(Virtual) The start-up community has been buzzing about a little portable charger that is packing a powerful punch.
Spor, a portable solar-powered battery charger, has the ability to fully charge an iPhone within 1.5 hours without wasting any conventional electricity. For co-founder David Virgil Hunt, the goal is to speed up that impressive rate even more. One would not believe that such a sustainable invention would unexpectedly come from the brainstorming of another.
“My co-founding partner Jason Browne was initially looking for a way to have his blinds automatically rise when the sun came up,” Hunt recalled. “The contraption would require solar panels, which ultimately led to creating a solar powered battery charger for mobile devices.”
The two Drexel University finance students would eventually discuss Browne’s vision over a lunch that would lead to the conception of Spor. The duo began to develop product designs and a launch business plan that they would eventually pitch to potential funders. It would be October 2013 when they would win $10,000 and production space at the Baiada Institute’s prestigious Incubator Competition that they knew they were on to something epic.
But that didn’t come without a couple of setbacks.
“Production delays…hardware can be difficult when it is a new area of development,” Hunt says of the hardships that came with entering the tech world. “The business requires trust in experience and other people’s capabilities…we faced challenges with expectations and learned to always be conservative and triple your time and cost estimates.”
And the team did, lucratively. Shortly after their big breakthrough, they would go on to win Philadelphia’s third annual Lean Startup Machine challenge. This was followed up by them attracting a group of engineers at Philadelphia’s NextFab Studios to help them develop their product into a more attractive and user-friendly device. Hunt attributes this improvement to the struggles that they encountered early on.
“By failing and failing fast, we had to learn and refocus constantly to build a quality product,” Hunt says.
Today, the emerging start-up is operating at great efficiency and direction. Hunt describes their daily operations as “spontaneous” with tasks that include “finalizing the Circuit Board for Spor, discussing purchasing with suppliers, and developing assembly infrastructure.” “For the most part at this stage, we are in fulfillment and planning mode,” he adds.
Currently Spor has just come from the high of their biggest venture yet. After boldly launching an ambitious Kickstarter campaign for $100,000 in 30 days this past summer, the company exceeded expectations by reaching a massive $112,408 in funding from 1,439 backers. The power move gave them global traction and national attention. But despite the recent fame, the start-up’s goals are simple and focused.
“We want to fulfill our Kickstarter crowdfunding order while also finalizing product build,” Hunt says. “Ultimately, we want to be able to empower people more though solar electricity.”
As for advising other rising and imaginative inventors and professionals, Hunt reflects on his journey with Spor as the drive for his current successes and life lessons.
“Your success in life will be directly proportional to your ability to solve problems,” Hunt says.