News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Startup launches “Australian-first” phone accessory vending machine

Those of us afflicted with first-world problems know exactly how frustrating it is when our phone battery goes flat with no charger within reach or we’ve forgotten our earphones at home. But Queensland startup MobileCentral24/7 has developed a simple, yet ground-breaking solution!

Brisbane-based entrepreneurs, Julian Yates and Joe Stagnitti are now launching their remarkably simple solution to a common mobile dilemma. Let us introduce to you Australia’s first 24/7 phone accessory vending machine!

“MobileCentral24/7 machines provide essential phone accessories. From business people who are travelling to tourists and backpackers and the general public, MobileCentral24/7 can save them when they find themselves in a tight spot,” says Yates.

Whether you’re arguing with your ex-partner or conducting a business teleconference, when your phone battery dies in the middle of an important conversation, it is a first-world nightmare.

And let’s not forget, we’re a society of strangers and we’ll do anything to privatise a public space. So when we leave our earphones at home it means we can’t block out the noise in our surroundings with music stored in our phones!

Not to worry, because MobileCentral24/7 has come to our rescue – well, to Queensland’s rescue. But soon enough the vending machines will be available throughout Australia and New Zealand.

From idea conception to business reality

As with many new products, the idea behind MobileCentral24/7 came from personal experience when Stagnitti found himself in a bind.

“As the owner of a telecommunications business I often receive phone calls after-hours from customers at airports and hotels desperately trying to find somewhere to buy a phone charger after they had left theirs behind,” says Stagnitti.

“I found myself in a similar situation – on a business trip interstate, I arrived late at my hotel only to realise I had no phone charger and a flat phone!”

After having to wait until morning to set out and battle for car parks and through shoppers to find an appropriate store, Stagnitti realised how much easier it would’ve been if a phone charger was available in a vending machine in the hotel foyer.

But it was a while before Stagnitti acted upon the idea. When he shared it with Yates the transformation of idea to business reality started to take shape.

Yates says, “It was over a lunch and a few wines he confided in me and I thought what a fantastic concept. Before he knew it I was researching Vending machines, manufacturers and so on, calling him two days later to say we had a test machine on its way from China – it was too good of an idea to sit on any longer!”

Over a period of 13 months, Stagnitti and Yates undertook hard work and research, studying other vending systems and their products, as investigating legal requirements, trademarks, branding, business plans, and operation plans.

Since installing the first machine in 2012, the entrepreneur duo have been inundated with requests from businesses and venues wishing to host the machines, as well as a mass of feedback and support from consumers.

“We have used this feedback to improve the prototype by going completely ‘cash-less’ with the latest payment technology from Nayax installed and processed by Bankwest, and a new agreement for exclusive products from CMI Accessories,” says Yates.

“It is clear that these machines fill a real need in our technology-dependent society while offering the valuable convenience consumers want at comparable prices to those found in-store.”

All of their hard work has paid off with a successful launch now underway, and with the systems for growth already in place.

For entrepreneurs with a brilliant idea, here’s some advice from Yates: “Research, research, research! And then when that is done, establish a business plan, consult with professionals such as accountants and solicitors, work hard at making it a reality and most of all, believe in your idea.”

Businesses interested in hosting a MobileCentral24/7 machine can contact MobileCentral24/7 Development and Contracts Manager Garry Grant on garry@mobilecentral247.com.au or visit www.mobilecentral247.com.au for more information.





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