Wish your smartphone could recharge in 60 seconds? These guys are here to help
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on Reddit
Share on Email

Left: StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf. Right: StoreDot Senior VP Alan Weisleder. Photo Credit: PR

Israeli hardware startup StoreDot is not afraid to think big. Their 60-second charging battery could dominate the smartphone market – and that’s just the beginning

StoreDot is a three-year-old startup that specializes in the chemistry behind everyday devices like your smartphone and flash memory sticks. The company’s 30 employees occupy a cramped space in a non-descript building in the non-descript city of Ramat Gan, Israel.

And that’s actually surprising. Because if life were a Hollywood movie, StoreDot would be located in a top-secret underground facility, with body scanning elevators and corporate spies shadowing your every move, a la Julia Roberts in the film Duplicity.

Why? Because StoreDot is onto something big. So big, that if they beat their competitors to market, they could dominate the portable battery market, worth an estimated $10 to $30 billion.

A battery that charges in 60 seconds

The pain point that StoreDot’s battery addresses is not hard to understand. If someone told you that a smartphone battery will soon become available that lets you charge your phone in 60 seconds, you’d say “where can I get one?” Even the most type-A personality has occasionally found themselves without juice and without the two hours to spare that it currently takes to charge a standard lithium-ion smartphone battery.

“We can do it in less than 60 seconds, we already have a working prototype,” StoreDot’s CEO Doron Myersdorf told Geektime.

StoreDot hasn’t reinvented the smart phone battery so much as vastly improved it, the company’s Senior Vice President for Business Development, Alan Weisleder, told Geektime.

“Our battery works just like a traditional lithium-ion battery,” he says. “There are two electrodes—an anode and a cathode.  In the middle you have an electrolyte. The ions flow from the annode to the cathode and from the cathode back to the anode, depending on whether you’re charging or discharging. That’s how all batteries work.”

“Our battery is like any lithium ion battery. It’s just that we’ve added organic materials, most of which we synthesize ourselves, that decrease the resistance. All materials have a resistance to the flow of electrons through them — the more resistance, the more heat is generated and the slower the electrons can move. If you decrease the resistance, the electrons can move a lot faster and there’s a lot less heat.”

Electrons moving faster means the battery can charge much more quickly, explains Myersdorf, and without overheating. This makes StoreDot’s battery safer than traditional lithium ion batteries, which have been known to burst into flames.

StoreDot demonstrated a prototype of its battery at CES in Las Vegas in January. The battery is compact enough to fit into a Samsung Galaxy S5 – and it works! The only downside is that StoreDot’s battery lasts only five hours.

However, says Myersdorf, you most likely won’t have to carry your charger around with you, because StoreDot chargers will be available in public places like coffee shops and airports. In fact, the company has been approached by numerous restaurant chains, including a brand name fast food chain, hoping to improve the customer experience by allowing customers to charge their phones while they wait in line. StoreDot’s battery would add an estimated $50 to the cost of a phone.

The $30 billion dollar question

The big question remains: Will StoreDot be the first to market? What about its competitors?

As with any great idea, StoreDot is not the only company to think about developing fast-charging batteries.

Scientists in Singapore have developed a battery that can recharge 70% of its capacity in two minutes, while researchers at UCLA are working on graphene batteries that could charge an iPhone in 5 seconds. There are even batteries in development that can be charged by contact with your skin or dew in the air.

Myersdorf said his team has studied their competitors carefully. The two leading alternatives, he says, are “not ready for prime time.”

“The battery in Singapore is university-level research. It’s a theoretical proof-of-concept. They’re several years away from a prototype.”

In terms of the graphene battery, he says, “Graphene has been known for many years as a potentially great material. We also believe in it and we are also using graphene in our research.”

According to Myersdorf, graphene is not ready for the market either, as it is still too expensive and unstable.

“We are the only ones who can actually demonstrate a working prototype.”

When will it be ready?

Weisleder says that StoreDot’s battery should be on store shelves between one and two years from now.

First, StoreDot needs to finish developing the technology by making certain improvements to the electrodes. Second, the company needs to sign agreements with several smartphone manufacturers, and third, once these agreements are signed, the technology has to be customized for those specific devices as well as certified.

