and provide a list of the nearest kiosks.

____________________

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.