An Irish co-founded start-up based in London that is already selling globally is looking to conquer the US market.
Founded in 2016 by Irishmen Eoin Cooney and Niall McGuinness, along with Randolph Manderstam, ARROE have developed a smart charging system for laptops and other mobile devices that allows people the freedom to work from anywhere and use their devices however they want without battery limitations.
After a soft launch only months ago, ARROE is already selling in stores globally and signed a contract with the worlds biggest IT distributor Ingram Micro and are about to launch in the United States with Amazon Launchpad and the consumer tech giant Best Buy.
Eoin Cooney, ARROE CEO and co-founder, told The Irish World: “It’s been really exciting. At the moment we are selling globally, we’re shipping internationally.
“We did a soft launch last year so we’ve been kind of selling in stores in Tokyo, the Netherlands, Germany and in the US for the last few months.
“Now we’re doing a big push in the US. We’re doing a three pronged approach where we’re launching with Amazon Launchpad, Best Buy and Ingram Micro and so that’s really exciting to have that traction and a huge part of that comes from a guy called Ryan Hartley. He joined us last year. I’ve known him for about ten years. We actually worked together previously but he joined us last year after a 20+ year career at Belkin and he helped grow the company. He’s got a huge amount of experience and a wealth of contacts globally. He’s been a huge asset to the company.
“We started the company in 2016. The first year was just figuring out exactly what we were doing and then we have spent the last four years developing the technology so it’s been a relatively slow, very challenging process doing that.
“But in the last year, with incredibly challenging circumstances, we have seen a huge amount of progress and traction so things have been really ramping up over the last year which is really exciting.”
However, Eoin explains that the real genesis of his current company lies in his previous venture, Slaint.
“Actually previous to ARROE, I had another company which was kind of in the same vein. It was kind of a pre-cursor to this which was bags with an integrated charging system for personal devices.
“I was doing that for about a year but what I realised was as much as people liked different products they were really mostly interested in the technology element and being able to charge all their devices on the go so basically I decided to focus on that rather than the other products, the bags and stuff like that. That’s how ARROE came to be so it’s been a long journey and it’s been very interesting.”
As well as a physical charging device, an accompanying app monitors the battery levels of all your mobile devices in one place and notifies users when charging is required.
“We have two products. One is a charging solution for all devices including laptops and that allows people to work from anywhere they want. Then we have the battery management software which helps people to make sure that their devices are always charged when they need them to be. It also helps them optimise the battery of all their devices which actually extends the life of all their devices.
“For instance, leaving your device continuously plugged in is not good for the battery. Even charging devices up to 100% and letting them drop down to 0% is also bad for the battery and makes the battery degrade faster.
“What we’re doing is all about basically making sure you always have your devices charged when you need them and then also taking into account battery health and longer lifespans of your devices so they last longer and then there’s benefit for the environment and consumers.”
Although working from home has been imposed on many with little choice, Eoin feels the crisis and repeated lockdowns have sped up a journey that was already taking place with more people looking for a greater balance between work and life.
“There were already trends in play like people working from home. We like to call it working from anywhere. You can work from home but you can also work from anywhere else you choose to work from.
“There were already lots of millions of mobile workers in the world and that was already trending and becoming a much larger market but then almost overnight, with Covid, everybody started working from home and it’s going to be really interesting once things reopen how people continue to work.
“I think that a lot of people have gotten used to having more control over their work-life balance so I think people aren’t going to want to go back to working all day every day in the office and at the same time they’re probably not going to want to spend all their time working from home so it’s going to be, in my view, a combination of office-home and potentially other spaces: Cafes, co-work spaces and stuff like that.
“We feel as a company we have personally positioned ourselves now to take advantage of that post-lockdown environment.
“Initially we all worked from home or worked from anywhere and then we had a base and a co-working space in London. Once the pandemic hit we pulled out of that space. At the moment we don’t have a fixed office space and in a way it allows us to actually do what we’re selling. We’re all working from anywhere, we’re all working on the go, we’re all working from where we want effectively. I think that’s important to us. In the future, I definitely would like to have some kind of space that we can use moving forward.”
ARROE’s free battery management software is available for all devices, on iOS, Android, Windows and macOS.
“We have this battery management software which is free and we would love people to download it and start using it. It’s free to use, it tells them what to charge and when, extends the lifespan of their battery and there’s a hundred other features as well.”
ARROE’s system may be perfect for the millions of mobile workers in the new remote work economy but it was developed for those who are always on the move and not necessarily for work.
“It’s interesting because initially when we developed the product it was somewhat geared towards people who travel frequently whether it’s for business or pleasure. Obviously that kind of came to a dead end over the last few months and hopefully it will reopen again later this year but really we see it as, initially anyway, people who don’t work in an office nine to five, they’re on the go. That can include people working in sales, creatives, people working in coffee shop environments, that kind of thing. There are alll these other areas that we haven’t really tapped into yet where people have to work on the go. It can be government workers and stuff like that so we have yet to tap into those other markets.
“One really good example is photographers, people who want to go off into the wilderness and take amazing photos.
“On our website there’s actually a campaign video and we have three different profiles. One is a business traveller, one is somebody who works from home and the other is a photographer.
“We’ve had really great feedback from photographers particularly because with the battery cartridge system that we have you can just bring as much power as you want with you.”
Originally from Killiney in Dublin, Eoin came to London over a decade ago now currently living in Dalston.
Eoin worked in consumer goods/tech for 17 years. He worked with designer luggage brands across project/product management and product/business development in addition to retail, licensing and franchising.
In 2009 he worked with Apple on developing a range of consumer electronics accessories before building this into a global category and selling the license to Belkin.
“I’ve been here fourteen years, something like that. Quite a long stint. I’ve kind of lived all over the city.
“I studied design and law previously in Dublin and then in the UK I studied business.
“I spent a good few years working for different companies mostly global brands bringing bringing new products to market, things like that.”
How has Brexit impacted the fledgling business? “It’s interesting. I think that because of the stage that our company is at, which is just beginning to bring the product to market, it hasn’t actually impacted us as badly as I would have expected and with the shipping and things like that. It hasn’t presented major issues for us yet. It’s obviously not massively convenient but it hasn’t been a complete disaster.
“If we had had a long established distribution base in the UK that was servicing all of Europe, that would have been far more problematic but I think the timing for us has worked pretty well where we’re able to kind of establish our logistics network post-Brexit.”
ARROE recently launched a campaign on Crowdfund, the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform, which ended last week giving people the chance to become a shareholder. The company quickly exceeded its minimum target of £500,000.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. We hit our minimum target in the first day and we have gotten almost 400 investors behind us so it’s been really rewarding to get all the people involved. The people who have been able to follow our journey over the last few years and have kind of seen the challenges that we’ve come up against, we have been able to get them all involved and own a little part of the company. It is really rewarding and it’s really lovely frankly to see everyone you know coming together to support the business and that they believe in what you’re doing.
“In general, we are looking for more investors.”
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