An Interview with PlugGo

NETHERLANDS: We’re in an era in which most first world inhabitants would gladly mainline pure Internet directly into their veins if they could, so it’s a wonder that festivals – typically bereft of Wi-Fi and access to power – don’t rapidly devolve into Lord of the Flies type scenarios.

Although wireless internet solutions at festivals are on the rise, the vast majority of smartphones run out of battery after a single day, presumably due to rapid-fire selfies and the inexplicable compulsion to live decidedly out of the moment by watching every act through a four-inch screen.

This is where PlugGo comes in. Their compact mobile phone charger of the same name lets you to dance whilst you revive your phone from the Great Beyond, and all for the price of a beer. Festival Insights spoke with David de Graaf and Koen Hofmans from PlugGo to learn more about how they started and where they’re going.

Festival Insights: Could you tell us a little about the origins of PlugGo?

David de Graaf: Sure. The brilliantly simple concept to charge your phone in your pocket for the price of a beer was thought up by Jurriaan [de Groot]. He introduced the Pluggo product at Pinkpop, Tomorrowland, and Lowlands in 2013. After tremendous positive feedback he joined forces with Koen and myself, who represent the business side of the company. Jurriaan is the crazy inventor. All three of us worked together in a close-knit formation to grow this new brand from three festivals in two countries to over 40 festivals in seven countries. Next year the ambition is further tune our service and solidify our footprint.

FI: PlugGo isn’t the only company offering phone charging services at festivals. What sets you guys apart from your competitors?

Koen Hofmans: We have a few unique selling points, the main being that that we charge your phone in your pocket for the price of a beer. Secondly our handling speed is incredibly fast; we can do over 40,000 charges in a weekend.

There’s also no subscription fee or hefty deposit involved – the average deposit is 10 euros. So you can charge once or a hundred times if you wish, and it’ll only cost you a beer.

DG: We also have two options in regards to the product’s post-festival life. Once the festival is over you can either exchange the device with us for your deposit, or you can keep it. Even if you do choose to take it home and you’re attending a festival that we’re at in the future, you can return it to us then and we’ll still give you back your deposit. It’s sort of like indefinitely borrowing the charger from us. The hope is that one day all of these little Pluggos will return to us.

KH: We do keep very careful track of the ratio of those who return it against those who keep it, but unfortunately that data isn’t something we can divulge.

FI: Do you see the remit of the device as purely festival oriented?

KH: Well the festival industry is our main focus, but PlugGo has value for any large-scale, high-density event in which communication is essential and access to power is scarce. Festivals happen to be the main type of event that fits this scenario, but we’re opening other areas too.

FI: How did you come to be involved with the Festival Awards?

DG: After such a successful season with so much positive feedback from all the festivals we worked with we decided it was time to try to cover more territory. We didn’t have a very big footprint in the UK this year and we’re working together with Steve Jenner to open the UK market for PlugGo. We believe we have the best value proposition for both festival visitor and festival organizer.

PlugGo’s Official Website