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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 today 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.

- Ends -

For further information, please contact:

M&S Corporate Press Office

0208 718 1919

Notes to Editors:

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About ChargedUp

ChargedUp, dubbed "The Boris Bikes of phone charging" in press, provides a network of vending stations where you can borrow a powerbank, charge your phone and drop it back off when you’ve finished, anywhere in the network. Using the ChargedUp app, users can find their nearest station, located in cafes, bars and retail locations and scan the QR code on the unit to release the battery. Prices start from 50p for 30 minutes, up to £3 for a full 24-hours usage. The ChargedUp batteries work on all phones and tap into the sharing economy model.

About Founders Factory

Founders Factory is the world’s best partner for founders. Started by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory has received investment from Marks & Spencer, L’Oreal, easyJet, Guardian Media Group, Aviva, Holtzbrinck and CSC.

Combined with its full-time team of 70 specialists it provides founders with the best platform to launch or scale their startup.

Founders Factory creates 13 new startups every year. They validate ideas, build founding teams, find first customers and invest directly in each startup. Its accelerator invests in 35 startups every year.

Founders Factory invests cash, six months of bespoke support from our team and provide commercial opportunities with its corporate investors.

To date Founders Factory has backed and built over 90 companies and will reach over 200 within five years. Founders Factory has secured over 60 pilots for its startups with its corporate partners. Crucially over 30% of those pilots have lead to enterprise contracts and a further five to direct investments.

Making M&S Special 

In November 2017 Marks & Spencer set out a transformation programme for the business concentrating on Restoring the Basics, Shaping the Future and Making M&S Special. 

Under this transformation programme, Making M&S Special, M&S has to date announced:  

People & Structure Changes

Since Steve Rowe became CEO in April 2016, M&S has set about streamlining and changing its operational and leadership structure. The Clothing & Home and Food businesses have been established as two separate business units, each with full P&L accountabilities, and independently managed.

Additionally, the senior leadership team has been strengthened by reducing in number and fully empowering its Operating Committee, and a number of senior hires, including:

  • David Guise, HR Director, appointed October 2016
  • Mel Smith, Strategy Director, appointed May 2017
  • Jill McDonald, Clothing & Home MD, appointed October 2017
  • Victoria Self, Digital Director, appointed January 2018
  • Sharry Cramond, Food Marketing Director, appointed January 2018
  • Lawrence Christensen, Independent Advisor on Supply Chain, appointed March 2018
  • Julian Richer, Independent Advisor on Culture Change, appointed March 2018
  • Stuart Machin, Food MD, appointed April 2018
  • Wes Taylor, Menswear Director, appointed May 2018
  • Neil Adams, Food Transformation Director, appointed May 2018
  • Jill Stanton, Womenswear & Kidswear Director, appointed July 2018
  • Humphrey Singer, CFO, appointed July 2018
  • Nick Hewitt, Director of Finance, Food, appointed August 2018
  • Kirsty Ward, Director of M&S Bank and Services, appointed September 2018
  • Jeremy Pee, Chief Digital & Data Officer, appointed September 2018