Chicago startup LuminAID, a University of Chicago-born company that scored a deal from Mark Cuban on a 2015 episode of Shark Tank, is back with a new device aimed at backpacking adventurers, as well as refugees and others dealing with emergency situations.
LuminAID launched in 2011 with an inflatable, lightweight, waterproof lantern designed for earthquake victims and others in need of light during a disaster. The startup’s new product–the PackLite Max Phone Charger–launched on Kickstarter Tuesday and provides an additional tool for someone off the power grid: the ability to charge your phone.
The PackLite Max Phone Charger is an inflatable lantern and phone charger that packs flat and provides up to 50 hours of light. Its USB output port lets you recharge phones, tablets, cameras or other devices and has a built-in high efficiency solar panel to recharge in the sun.
Through the Kickstarter campaign, LuminAID is offering a Give Light, Get Light reward option where you can send a device to a nonprofit helping Syrian refugees.
LuminAID said that as it worked with charities over the last five years to distribute its first inflatable lantern, they learned that there was another pressing need for people in emergencies: the ability to charge your phone. Staying powered up meant being able to contact family members and call for help, so LuminAID began working on its latest iteration to give people another useful tool in a disaster.
The startup said its goal is to send 500 lights to Syrian refugees through its non-profit partner SCM Medical Missions.
LuminAID is looking to raise $15,000 from the campaign, and it expects to begin fulfilling Kickstarter orders by April. Early bird backers can order a PackLite for $30.
Founded by Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, LuminAID won UChicago’s 2012 Social New Venture Challenge and the 2013 Clean Energy Trust Clean Energy Challenge. The company says it has given tens of thousands of lights to charities since it launched.
Images via LuminAID