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Startups / Technology

Ubidock, a hand-held smartphone charger to get you to last call

Ubidock offers portable cell chargers to businesses as a way to keep patrons hanging around instead of slinking back home to recharge. Your credit card is the collateral but it's free if you return the device.

The Ubidock battery can fully charge a device in about two hours. Here cofounder Aaron Florez shares his goals for the company. (Photo by Tyler Waldman)

You’re at a bar or a club or a concert and, after hours of Instagram shots and texts, your smartphone’s battery is dwindling down. So your choices are either bring your charger with you to find an outlet, leave or do without your apps for a few hours.
A startup that relocated recently from Dallas wants to offer restaurateurs and event organizers a carrot to entice patrons to stay while charging their devices without things turning awkward. It’s a hand-held charging device you borrow from the bar.
“Even if we have the cord and the outlet, we don’t want to be standing by the outlet,” said Aaron Florez, president and cofounder of Ubidock, who presented at the December Baltimore TechBreakfast, held Tuesday at the Emerging Technology Centers’ Highlandtown incubator.
“Nothing out there would allow the user to keep their phone in their hand while it’s charging.”
While there are numerous power banks and charging cases on the market for smartphones, Ubidock offers a universal solution that bars can offer to customers. The customer hands the bartender his or her credit card and if the battery is not returned, the customer is charged $60 to $80. Florez likened the solution to free WiFi at a coffee shop.
“As long as you bring my battery back, it’s completely free,” he said.
And like WiFi, it offers business owners a way to keep patrons hanging around.
“If you’re going to stay longer, you’re going to have one more beer, you’re going to have one more shot, you’re going to order some more food,” he said.
Currently, Ubidock has more than 30 signed on, mostly back in Dallas. Ryleigh’s Oyster has become the first Baltimore establishment to sign on to the offering with its Federal Hill and Hunt Valley locations. Ouzo Bay in Harbor East has also started offering Ubidock chargers, according to the startup’s Twitter feed.

Companies: Emerging Technology Centers (ETC Baltimore)
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