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Alumni and founders of ChargedUp, Hugo Tilmouth and Hakeem Buge

University of Exeter entrepreneurs feature in Forbes 30 under 30 list

University of Exeter alumni and founders of ChargedUp, Hugo Tilmouth and Hakeem Buge have made it onto the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list of social entrepreneurs, which was published in February. 

The two entrepreneurs from the University’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall graduated from their Renewable Energy course in 2017. While at university, with the support of Student Startup advisors, they began work on a business idea for a green grab-and- go solution to phone charging. This developed into ChargedUp, the “Boris Bike of Phone Charging” (BBC) and the UK’s first mobile phone charging network of its kind.

When reflecting on this accolade, Hugo commented, “It is something we never imagined happening, it is nice to get recognition as a green tech company and as Social Entrepreneurs outside Cornwall. What we do isn’t just hi-tech but also green and has a greater social impact in changing the way we think about energy consumption.”

Student Startup Officer, David Walker adds: “From a University and a Cornish perspective it is fantastic to see the business has gone from strength to strength. Not only in a financial sense but also the international recognition and growing reputation that the founders have achieved.”

Since launching, their company has benefited from further support programmes and rounds of financial investment, allowing them to rapidly grow to having almost 300 phone charging venues in London and employ more people to help run their green tech company. They have recently had to move to a larger location in central London.

2019 has already been a busy year for the duo, as they recently signed a new deal with Marks and Spencer CEO, Steve Rowe to trial the mobile charging stations in their London stores. In Hugo’s words, “it was great to have the support from someone at the very top noticing what we are doing and wanting to support it.” They have also successfully secured investment of £1.2 million from the likes of JamJar - the Innocent drinks founders' venture capital fund, and The Garage Soho.

Hugo’s advice to future student entrepreneurs: “While we have been more successful with large funding rounds recently, to get here we built on a budget and continue to think creatively when proving concepts at each iteration. If you can build something great and successful with £500, you will be more likely to secure a project fund at £5000 and so on.”

Date: 12 March 2019

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