At present StoreDot is meeting with 15 of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers, companies like Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, Lenovo and LG. In the course of the year, they hope to progress with about five of the top companies.

Wouldn’t it be a smart move for one of these companies to buy StoreDot outright, thereby preventing their competitors from getting their hands on the technology?

Myersdorf and Weisleder agree that this would be a strategic move, but say that StoreDot is not interested in offering any company exclusivity.

“The big players want exclusivity but because we have something special, we’re not willing to give them that,” Myersdorf told Geektime. “We want to work with everyone.”

Even Samsung, one of the company’s funders, will not get first dibs on the technology.

When Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise visit to Israel last Wednesday and Thursday, did he meet with Myersdorf, Geektime asked the CEO.

“I’m not allowed to say.”

Three billion devices in search of a battery

If StoreDot does indeed sign deals with several top smartphone manufacturers, its potential is enormous.

As Weisleder explained, “more and more devices use rechargeable batteries and many of these would benefit from instant charging. We are targeting mobile devices to start — but obviously there are toys, power tools and cars.”

Weisleder explains the math: “There are over a billion smartphones sold every year. In addition, there are hundreds of millions of tablets, and at this point millions of wearable devices. The cost to the manufacturer of the battery and charger is ten dollars — and we’re talking about a potential three billion devices — so that’s a $30 billion market potential.”

Next step, charging electric cars in less than five minutes

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 10.37.08 AM

Photo Credit: StoreDot


Fresh off a $42M Series B funding round last October,  the company says it doesn’t need any more funds to bring its smartphone battery to market. However, it is currently raising another round to develop batteries for electric vehicles. It claims that it can charge electric cars, such as the Tesla, in less than five minutes.

Nevertheless, StoreDot is very choosy about its investors.

What if a group like Sequoia Capital came knocking?

“If there’s a group that we think can add value, we’d obviously consider it,” said Weisleder. “Otherwise our existing investors have deep pockets and can put in whatever money we need to raise. They’re very bullish about the potential.”

The benefits of gray hair


StoreDot at the Geek Awards in January, 2015. Photo Credit: Erez Carmel and Guy Orbach

When Myersdorf, along with his co-founders Professor Simon Litsyn and Professor Gil Rosenman, took to the stage in January to accept their Geek Award for best hardware startup of 2014, the three 50-something entrepreneurs stood out at an event where the average winner was in their 20s or 30s.

“When you deal with software and applications for the Internet, it’s a rapidly changing environment,” explained Myersdorf, “so you see a domination of the younger generation.”

“But with hardware, it’s about the materials. And for that you need gray hair and experience around those industries. There is no magic app that will change the basic rules of physics. Even those who get Nobel Prizes in physics or chemistry, their research is based on many years of hard work in the lab. It’s a very different notion of what constitutes innovation.”

Weisleder takes a more philosophical approach.

“There are three ingredients in life — character and experience—and maybe smarts. None of those decline with age. Until you’re probably 70, you don’t become less smart.”

But beyond that, what spurred StoreDot’s executives to embark on a risky startup venture later in life is that, as Weisleder put it, “we want to leave a dent in the universe.”

“Beyond making money, we want to change the world for the better,” he said. “We don’t mind taking the risk of failing. The pride of being able to bring something like this to market is so huge that you need to be crazy not to try.”

For these reasons, even if a large phone manufacturer offers to buy him out, Myersdorf says he will not be quick to exit. He wants to keep the company in Israel and develop it into something even bigger than a unicorn.

“We want to become a strong research and innovation center and develop new technologies, a big corporation with many business units, like General Electric.”

Now there’s an idea that can really recharge a person’s batteries.

Share on:Share
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on Reddit
Share on Email
Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass

I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

More Goodies From Hardware

Drone startup Identified Technologies mirrors marriage of steel and silicon as Pittsburgh rises

Russo-American company builds Return of the Jedi-inspired drone bike

This Kickstarter makes the debate over Apple’s iPhone 7’s lack of a headphone jack completely irrelevant