Joos: Covid-safe Charging, Sweeping Through the UK’s Retail Sector and Beyond

At the outbreak of the pandemic, startups were faced with a choice. Adapt or die. Unlike large corporations, start-ups typically don’t have the luxury of large cash reserves kept for a rainy day.

While some start-ups experienced an upturn in sales & have achieved great success, others pivoted and completely changed their offering; over at Joos, the writing was on the wall—there was no better time to innovate & adapt—with customer safety imperative to the new offering.

Under the former brand name, ChargeBolt, the team successfully launched its product in June 2019, growing to over 1500 locations in its network, most notably achieving over 2000% growth in its network size in Q4 alone. While the team now had proof that the imported concept of power bank rental was a winner, the pandemic accelerated long-held aspirations to build their own product to dominate the Western markets.

Staying Safe

In early 2020, the UK team crafted a new brand & identity for their offering. At the same time, the newly formed tech & product team based in Hangzhou, the Silicon Valley of China, was busy with perfecting the technology behind the newly designed Joos product suite.

Importantly, the team also moved to establish ownership of their own factory & production. After purchasing this vital piece of the jigsaw, Team Joos had successfully fully integrated their own supply chain, which not only distinguished them as the only tech company outside based outside of China to do so, but also meant it completely removed the need to use white labelled products.

Central to the newly designed power banks and charging units, aptly named ‘Joos Boxes’, are the numerous embedded safety features that ensure safe charging in environments where Covid-19 remains present. All power banks are manufactured with medical-grade, anti-microbial plastic to minimise the risk of carrying any viral agent. Furthermore, the power banks are also ‘quarantined’ after use for a set period of time to ensure that the viral agents have time to be broken down. Even the very design of the new Joos box – moving from the ‘toaster’ model to the ‘mini-fridge’ model – was taken to ensure that the power banks were protected from airborne germs & diseases.

Revolutionising Retail

Following a successful 12-month trial in November 2020, Joos began a nationwide rollout of their charging solution across Hammerson’s portfolio of shopping centres. A deal that signified not only Joos’ intent to dominate charging in the retail sector but also one that will springboard Joos into Ireland & across Europe in the months to come.

This partnership undoubtedly proved that the shared charging model was here to stay whilst indicating that the days of the outdated charging lockers are numbered.

“This deal and nationwide rollout show that regardless of the turmoil Covid has thrown at the retail sector, charging in these venues needs to change, and Joos is the answer. We’re so pleased to have installed across the portfolio and are extremely excited to form a long-lasting and fruitful relationship with Hammerson.” – Joshua Baah, Co-Founder at Joos.

Over the past few years, owing to the wider societal digital transformation, the retail sector has become increasingly aware of the benefits of a ‘charge n’ shop’ solution vs the ‘lock n’ charge’ incumbent. Moreover, with an increasing body of evidence emerging around the impact of low battery anxiety on consumer spending, it has become clear that Hammerson will be the first mover in a mass exodus to a charge on the move solution.

Having installed at a number of the UK’s other top shopping centres, Joos appears poised to dominate a sector desperate to strike back a blow in the ongoing battle between the High Street vs online retailers. As centres duly reopen throughout 2021, customers will be able to charge with Joos whilst they shop.

Future Growth

On top of installing units at some of the UK’s most popular shopping centres, the Joos Team rolled out their ‘Joos Box Mini’ stations to hundreds of venues across the UK. Creating a network of Joos Boxes will allow them to operate a ‘Santander Bike’ like network model, maximising usage as customers pick up and drop off at their convenience.

When corporate spending on infrastructure is understandably limited, it will be unsurprising to see a host of other sectors adopt Joos’ completely FREE service. However, with the Joos Team installing & maintaining the stations for free, it will now be a matter of when and not if other high footfall areas such as Airports, Train Stations & Stadiums receive the new generation of phone charging, allowing them to keep their customers charged & economically active.

With the pandemic only accelerating society’s digital transformation (contactless, QR codes etc.), the move from ChargeBolt to Joos has positioned this team to become the global leader in smartphone charging.