NthoX is a Level II electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE, EV charger) manufacturing company. We produce two chargers: one for residential uses, and the other for commercial/fleet uses. The residential unit has limit of 240vac 11.5kW, while our commercial charger is rated up to 19.2kW.
Tell us about your background, Darren.
Darren: I have spent over 40 years wiring. As a young boy I played around with batteries, wires and light bulbs.
My professional career started in the ’90s, and consisted of car stereo, alarm, and phone installations. I worked as a cable television installation technician and a residential/commercial electrician. Then I was introduced to telecommunication facilities: central offices (COs) and data centers.
This is where I found my calling. I was responsible for making certain that all AC and DC power, generation, and distributions looked good but performed even better.
After a few years as an operation/engineering employee of a telecom provider, I started Nomo Inc. From 2002 – 2018, Nomo built out multiple data centers, audited COs for CenturyLink LV grounding/bonding systems, and provided solutions any of the problems we encountered. We also installed new batteries and power surge suppressors at these facilities.
We installed Time Warner Cable’s fiber to the tower (fttt) equipment for Verizon and T-Mobile in Southern California, trained Hawaiian Telecoms’ employees on -48vdc power and static energy storage (remote and CO battery plants), served as AT&T Wireless’ West Coast regional data center battery plant maintenance provider, and provided AT&T with (20) qualified technicians at their six national data center for five years.
What’s your big idea, dream, or business you’ve been working on through the Matchstick Lab Micro Business Accelerator?
Darren: I am manufacturing level 2 EV chargers. The goal is to start with EV chargers in both the residential and commercial sectors, then move on to micro grids utilizing solar and wind power generation with static energy storage (lithium ion batteries) for residential, commercial and under served communities/destinations. The exit strategy is to donate the entirety of the company to employees and investors.
What made you decide that this program was right for you?
Darren: I had developed two electric vehicle (EV) chargers and was needing help with a business plan to attract investors. Manufacturing has its own hurdles and I knew that I needed help.
I saw an offer for entrepreneurs to join a six month program that would help answer business questions A-Z, and the answers would come from subject matter experts. Now add a round table for discussion to other entrepreneurs in the same or similar position and you can feed off each other.
And if that wasn’t enough, they pair you with a mentor that you get to meet a couple of times a month. We even have access to the other mentors.
What is one takeaway you’ve gotten from the program?
Darren: If you are looking to start a business—or if you have a business and are lost with the taxes, business license, insurance, hiring practices, business plans and the like—this Microbusiness Accelerator will teach you these and more that you hadn’t thought about.
You are surrounded by folks just like you with teachers and mentors answering the tough questions in a way that makes sense. I came here to learn about business plans since I had been running a business for a while. There is so much more to take away.
What’s your biggest hope for the future when it comes to either your business, or Matchstick Lab?
Darren: My hope is to become one of the mentors and to be able to offer funding for the program and investment capital for the Microbusiness Accelerator crew members.
Connect with Darren O’Connor
About the Matchstick Lab Micro Business Accelerator
The Matchstick Lab Micro Business Accelerator is a dedicated five month program designed to accelerate the entrepreneurial endeavors of underrepresented entrepreneurs and small business owners in Kitsap.
Funding for the 2023 cohort of the Matchstick Lab Micro Business Accelerator was provided by the Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA), thanks to a grant made by the Washington State Department of Commerce through the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance with a funding match from Kitsap Bank.