How a  200 day a year road warrior turned a persistent need in to a promising product. tweet

Have you ever found yourself on an airplane, looking at your battery meter on your smart phone or tablet, think to yourself, “If I can get to a plug in the airport I can charge while I wait”.

The only problem is when you land and get to the gate for your next flight you realize about 200 other people had the same idea. And the 4 outlets at gate that you can actually use are already in use? (One time I actually saw a waiting line of chargers waiting for the next guy to unplug and leave).

When Anthony Vilgiate, a 200 day a year business traveller, kept running in to this scenario at the end of a busy day of travelling, he decided to take matters in to his own hands.

He conceived of a device recharge device that could charge smart phones and tablets, and set out to create some prototypes of the perfect answer to a persistent traveler problem.

And then he did what an enterprising tech developer would do:  he took the project to his wife!  

You see, Anthony’s wife Christina is an artist and an entrepreneur.  The combination is perfect for developing devices that have aesthetic appeal (Anthony said the proto types looked like Radio Shack project boxes and duct tape), as well as commercial appeal.  This is an important combination for iOS fans.

Christina did her homework, identified a product development roadmap, believed the project had enough potential to start a company around the idea, and promptly confronted the need for capital to get started.

“Discovering solutions to a real-world problems (sic) and then creating a product development roadmap to deliver that solution is at the heart of what we do,” said Christina. “We don’t want to be the next overnight fad widget, we want to add value to our customer’s lives with products that solve problems, are priced fairly and built to the highest quality standards,” she added.

Finding Capital for Technology Innovation

Her answer was to go to Kickstarter.  For the uninitiated, Kickstarter is the most successful of the crowd-funding sites.

The Vilgiates started down the process to launch a Kickstarter project, and on February 6th, the project launched.  They were seeking to raise $25,000 to take their production ready creations to reality.

The project at Kickstarter is off to a great start as of this writing.  They are well on the way to reaching their goal, and in reality will likely blow well past the $25,000 goal (that is my assessment).  Only 3 days in they have already had more than $15,000 pledged. (Editor’s note:  When this post was finished they were only $15,000 funded, but by Feb 10th they were fully funded, and had surpassed their $25,000 goal.  Kickstarter projects do not stop accepting funds when they reach full funding).

Obviously the Kickstarter path has been or soon will be a success for Anthony and Christina.

Christina, the CEO for No Outlet No Problem had this to say about Kickstarter:  “Kickstarter lets potential customers participate in the launch of a company by funding projects in exchange for receiving the products first, before the public has access to them.  Kickstarter is a brilliant idea to allow the market to decide if the entrepreneur’s instincts and vision are on target”.

Technology for The Business Traveler

Having travelled internationally on a consistent basis in my past, I can tell you that Anthony’s problem is not his alone.  Business travelers face the need for “extra juice”.  It is a growing problem looking for a good solution.

No Outlet No Problem has three options to meet your needs for extra power.  From the press release we learn the following:

The Adventurer is the smallest of the family, weighing in at only 5oz.  The Adventurer packs a 6,600mAh lithium-polymer battery into a sleek high-impact plastic case with a single 1-amp output USB port for charging your devices and a single micro-USB port for charging the batter pack.  Measuring in at only 4” x 3” x .75”, The Adventurer fits easily into a purse, briefcase or laptop bag and can charge an iPhone or similar mobile phone as many as 4x from zero before requiring a recharge.  Charge time from a computer USB port is 6-7 hours from empty.

The Expedition is the largest capacity battery back up in the family and sports an 11,200mAh lithium-ion battery pack in a 4.5” x 3.25” x .75” high-impact plastic case.  Still weighing in at just over 8oz The Expedition has two USB charging ports, a 1-amp and a 2.1-amp and a single micro-USB port for charging the battery.  The 1-amp is great for cell phones, handheld gaming consoles, digital cameras and similar devices.  The 2.1-amp port is ideal for charging tablets like iPads, Kindles or Galaxy tablets.  You can charge two devices simultaneously and will charge an iPhone or similar mobile device 8-9x from empty.  Charge time from a computer USB port is only 4-5 hours from empty.

The Destination is the No Outlet, No Problem flagship product featuring a sleek brushed aluminum case and a thin profile.  The Destination has a 10,000mAh lithium-polymer battery and measures 3.5” x 5” x 5/8”.  Like The Expedition, The Destination features dual USB outputs for charging two devices at once and a micro-USB port for charging the battery.  The destination was designed specifically for those whose digital lifestyle is MAC-centric and aesthetically fits right in with your other brushed aluminum digital appliances. You can charge an iPhone or similar mobile phone as many as 8x form empty. Charge time from empty takes between 6-7 hours and charges from a computers USB port or USB wall charger.

This video is Anthony’s introduction about the project.

And, finally, this video demonstrates the three versions available.

You can back the No Outlet No Problem project at Kickstarter by heading to this link.