We’ve all been there. You’re out and about, at a (pre- or post-pandemic) football game or at an event away far from home, and your phone dies. You ask around, but none of your friends have a portable charger. If only the stadium or venue had a portable charging station—or do they?
Jumpstart, winner of the early stage non-social startup category in UNC’s Carolina Challenge Pitch Party on Nov. 5, aims to solve the dead phone problem once and for all by supplying charging boxes to places like bars, restaurants and event venues.
The idea for Jumpstart came when Amdom Giday’s younger brother Gabe came back from studying abroad in London raving about the U.K.-based startup ChargedUp, which launched about a year ago and provides charging stations in public venues.
Amdom Giday and Marc Diltz, who became friends through their undergraduate years at the University of Denver, thought it was bizarre that no similar companies existed in the U.S. to the same scale of ChargedUp in London.
Giday and Diltz set out to fill the void, founding Jumpstart three months ago.
Giday, with a background engineering, and Diltz, as a current second-year MBA student at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, have always wanted to start a company together.
Said Dlitz, “We are both really excited about entrepreneurship and we have pretty complementary skill sets.”
Besides receiving $1,000, being one of the Carolina Pitch Party winners was a great opportunity for Jumpstart to network and build their reputation in the market, Diltz said.
Diltz believes the timing is just right for Jumpstart to “jump into” the dead phone market in the U.S.—while there are a few companies in the U.S. similar to ChargedUp, none of them have dominated the market yet. On the flip side, if there weren’t any companies at all pursuing this idea, Diltz said he’d be worried.
“It’s the perfect time, where there are a couple promising companies that have made some good headway, but they aren’t established enough to compete with us just yet,” Diltz said.
Jumpstart, which would focus on obtaining the market in Chapel Hill and Denver first, plans to outpace competitors by being more aggressive in scaling up to other cities.
But if they do start to compete directly with other businesses down the road, Diltz said they will focus on delineating their product from competitors by communicating value through a sleek design. Jumpstart also plans to expand its opportunities by supplying charging boxes to not only restaurants and bars, but to an array of places including airports, sports stadiums, and corporate locations.
For the charging box, Diltz said they’ve been talking with a couple of contractors and have a few potential design ideas. Diltz said they hope to do a few soft launches in Chapel Hill in the upcoming months, where they can test demand and get feedback on pricing and demand of chargers.
Diltz said they will most likely bootstrap their initial launch and then begin seeking funding in about six months to a year, but that depends on what their costs look like and when the pandemic is over.
Right now, Jumpstart is focusing on fostering relationships with bars and restaurants, designing the charging box, and waiting out the pandemic.
“Our whole goal is to create the product and build relationships with our target channels and have this launched right when Covid ends, hopefully in the spring or summer, which is when people would be out and about and able to travel again,” Diltz said.