History of innovation
Our climate and environment are under constant change – and so should we be.
From the very beginning of its history, humankind has altered the world to suit its own purposes. With climate change threatening our existence, the time has finally come for us to stop and think – before we are forced to do so. So much has changed, yet so much more needs to change if we want to keep our planet viable. To build a more sustainable future, we need to go to the very root of our problems.
That is exactly what Harri Tiainen did as the battery of his wife’s new, expensive phone died after only six months of use. Instead of looking for a faulty battery, he turned his attention to the very source of the problem: the charger. Realizing the problem had to lie in overcharging, Tiainen did as many great minds before him: shut himself in his garage.
There a lightbulb went off in his head and born was the idea of a built-in solution that cuts the power off automatically as soon as the battery has reached the optimal charge. By getting straight to the root of the problem, Tiainen paved the way to a world-changing innovation that is BrightCharger.
If we are to change the world, one person is not enough. By coming together and introducing new solutions available for everybody, we can overcome any problem or obstacle. The world-changing solutions are best made when different minds collide.
Tiainen pitched the idea forward, and a team started to form around it. Soon, one became five, with every member bringing their own unique talent to the group: instinct, innovation, experience, and knowledge. It was a common goal, mutual understanding and a vision of the future that brought these five men together
In late 2014, the company BrightCharger Europe Oy Ltd. was established. The original idea evolved into a finalized product: a USB-charger that was able to stop the charging and cut off power as soon as the battery is optimally charged. The product’s globe-like design with a green light, represented our philosophy of stopping unnecessary consumption and replacing it with carefree, responsible way of charging our lithium-ion batteries.
We have a planet with limitless possibilities but only limited resources
From the very beginning, the five wise men behind the company saw the possibilities the innovation had, both for a single user, and for the whole world. What makes the company’s technology unique is its scalability – it is independent of the device, battery type and voltage.
At first, the innovation of BrightCharger manifested itself in the form of a physical charger, which combined the idea, philosophy, and innovation in one product. They, as any business-savvy start-up would, acquired the necessary patents and trademarks from the start. However, they soon realized that the physical product was not the best route to success.
With more rechargeable devices in the world than ever before, there are naturally more batteries as well – lithium-ion batteries to be exact. And lithium is a finite resource, whose value increases as the mines start to run dry. So instead of producing more material, the men behind BrightCharger wanted to reduce the consumption of resources. The solution was to sell an innovation instead of a product. And thus, we are where BrightCharger is now: A unique, ground-breaking innovation, which provides an energy-efficient and resource-friendly solution to everyone and every device everywhere.
Today, our great innovation, called BrightZero, is spread encapsulated in small microchips intended forchargers and socket outlets. By licensing our technology to microcontroller providers, semiconductors and manufacturers, our innovation is more widely accessible than ever before with the help of our associates. Together, the change is possible.
Charging technology is ubiquitous: from phones and smartwatches to lawnmowers and electric cars. Regardless of the device type, they all deserve a bright charge.
“We insert the “smart” directly into the chip controlling the charger or power source, so that every recharge happens responsibly, safely, and efficiently regardless of the dummy on the receiving end.”
BrightCharger. Be in charge, for a brighter future.
The bright idea was born, and the founder team and BrightCharger Europe Oy Ltd. was established. We created our Industrial Property portfolio strategy and filed our first patents for ‘disconnecting supply of electric charging current’. This was followed by an intense testing and research period, which finally resulted in the creation of the charging control concept. Our mission was clear from the beginning: We wanted to develop our invention into a solution that would stop unnecessary overcharging of devices universally, without dependencies on device or battery types, thus making the concept truly scalable.
R&D started with Tekes (currently Business Finland) in Finland. First prototypes and tech proof with BrightCharger® USB mobile charger with automatic charging cut-off function was created. International Charging Control patent application was filed. International trademarks were granted.
Our technology was introduced to the world as we pioneered our concept of intelligent Charging Control within a USB-Charger. The production of BrightCharger’s intelligent USB charger’s production began in China, and a Crowdfunding campaign in Indiegogo was completed successfully by reaching the goal by 212%. The mobile chargers with our unique auto cut-off feature were sold across Europe and USA. Our charger did what we promised: It always stopped the charging and shut off charger as soon as the battery had reached 90-100% of charge. In addition to the launch of our charger, we began the co-development on integrations to various charger products with various partners.
We entered new markets with our charger integrations by co-operating with industry leaders. In addition, the reference design with BrightCharger® algorithm was developed for USB-C chargers. We worked together with one of the biggest OEM manufacturers that time for mobile chargers (Salcomp) and co-developed the first USB-C mobile charger prototypes using our charger-based software. We also incorporated the intelligence used in the USB-chargers to some of the newest socket outlet models with USB-ports. This development brought us more opportunities to collaborate with major manufacturers in the field of smart building electrification technologies. As a result, we announced our new strategy and business model: The company would now purely focus on direct licensing of its Industrial Property and Charging Control technology to charger and socket outlet manufacturers.
Our new licensing business model was developed as a part of business development project with Business Finland. We continued our R&D, and it was soon confirmed that our Charging Control could also be integrated directly into 110-240 VAC socket outlets and AC adapters. As a result, we filed new patent applications for AC Charging Control. This then led to a collaboration with ABB SynerLeap, which in turn helped us to get more piloting integration projects and exposure within the electrification industry. Further positive developments in 2019 included the launch of European Green Deal framework by the EU Commission (12/2019), which supports BrightCharger’s vision of sustainable charging with intelligent and universal charging control technology.
IP portfolio growing
The patents for Charging Control were finally granted after more than four (4) years processing time. Further on, the patent was extended to cover Germany, France, and the UK at this phase.
Collaborations & validation for scaling
We continued research and testing our technology on several pilots with our industrial partners. Our collaboration with ABB continued, and we started planning the smart AC adapter product application, which would enable a better way to integrate our Charging Control into existing buildings.
During this period our company’s name was changed to BrightCharger Oy. The Company also received a Seal of Excellence certificate from the EU Commission (which was already fourth in a row), for its market scaling project proposal. As the core technology was ready for scaling in existing market of chargers and outlets, we started research on few extended features and validating potential markets for them.
Advancements in regulatory environment
At the same time, the regulatory environment in Europe became more favorable for us. For example, the EU Commission continued promoting the Common Mobile Charger proposal that would only allow USB-C chargers in the EU. This initiative would cut down not only the increase in e-waste and use of plastic, but also consumer frustration and the competition barriers in charger manufacturing. In addition, EU’s Eco-design directive progressed with introduction of new regulations on product quality and energy efficiency, and with laying down requirements for external power supplies, stand-by and off modes etc.
A US Patent was granted for our AC Charging Control. We strive to expand our IPR portfolio aggressively to new areas with Charging Control. Trademark application was filed with BrightZero™.
So far, the BrightCharger technology has been in use for over 5 years. To this day it continues to make users’ charging experience better. It improves everyday safety of both users and infrastructure, and expands batteries’ useful lifespan by cutting the power off as soon as battery is almost full.
The company’s strategy has been updated: The priority is the licensing our IP & Charging control technology to semiconductor and microcontroller providers and manufacturers. They all play an essential role in driving decarbonization via smarter chip designs in chargers, adapters, and electrification products, like socket outlets, which in turn allows us to be a part of the change. Moreover, we are undergoing focused research on potential new product categories as well as business development for scaling the technology even more efficiently.