Marks & Spencer and Founders Factory sign up first startup for accelerator programme
> Joint venture between retailer and accelerator invests in on-the-go phone charging service ChargedUp
> Battery charging units will be available in eight London M&S stores
Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Founders Factory have announced the first startup selected for its retail startup accelerator programme under their joint venture (JV) Founders Factory Retail. ChargedUp, a mobile phone battery sharing service that plans to end the frustration of running out of charge, was sourced through Founders Factory’s global network, backed by M&S.
The JV enables startups like ChargedUp to grow at pace using Founders Factory’s experts in design, computer engineering, AI, data science and strategy. It also exposes M&S to new technologies, business models and entrepreneurial thinking, as it seeks to put digital at the heart of its transformation strategy.
ChargedUp has a network of vending stations across London that allows users to rent a power bank to charge their phones on-the-go for as long as they want before returning them to another station across their network. Founder’s Factory Retail will spend six months working with ChargedUp which it will seek to grow and scale.
As well as investing in the business, vending stations will be available in eight London M&S stores. Units will be installed in six stores next month (Pantheon, White City, Bankside, Victoria Cardinal Place, Fenchurch Street and Finsbury Pavement) alongside those already in place in M&S Merchant Square Café and Waterside Simply Food (based at M&S’ Paddington HQ). The units will be located by M&S Marketplace counters which offer great tasting coffee, rotisserie chicken, Plant Kitchen and delicious salads on-the-go.
Daniel Himsworth, Founders Factory Lead at Marks & Spencer, said: “We think ChargedUp is a great start-up business. Mobile phones are an essential part of today’s shopping experience and we all know how frustrating a low battery is. The ChargedUp team has a very smart idea to solve the problem and keep shoppers fully charged. We look forward to working with them.”
ChargedUp’s founder and CEO Hugo Tilmouth said: “We are delighted to have been selected for the M&S and Founders Factory Retail programme. As a startup, working with a brand like M&S not only gives us access to the best market insights, but we are incredibly happy that our ChargedUp battery stations will be in several stores next month – which is potentially game-changing for us ahead of our nationwide roll-out. We can’t wait to see M&S customers using our batteries.”
ChargedUp’s network is powered by renewable energy and through the sharing economy battery packs are shared which decreases the overall demand on Lithium. There are currently 250 ChargedUp stations across London and the service has over 20,000 active users.
Source: M&S Corporate Headquarters