Venture Lab is pleased to announce the creation of a new Entrepreneur in Residence program, a marker of the continued growth for the newly-formed entrepreneurship center. The newly-established position is a long-term engagement with the center to provide workshops, office hours, and general advising/mentoring to support early-stage student and alumni ventures in our Venture Initiation Program. Open to all Penn alumni, the role doubles as a meaningful way for former participants of the program to return to their innovative roots and support the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university. After a strict selection process, the center is delighted to announce that Doug Baldasare, CEO and Founder of ChargeItSpot, a world leader in cell phone charging stations, will serve as the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence. Baldasare developed the concept for ChargeItSpot during his time in the program as an MBA student at the Wharton School and continues to serve as CEO.
In 2012, as a participant in the Venture Initiation Program, Baldasare decided to test his product by driving to a Philadelphia grocery store and waiting for the first user to charge their device. Over the course of six hours, more than four dozen individuals used the kiosk. Since that initial test run, ChargeItSpot has forged partnerships with Target, Nordstrom, Under Armour, Bloomingdales, Gap, The North Face, Westfield Malls, T-Mobile Arena, Penn Medicine, UPMC, and others. “It took us four years to charge our first million phones, and now we’re charging about a million phones every 100 days,” said Baldasare. “It’s really a testament to the continued and growing need for our service.”
Prior to starting ChargeItSpot, Baldasare was an executive at The NewsMarket, a digital marketing firm backed by Apax Partners, Softbank Capital, and Battery Ventures. At The NewsMarket, Douglas served as Director of Sales in London, selling to Global 500 companies across Europe. While based in Beijing, he served as Director of the company’s Asia-Pacific division before, during, and after the 2008 Olympics. Douglas served as Chief of Staff to the CEO & Founder of The NewsMarket and also has experience working at Amazon and Interbrand.
The Venture Initiation Program, the university’s long-standing student accelerator and incubator, has grown exponentially to provide programming opportunities both in Philadelphia and in San Francisco, at the Wharton School’s Bay Area campus. “Over the years, students consistently named mentorship, guidance and community support as the most valuable aspect of the program,” says Valentina Goutorova, Venture Initiation Program Director. “Now, with the program serving over 400 ventures, an opportunity for students to learn from industry experts and successful alumni first-hand has become crucially important. We are thrilled to have Doug this year and appreciate his commitment in supporting the program.”
The program has launched more than 1,000 startups since its inception in 2001, with companies such as Burrow, Cotopaxi, and Warby Parker, credit their success to the advising, funding, and mentorship received during their time in the program. “Entrepreneurs like Doug, who is currently operating ChargeItSpot and can relate to our student entrepreneurs, are a tremendous resource for our VIP ventures,” said Jeffrey Babin, Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship and VIP Advisor. “Doug’s insight into building successful sales initiatives has been a critical supplement to our curricular and co-curricular programming for VIP.”
Venture Lab aims to support all student-led ventures across the University of Pennsylvania through expanded opportunities to network with alumni that are industry leaders, venture capitalists, and successful founders. Through Venture Lab, students are encouraged to bring their nascent ideas to introductory sessions where staff and faculty can assess and guide them on the best path to venture development. The center leverages the depth of alumni talent to support its initiatives.
About Venture Lab
Venture Lab is a resource for any Penn student who is interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. We maximize the ability of our students and alumni to address important challenges through entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking. Ignited by great ideas, our faculty, students, and alumni turn innovative concepts into scalable and sustainable businesses and bring entrepreneurial development to existing companies eager for change. In a world hungry for productive innovation, our disciplined approach challenges concepts, focuses ideas, and provides the know-how to turn fledgling businesses into strong, enduring organizations. Learn more at venturelab.upenn.edu
About the Wharton School
Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who change the world. With a faculty of more than 235 renowned professors, Wharton has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA and doctoral students. Each year 13,000 professionals from around the world advance their careers through Wharton Executive Education’s individual, company-customized, and online programs. More than 99,000 Wharton alumni form a powerful global network of leaders who transform business every day. For more information, visit www.wharton.upenn.edu.
ChargeItSpot® partners with the biggest brands in the world to elevate the in-store mobile experience for customers. In an ever-evolving retail environment, we deliver technologies to keep consumers powered up and germ free. Phone batteries die and phone surfaces are filthy. We solve both problems with an elegantly designed, phone charging and UV-C sanitizing solution. The magic happens behind steel lockers to ensure that phones are secure, enabling consumers to continue shopping with peace of mind. What’s best, it’s completely free to the consumer.