Philly tech startup nets $4.1M in funding round

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Unlike the cell phones it charges, ChargeItSpot doesn’t look it will run out of juice anytime soon.

The Philadelphia-based company, which installs secure cell phone charging kiosks at a number of retail locations, wrapped a $4.1 million round of funding on June 16.

Its investors include SoundBoard Angel Fund, SeedInvest, and local Robin Hood Ventures.

Jonathan Hakakian, the managing director of New York-based SoundBoard, said his fund immediately identified ChargeItSpot as a standout from its competitors.

“When you think about it from a retailer’s perspective, they’re trying to help the consumer make good shopping descisions,” Hakakian said.

“We’re all distracted much of the time because we’re on our phone,” he said. “When you think about the individual who locks their phone away, they’re more interested in buying the right products and going to the sales associate instead of texting friends or googling it.”

ChargeItSpot plans to use this capital to advance its technology — both with its app and kiosks — as well as increase its scalable output of kiosks, CEO Douglas Baldasare said. Under Armour recently joined ChargeItSpot’s clientele, which includes Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman and Urban Outfitters.

ChargeItSpot’s clients also include business outside of the apparel industry – a segment Hakakian said the company may target for growth soon.

“I think it’s looking at any retail store where a consumer could come in and spend 15-30 minutes in the store,” he said. “With apparel, it’s because there’s a draw for them to stay and try on clothes.”

ChargeItSpot’s kiosk’s offer eight locking chambers, which open and close by typing in the phone’s number on a digital screen.

The kiosk also snaps a photo of the person using the kiosk, in case he or she mistypes their phone number and can’t undo the lock. The station connects to customer service rep via 4G.

The startup makes money by charging its retail clients a monthly fee, as well as selling advertising to dress its kiosk. It remains free for consumer use.

ChargeItSpot has nine full-time employees. It launched in 2011 when Baldasare was a grad student at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We typically invest in earlier stage, but what we saw [with Baldasare] was a great leader who truly is a hustler,” Hakakian said. “He understands how to sell. He understands the sale process.”

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