Belgian start-up Naki Power is bringing a business model already thriving in China to Europe - with the help of hub.brussels.
The company, founded in China, provides phone battery rental centres for “on the go” re-charging in cities across the continent.
Following consultations last year on expansion in Europe via Brussels, hub.brussels offered the use of its incubator facilities to the start-up. The product was then developed in the Belgian capital, with Naki Power availing of the support provided by hub.brussels, as well as introductions to clusters in the city.
Naki Power received a big boost last week as it also signed a partnership with Telenet, which will offer its customers 24 hours of free phone charging, bringing nationwide exposure to the fledgling company.
As people increasingly use their phones to pay for items and scan QR codes, having sufficient phone battery is becoming vital. In China and other Asian countries, communal battery rental packs are as popular as scooter or bike-sharing schemes.
Battery packs can be rented through the Naki Power app, and can be dropped back to any station – often located in metro stations, museums, cafes and shopping centres.
Naki battery packs are currently available in Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp as well as in France and Germany. Naki CEO Zaccaria Aghemio hopes that the concept will catch on in Europe as another facet of the sharing economy develops.
"In China, the first battery pack rental companies entered the market around 2016. Today there are more than 3 million stations in that country alone," says Aghemio.