Business & invest
Klackit charges towards bright future
Marshall Hall | July 1, 2021
Two mates having a beer in a Gold Coast pub while their mobile phone batteries died led to a business idea that is taking Australia by storm.
As Nicholas John and Kirk Stoten enjoyed the afternoon in the Surfers Paradise hotel, the pair wondered why there were breathalyser machines and cigarette vending machines but there was nowhere they could charge their phones.
Nick, who has a 20-year history in service technology, and Kirk, who had a background in advertising, have since combined their talents to create Klackit.
Klackit provides kiosks to hotels, venues and events that charges phones at no cost while also providing an advertising platform.
The Klackit phone charging kiosks are now found in more than 200 venues throughout Queensland and another 90 venues in Fiji and New Zealand.
But, while it was a winning idea, it has not been an easy journey to success for the pair. Nick, who went to school at The Southport School and Kirk who went to school at Somerset College, struggled to have a prototype built.
“It took more than a year to get our first prototype built exactly the way we wanted it,’’ says Nick.
“The main reason was because nobody could see our vision and they did not want to know us.
“We eventually had a prototype built by a company in Brisbane but, because they were busy building other machines for other clients, we were not one of their top priorities.
“We built our own software and hardware from scratch and finding cost-effective local fabrication was a challenge, but we succeeded.
“Eventually, we had the final prototype built but even before that had been finished, we had started making deals with venue operators.”
The pair made the decision to base their business on the Gold Coast.
“It’s an evolving city with a fantastic plan going forward,” said Nick.
“The community has also been very supportive and the response to our product has been great.
“We received a lot of advice early on for us to improve our systems even further before rolled out nationally and internationally.”
Once the finished product was completed, the roll-out started exceptionally well with venues and event management companies in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand loving what they saw.
The state-of-the-art phone charging kiosks feature engaging social media tools, secure steel lockers, an easy-to-use interface.
Each kiosk can securely store six mobile phones of all types while they are charging for free in secure steel lockers.
Users enter their details into an interactive touchscreen to secure and retrieve their device from the locker while the company provides live tech support and security camera monitoring 24hrs a day.
“Essentially, we provide free phone charging for patrons while generating revenue via advertising on the kiosk screens,’’ says Kirk.
“For the venues, we increase the dwell time for patrons. In other words, the venue’s customers stay longer rather than heading home to charge their phones.
“It takes staff away from doing unproductive takes and it also allows the venues to promote their own specials in-house on our screens.”
Kirk says the kiosks appealed to wide array of advertisers, ranging from site-specific local advertisers through to national companies such as ride share companies and real estate chains
The roll-out of the kiosks was halted in March 2019 by the dramatic impact of the global COVID-19 health and economic crisis on the hospitality industry.
“Covid hit us particularly hard,’’ says Kirk. “We had a Memorandum of Understanding in place to expand to expand to France and we had signed deals in United Kingdom with several companies before Covid-19 shut it all down.”
Klackit, whose charging stations can be rented and double as a photo booth, also had agreements in place with major event companies and were expected to have a presence at the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition and the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
However, with the Covid-19 crisis easing, Klackit again has a bright future ahead of it.
Kirk says they aim to have 5000 kiosks around Australia within the next five years and the company has plans to expand further internationally.
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