Memphis women are boosting the tech industry

Nahja Clayton and Kristy Craig’s product keeps you charged on the go.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Technology continues to develop and is an integral part of our daily lives.

However, a study shows that only 28% of the tech workforce is made up of women. Meanwhile, black women make up just 2.2% of this group.

Two Memphians have joined the tech world and are looking to keep phones charged.

Cell phones are used all day, every day, and when a battery goes dead, it’s a big inconvenience.

Meet Nahja Clayton and Kristy Craig, the founders of Smart charging – a company that tries to keep you fit.

“We are a powerbank rental company, the newest addition to the sharing economy, similar to scooter, ride scooters, Airbnb, Lyft. We now allow consumers to rent portable chargers on the go,” Craig said.

Smart Charge works the same way as renting a Bird scooter downtown. It’s a matter of convenience. Download the app, find a location near you, and top up your phone.

The first hour is free with a small supplement for each subsequent hour. Keep it too long and you basically buy it.

There are ports for Type-C, IOS, and Micro-USB users – which cover most phones for iPhone and Android users, and can also charge some laptops, tablets, and headphones.

The couple said the idea came to them while they were both teaching English in China. Powerbank’s sharing economy is already booming there.

“It was very convenient for me on the go. When my phone drained, my battery drained, I just rented a charger and it was very affordable,” Craig said.

“I think they got a lot of my stuff when it came to getting around and needing a charger. I literally rented a charger while I was there almost every other day,” Clayton said.

They brought the idea back to Memphis – Clayton’s hometown – and launched it in January.

Kenya Rose short Black Pink Living Room downtown. It is one of dozens of companies that have welcomed Smart Charge with open arms.

“It was heaven sent to me because I don’t like lending my charger,” Rose said.

Rose said there was a bit of a learning curve in teaching older people how to use a QR code, but other than that there were no issues with Smart Charge.

“You get the first hour free, so you won’t be staying here that long anyway. By the time you leave, you have a full charge,” Rose said.

Craig points out that this can be especially useful for restaurant and bar business owners, where a spill is unavoidable.

“A lot of these companies have had, I guess, moments of responsibility where they put chargers or customers’ phones behind counters, especially in restaurants and bars, because at any moment a drink could spill on their phone. And it’s a wrap, It’s an ongoing lawsuit,” Craig said.

Craig and Clayton relish the opportunity to work in the male-dominated world of tech, even though that’s not where they saw their careers unfold. Craig worked in pharmaceutical sales, Clayton in finance. Entrepreneurship and technology are new to them, but they want to encourage other women to follow.

“I haven’t seen a lot of people like me in tech. And for me to be in that position is just, it’s inspiring for me to inspire others,” Clayton said.

Smart Charge is available at approximately 20 businesses around Memphis, including the Crosstown Concourse. So when you see that red battery, you don’t have to feel like you have to run home or run to the store and buy a charger anymore.

posted by Smart charging to Monday, April 4, 2022

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