Kerbo Charge secure investment on Dragons’ Den

Kerbo Charge has won investment from sustainability angel investor, Deborah Meaden, on Dragons’ Den – with the money set to be used to help roll out their through-pavement electric vehicle (EV) charging channel across the UK.

The team went face to face with Dragons Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies and Steven Bartlett in the hopes of receiving additional funding and the Dragons’ support to expand their business internationally. 

Co-founders Michael Goulden and Ben Whitaker devised the idea for their charging channel after becoming frustrated with the lack of suitable charging options for EV owners without a driveway. Currently, these households need to trail a cable over the pavement which can create a tripping hazard for anyone using the walkway or travel to a public charging point, which can be 5x to 10x more expensive and time-consuming. 

The through-pavement charging channel created by Kerbo Charge solves this issue and was presented to the Dragons in episode 7, season 21.

Residents insert their charging cable into the channel and the self-closing lid snaps shut behind, eliminating the trip hazard. The channel is designed with the UK’s ‘wonky’ pavements in mind and can flex with the pavement surface during installation, ensuring a flush finish without the need for surrounding pavement reinstatement works.

Deborah Meaden recognised the problem this is solving and invested £50,000 to help the business make the product available across the UK. The company currently has live trials in eight local authorities with many more in the pipeline. 

Deborah said on the show: “Local authorities have an impending massive problem that is going to cost a fortune…This is a very cost-effective way of dealing with this driving issue and there is a lot of cash around for solving these problems. You have a legislative drive, you have a lot of cash available. You’ve got a perfect storm.”

With the EV space still in its infancy, exposure on the BBC hit show is a great opportunity to share innovative products like Kerbo Charge to help deliver the charging infrastructure needed for more people to go electric, so that they don’t have to wait in the cold or pay through the nose for commercial charging during their normal local driving.  

With all manufacturing in the UK, the start-up has plans to become a big British export success story, with the goal of being in every city of the world for people who do not have off-street parking. 

Ben Whitaker, co-founder of Kerbo Charge comments: “The Dragons understand just how challenging it can be to introduce a new product and change people’s minds about what is possible – we hope that with their help we can persuade local authorities to approve more installations, and terraced home-owners that there are now solutions to let them charge their EV’s cheaply at home so that they make the switch to clean vehicles more quickly.”

The episode aired on the 15th of February and is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer

Nottinghamshire County Council is the latest local authority to trial a through-pavement channel developed by Kerbo Charge, which will allow residents without a driveway to charge their electric vehicle right from their home

Kerbo Charge and Milton Keynes City Council were shortlisted in the Best collaborative partnership: transport and energy sectors category at last year’s Transport + Energy Awards.

Image from BBC shows Kerbo Charge founders Michael and Ben pitching to the Dragons on 15 February, 2024 (image: BBC).

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