This is the fifth post of “Now in Shenzhen”, where TechNode visits a handful of Shenzhen-based companies leveraging Shenzhen’s core strength: manufacturing. 

EcoFlow Tech, the battery startup founded by ex-DJI employees, announced on April 12th the launch of a mobile power station, RIVER. With an array of ports and 500-watt total output, RIVER can charge up to 11 devices simultaneously or serve as a smart power source for a multitude of needs, from flying drones, camping, and filmmaking to emergency management and construction.

“One of the biggest barriers to the widespread commercial application of drones is battery life. Everybody wants a drone that can stay in the air longer,” said Eli Morgan Harris, CEO of EcoFlow Tech told TechNode. “China is well known for being a global OEM battery manufacturer. That masks two things: China is best-in-class in large-scale industrial production know-how. It has incredible engineering prowess that is reality-based, not theoretical. We are combining our designs with these best in class traits.”

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RIVER mobile power station (Image Credit: TechNode)

B2C drone market

The global market for commercial drones will balloon to as much as US$ 127 billion by 2020, according to Bloomberg. A drone battery can cost US$ 150, and people often use 8 drone batteries on a single mission.

“Our focus is on both the B2B and B2C markets, but the B2C market is quicker to enter. We are focused on 8 key B2C markets for consumer electronics, including the US, Canada, EU, UK, Australia, China, Japan, and South Korea” Eli says.

The team is also planning to enter developing markets like South America, South East Asia, and Africa, especially in regions that do not have access to reliable power.

“We will be able to power classrooms in Malaysia so that students can use computers and lights. We can power water filters to bring clean water to communities in Kenya. We are talking to multiple government and non-government agencies now,” Eli says.

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From left to right: Hannah Sieber, co-founder and COO; Eli Morgan Harris, co-founder and CEO; and Tyler Schleich, Business Operations Associate (Image Credit: TechNode)

B2B drone market

B2B drone market is quickly going to surpass the B2C market, where the team sees a big opportunity in helping drones stay in the air. Industrial use of drones for farmers, surveyors, and disaster relief can require dozens of flights of drones.

“Drones can be also used in 3D modeling of construction, or calculating volumetrics of stockpiles of dirt to optimize the supply chain. Using RIVER, a construction site won’t need long power extension lines or generators,” Eli says.

With a shelf life of over one year, RIVER can be connected to solar panels to be charged from wind power and solar power. RIVER is currently on Indiegogo for the early bird pricing of $499. The team says they will begin shipping RIVER before the campaign even ends.

Founded in 2016, EcoFlow Tech battery startup company has over US$10 million in backing from leading Chinese supply chain and manufacturing companies.