BUSINESS - INTERVIEW
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Texenergy Founder and CEO Jerry Ranger
BUSINESS - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
Most things are easier in city life. By only plugging into the electric socket, we can use or charge our electronic devices any way we like. However, we can not have this opportunity during camping, mountaineering, hiking or a rescue operation. At this point, the solution is portable power generators, and if it has a different value to be able to obtain this energy from nature, this is really great.
Jerry Ranger has been conducted research and development for a long time to realize this and has achieved his goals with the Texenergy brand. Texenergy has a wide product range of mobile power generators that use wind, solar and hand turbine technology. I talked to Texenergy Founder and CEO Jerry Ranger about Texenergy products, development processes, and renewable energy. Here is an interview we made about mobile power generators and renewable energy.
Could you tell us about your background and your industry experience?
I join the Royal Marines and served for 8 years. I then had an opportunity to work for a company involved with the design, development, and manufacture of electronic products. This involved working with Universities in the electrical and mechanical laboratories. This gave me a real understanding of the industry and the confidence to launch a company which I called Powertraveller. Powertraveller was one of the first companies to design portable power products for the outdoor adventure market - including aid agencies and the tactical markets. We won many awards including 2 Queens Awards for innovation and export. The company was taken over in 2015 which is when I left to set up Texenergy, with the specific aim of designing and developing power generation products using turbine technology. We are the first company to commercially supply a portable, fold up wind turbine. My experience in the electronic and mechanical engineering industry has also given me the opportunity of working in the Far East for the last 27 years.
How did you first become interested in mobile power generators? What encouraged you?
Having been in the Royal Marines and going on a number of expeditions every year it soon became obvious that in the digital environment we now enjoy, portable power and how to generate power via solar, wind etc was extremely important.
Could you tell us about Texenergy?
Texenergy is the culmination of 30 years experience in the design, development and manufacture of electronic portable power products. However, Texenergy was set up primarily to be involved in the self-generation of power via wind, solar and hand turbine technology.
You need a very good team to achieve success in such a large-scale project. Please tell us about your team. What type of experiences they have?
Our team is a mix of engineers, professors, sales and marketing professionals. It is the team that makes the company work. Combining all the individual skills allows us to understand the problem, create the solution and market and present the range ready for the sales team to launch the products worldwide. Not forgetting the accounts department that have to keep the wheels on the bus by ensuring a positive cash flow and setting budgets especially for future R&D projects.
What types of challenges have you faced along the way of developing Texenergy power products? How did you solve?
One of the biggest challenges was the development of the Infinite Air wind turbine. Trying to balance the size and weight versus the power output - that was also practicable for an individual to carry in their backpack was always going to be difficult. The size of the turbine blades needed to work at a low wind speed but they still had to be able to generate sufficient power. That was the hardest part of the design equation. 3 years in R&D and many design changes later we eventually achieved the now, very successful and commercial Infinite Air wind turbine.
Texenergy has a wide range of power generators. You use three types of a power source; wind power, manpower and solar power. What are the advantages or disadvantages that create a difference between each other?
All three types of power generation have their unique benefits. Solar obviously needs sun and can realistically produce power for about 8hrs a day, but at night has to be folded away. The wind turbine needs a good airflow of 8mph to start generating power and can work through the night. However, when you combine both of these technologies together, the opportunity of generating your own power off grid is limitless. Manpower is viewed very much as the last line of defense in generating power. When all else fails and you have to make that emergency rescue call or to let a loved one know that you're ok. The ability to attach the Infinite Orbit hand crank to your mobile and make that call can be life-saving. There are other technologies that are also emerging that will help anyone off grid to generate power from fuel cells and we have a new product currently in R&D which is a water turbine.
What are the common features of your products? and What are the common benefits of your products to the consumers?
The common feature and benefit is the problem that we are solving - that is, how to generate power as an individual when off grid or during a natural disaster etc. The benefit to the consumer is that our products offer peace of mind that your digital technology - such as lights, radios, and mobiles - can be powered up when the grid goes down or you are away from back up power.
Could you briefly tell us about your ambassador program and your ambassadors? What are their favorite products?
Our ambassador program was initially set up to help the R&D team to test prototypes in real-world situations. To get feedback on the pros and cons of each product. Once a product goes into production the ambassadors will then use them for real on their adventures and we in return get testimonials, photography from the most amazing places on earth. This then helps our customers to relate to the products and gives them assurance that the Texenergy products are well designed for their next adventure.
Which one is your flagship product?
Without any doubt, it is the Infinite Air wind turbine. Over 3 years in development and beautifully engineered and designed. We are all really proud of this product and the feedback has been fantastic.
Do you prefer trade shows for introducing your products to retailers and wholesalers? What do you think about the efficiency of trade shows?
There are three main trade shows that we attend and that specialize in attracting retailers and distributors who service the outdoor market. Trade shows are incredibly important as we often meet customers we have not heard of and also get to understand the market sector better by seeing what other companies are launching for the future. We have also connected with a large number of clothing brands now wanting to work with companies like ours to integrate technology into their designs. Trade shows allow us to showcase our latest products and also socialize with our existing customers. It is also good for our team to attend the shows to see how all their hard work has culminated in the presentation of the brand and products and understand how the complete team makes the brand.
Social media has become part of the business world. How do you use social media for your brand awareness? Which one do you prefer?
Social media is amazing and also a nightmare. We are all aware that we need to be present on many of the social platforms but it is very transitory. It requires its own budget and team to maintain a constant presence. If done well we know it helps with brand awareness and introduces the brand to a wider audience, which helps our distributors and retailers. Working out exactly the return on spend seems much harder than say attending trade shows. We do get figures of click-throughs, conversion rates etc but I have to admit this is not my area of expertise. I personally do not have a preference on which platform to use.
Texenergy has different solutions for every mobile device users. How can our readers buy Texenergy products?
We have a distribution network across Europe and Asia and supply product globally via our commerce web site. Texenergy.com
What do you think about the future of renewable energy?
The future of renewable entry is amazing! Technology is moving so fast with better ways of storing power in lighter and more robust formats. The ability to generate your own power using all the natural elements is still in its infancy really and will develop in an ever-increasing way. It is an incredibly exciting industry to be involved in.
What are your future plans for the Texenergy?
As well as refining what we have already developed by making the wind turbine more efficient and more powerful, we are very excited to be working on a range of water turbine projects that can be used in the domestic environment as well as off grid.
Thank you Jerry.