Startups

Wireless Devices Using Fewer Wires
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USC Viterbi startup BEZALEL wants to bring wireless charging to every smartphone user

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(Illustration/Jon Proctor)

Frustrated with keeping his phone’s battery charged while on the go, USC Viterbi alumnus Frank Wu, noticed the irony with plugging in a “wireless” phone to charge it.

That’s why Wu founded BEZALEL: to let every smartphone user ditch the power cord and enjoy the benefits of omnipresent wireless charging.

After completing the USC Viterbi Startup Garage program and staging two very successful Kickstarter campaigns, the company now offers two products designed to bring wireless charging convenience to smartphone users.

The first is the pocket-sized Prelude, the first and only rechargeable wireless charger. Once the platform is charged, it can power up mobile devices without being plugged in to a power source.

The second is the Latitude iPhone case, which charges iPhones wirelessly by making them compatible with every type of wireless charger.

“Our goal is to empower consumers with the benefits of wireless charging, both at home and on the go,” said Wu, who as BEZALEL’s CEO and co-founder was recently named a “Top 10 Innovator” by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.

David Van Wenger, a BEZALEL customer, praised the Prelude for being user-friendly and effective.

“To be able to charge my phone wirelessly and not have to rely on the limited amount of phone charge I got overnight is just fantastic,” he said.

Founded in 2013, BEZALEL has raised $1.3 million, part of which will go toward launching an even more advanced version of its Prelude charger by the end of this year.

The company also hopes to raise $8 million to fund R&D, distribution and marketing of a “long-distance” wireless charger that can effectively power up mobile devices up to 28 inches away from the platform.

BEZALEL currently has 10 employees at its Playa Vista, California, headquarters, and five working out of its office in Taiwan.

Clever marketing has helped generate buzz and fuel sales.

The company debuted a commercial video in February 2015 that showcased the results of its long-distance charger. Titled “The Moment,” the video was named a 2015 finalist in the New York Festivals World’s Best Advertising competition.

“It’s a very exciting time for our company as we focus on developing our long-distance charger over the next year,” Wu said. “We believe that our work will help transform how we all use our power-hungry mobile devices.”