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After joining Gate One as Head of Incubator in 2015, Michael Goulden supported other entrepreneurs at Gate One develop their business ideas. During this time, he was working on a number of his own concepts before finally settling on Kerbo Charge. This is actually Michael’s second company that was supported through the Incubator, with Pinga (a last mile delivery business) being the first!

The Incubator played a key role in the development and acceleration of Kerbo Charge. Michael had many sessions with the team, sharing wins, losses and learnings from the journey with other entrepreneurs. The Incubator also supported a key funding opportunity for the business with Innovate UK, and helped with their first showcase, where they exhibited the prototype to Havas Village London in 2022.

Michael shares his experience on Dragon’s Den and what’s next for Kerbo Charge following the investment from Deborah Meaden.

Q. Where did the idea for Kerbo Charge come from?

The idea for Kerbo Charge came from a personal problem that I had. I got my first electric car in 2021, while living in a terraced road in London, and quickly realised that it was costing me pretty much the same as my old petrol car to charge it when using public charge points, but significantly less convenient. 

It was on one particular day when I was driving around in the rain trying to find a charge point that would work and as I gazed at a house that had off-street parking and was merrily charging at home, I thought “This is ridiculous, no one in London is actually going to buy an electric car unless they can charge at home”. And that’s a big problem for air pollution and our ability to reach net zero. 

Q. What challenges have you had to overcome in the development so far? How did the Incubator help?

Well, first of all I must say that the broader Gate One team played a really important role in helping me get started because I was able to take on a consultancy role that only required four days a week. Thais meant I could get things moving with Kerbo Charge during my spare day. Those were great days! Then the Incubator supported me in initial funding to help develop the brand and product, and there was a brilliant community as always to bounce ideas with – very important when you’re on your own at an early stage. 

The greatest early challenge was finding our first local authority to go live with, I really hoped that was going to be my home borough of Waltham Forest but that was not to be! I came across an accelerator programme that was partnered with Milton Keynes council, and that was how we were able start a conversation with them to get things moving. 

One of the other greatest challenges has been finding out the most sensible way to fix the product into the ground and make it stay there! We’ve been on a long journey of trial and error with a number of different products and approaches, but I think we’re in a good position now. 

Q. Tell us about the Dragon’s Den experience, is it really how it looks?! 

Well, firstly the set is incredible and it really feels like what you see on TV! 

Overall it was a brilliant experience, we certainly got a grilling but I would say the Dragons are probably a little more friendly than they come across on TV. The whole thing took about one hour and was compressed down to 15 minutes so you can appreciate how much gets cut out.  

Fortunately we were first on so there wasn’t too much waiting around, but the bit where we had to wait outside the lift felt like a lifetime and was when the nerves really started kicking in. 

Q. Great news on the investment from Deborah Meaden. What’s next for Kerbo Charge? 

It’s all systems go for us now. We’ve just made two new hires, and our aim for the year is to convert as many of the trials that we started into full go lives where everybody in the city can charge their car at home, and then a rolling programme of more trials throughout this yearFollow our LinkedIn to see our latest updates! 


There is no better way to live our entrepreneurial values than by becoming real-life entrepreneurs. Our consultants launch their own start-ups through the Gate One Incubator. Through the Gate One Incubator, we support our team to become founder-investors in our growing portfolio of start-ups. At any given time, we have a diverse range of businesses at each of the four stage gates: ideation, proof concept, minimum viable product and accelerate.  

Matthew Pollen

Launching a start-up tests creativity, leadership and grit like nothing else. These qualities set our consultants apart from our competitors and directly benefit your business. Find out more about how the Incubator helps us drive innovation.

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