A pair of quick thinking entrepreneurs who feared Covid-19 would drain the life from their mobile charging business, switched focus in just six days and are reaping the rewards.
The business is an example of one that has pivoted to deal with the realities of the crisis.
Hugo Tilmouth (24) and Charlie Baron (26)’s technology company was fully charged to take on 2020, but the Coronavirus lockdown almost brought the firm to its knees, bringing about the furlough of staff.
The astute young tech founders redesigned their mobile charging docks into hand sanitiser stations and in less than a week landed their first lucrative contract with transport giant TfL, providing a vital lifeline for their business and 45 staff.
The startup born in the midst of the pandemic turned over £1m in its first month.
Hugo Tilmouth and Charlie Baron launched ChargedUp in 2017; a network of 2500 charging points across 50 European cities that takes inspiration from bike sharing, letting you rent a mobile charging pack from one destination and return it at a different location if needed.
In less than three months, sister company, CleanedUp has already secured major contracts with Costa, Crossrail, DHL and Hello Fresh.
Returning its five furloughed employees, the courageous start-up has already created 12 new jobs as a result of turning their fear into a multi-million-pound business.
Hugo Tilmouth who was the brainchild behind the mobile charging network comments: “I have to give Charlie all the credit for the CleanedUp idea.
“We were set to roll out 150 mobile charging stations across UK airports, train stations and shopping centres the week lockdown hit, completely halting us in our tracks.”
“Immediately, we were like, how on earth do we keep the company afloat?
“We spent the entire night going through models and situations, taking the really austere view – what happens if there is no chance of revenue for ChargedUp until 2021?
“We then asked ourselves, what do we have in our skillset and how do we still support our supply network of shopping centres, pubs and transport hubs to help them operate safely in future?
“Somewhat serendipitously, the mobile stations sat dormant had been designed specifically for high traffic locations – which spurred Charlie into thinking they could be refined into large capacity affordable hand sanitising bays with minimal investment.
“While I was number crunching, Charlie had not only seeded the idea with an existing client, but road tested it with a supermarket chain and almost overnight we firmed up there was appetite.”
“All in all, we had the idea on a Thursday, a working prototype by Monday. By the following Wednesday the factory was ready to start production. In that same time, Charlie had already sold 150.”