Venture Voice – interviews with entrepreneurs

Entertaining Entrepreneurship

VV Show #42 – Simon Daniel of USBcell

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The battery is an afterthought for most inventors. All the fun seems to be in developing a device, not in powering it. But when was the last time you cursed your phone, camera or podcast player because it ran out of batteries? Simon Daniel got fed up with his batteries, and decided to do something about it. He invented the USBcell, a standard sized battery (yes, it comes in AA) that can recharge using any USB port. This isn’t his first invention. Previously, he invented the folding keyboard and licensed the technology. This time he’s bringing the USBcell to market himself through the company he founded called Moixa (axiom spelled backwards). Though this might force you to think differently, don’t worry, we won’t play the podcast backwards.


1:00 Working at IBM’s scientific center at Winchester between before college

3:15 Went to Christ College at Cambridge University

  • Same year as Sasha Baron Cohen

5:15 Worked at Anderson Consulting (now Accenture)

10:00 Jumping ship to start a new venture and modern art

  • Came up with folding keyboard in mid-1990’s
  • Licensed to Think Outside

13:45 Taking action on an invention

  • “We tend to file a patent on the way to make something rather than the generic idea of something.”
  • “If you just write down the idea itself and don’t do the work, then the patents you get from just doing that stage aren’t that useful.”

18:00 Being too early to market

  • “It’s like having a very good joke which is really funny in two years time when there’s a political situation which is right for it.”

21:00 The company

  • “The word Moixa is the word axiom backwards.”
  • “Rethinking a fundamental assumption.”

24:00 Financing strategies

  • “Ideas should wash their own face pretty quickly.”

26:00 USBcell

  • On traditional battery chargers: “It’s somewhere you’re not.”
  • “It’s that kind of constrained environment that sometime you get an instant solution…”

36:15 Marketing

  • “There was no way we could create a budget to outspend the traditional battery companies.”

46:30 Entrepreneurship in the UK

49:15 Goals for 2007

51:15 Capitalizing on invention

  • “Timing is a thing you have to get right.”
  • “The value of the innovator keeping away is fundamental.”

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