The Bold Knot is a neatly designed top-up battery pack aiming to prevent smartphone users from running out of battery towards the end of the day. Plug it in and your beloved handset will get a fuel injection (equivalent to three hours’ extra talk time). The idea is to offer a more portable — and more stylish — alternative to carrying a full-size power pack.
The top-up charger can also double as a USB cable, allowing for sequential charging of the Knot’s 700mAh cell immediately after it’s charged your phone — all from the same USB port. The team also claims their device charges your phone 2x faster than other USB cables.
While it’s a neat looking prototype at this point, what’s most interesting about the Bold Knot — aside from its cute, keyring-esque design — is the team behind it hails from the West Bank.
The founders, business development consultant Lama Mansour and engineer Ismat Tuffaha, are both 22 years old and both Palestinian. They met at university and started work on one startup but found it too difficult to grow the business there because of border restrictions where they lived. Bold Knot is their second attempt at a startup.
They’re currently raising crowdfunds on Indiegogo to get the device to market — but even getting to this pre-launch stage of business development required they leave the West Bank, so they’re now building the business out of Europe.
Access to funding is of course the lifeblood of startups. And economic conditions for Palestinians entrepreneurs remain hugely challenging, to say the least. A World Bank report published this week warned that the economy of the Gaza Strip, the other Palestinian territory, is on the verge of collapse, with unemployment set to reach a staggering 44 per cent, following last year’s 50-day conflict with Israel.
“As all doors were closed in Palestine, we sought an international fund, got accepted at Buildit Hardware Accelerator in Estonia, received a €10K fund in return for 6% equity. We couldn’t have launched or taken the project anywhere before leaving Palestine,” the team tells TechCrunch.
At the time of writing the Knot has pulled in more than $45,000 in crowd pledges — well beyond their original goal of $15,000. It’s being offered to backers starting at $39, with an estimated shipping date of this October.