A couple of high-tech entrepreneurs want to charge your devices. All of them. At once. Mitch Randall, a tech-game lover who was trying to keep bug robots running around on a charged pad, and Izhar Matzkevich, who worked for a wireless power provider, teamed up in 2005 to pitch a more practical use for Randall’s robotic bug pad.
Matzkevich is chairman and president of Scottsdale-based Wildcharge, which is also the moniker for his partner’s invention.
You can toss iPods, BlackBerries iPhones and RAZRs onto the small thin pad and charge them all at once. The company is getting ready to launch a larger pad that will charge a laptop as well, Matzkevich said.
And a flip-top charger for use in a car is on the drawing board. Wildcharge pads are magnetic, so a car version wouldn’t be as tipsy-prone as you might imagine.
To ready a device for a Wildcharge, you have to buy a sticker that connects with the device’s battery, or a gel wrap that has the tiny charge connectors embedded.
Wildcharge has developed gel wraps or stickers for selected devices, but in a month the company will launch a new product line with universal connectors that could be used with almost any PDA or cell phone, Matzkevich said.
Eventually, he hopes manufacturers will start including the charge connectors in the manufacturing process.
At least one luxury car maker is talking to Wildcharge about an embedded-in-the-dashboard device, Matzkevich said.
Matzkevich even envisions giant-sized Wildcharge pads kept in the garage to power up all of a household’s power tools.
The local company has been getting lots of buzz from the tech world.
Wildcharge has been dubbed one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2007, and it earned a similar accolade from Entrepreneur magazine. The product also snagged a Best of Innovations Award at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show.
Intel demonstrated the product in a laptop case, Matzkevich said.
And just about every consumer technology writer has penned an opinion about the device.
But Matzkevich said the beauty of the Wildcharge is that, “You don’t have to be an (electrical engineer) to enable a device. We want to make charging devices a no-brainer.”
So far, you can only buy the Wildcharge online, at www.wildcharge.com.
But the company is in talks with “specialty retailers,” although Matzkevich wouldn’t say which ones, and cell phone stores, about stocking the products. And he hopes someday you’ll be able to buy a Wildcharge every place you can buy an electronic gadget, from Wal-Mart to Best Buy.
Matzkevich said the company has sold “not millions, but thousands” of the pads.
He is so enthusiastic that the new products will widen acceptance of Wildcharge that he has opened an office in Switzerland to market the products in the United Kingdom and Europe.
The Scottsdale Airpark, where Wildcharge set up its worldwide headquarters — although that may be considered an ambitious label for a company with fewer than two dozen employees — is a hotbed of entrepreneurial enterprise, said Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick Kidder. That’s especially true for software and other high-tech start-ups that share synergies with other small businesses in the commercial complex.
So Kidder is not surprised Wildcharge established its roots there.
“The Airpark has been the place where little innovative ideas take off,” Kidder said.