Jerry Ranger talks about the impressive portable power-generating product he launched this year, and what it takes to be an innovative entrepreneur.
Generating power for the great outdoors
Jerry Ranger is an expert at creating portable power-generating products for everyday emergency situations, and also for extreme outdoor activities in locations from jungles to the Arctic. Over the past 20 years, his passion for invention has seen him start a number of companies dedicated to creating innovative products for the outdoor market.
During his career, Jerry has put his talents into developing a backpack airbag for protecting skiers in avalanches, designed Flymo’s familiar signature round orange plug, and delivered power-related solutions for global brands. Jerry’s latest creation is the TP247, a powerful hand-crank emergency power generator to charge up mobile and satellite phones, head torches and other vital outdoor equipment.
It’s been brought to market by Texpower Ltd, the UK-based company Jerry set up specifically to design, develop and deliver the product. For the initial production run of 20,000 units, the TP247 is being promoted through the Texpower website and distributed through a network of outdoor specialist partners in the US, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.
As Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Texpower, he is also working with the University of Portsmouth to develop a portable hydrogen fuel cell cooker with ‘on the go’ gas generation technology using electrolysis powered by the TP247 and portable wind turbines.
Powered by passion
Entrepreneur Jerry is currently also CTO for Singapore-based Texenergy, a company specialising in wind-driven, power-generating equipment that he founded in 2016 and subsequently sold.
Until 2015 he was CEO of UK-headquartered Powertraveller Ltd, the company he created to design portable powerbanks for outdoor activities, aid agencies and global travellers, and previously developed a wide range of products for his first company, IDC Plugs.
His passion for creating hi-tech solutions to support outdoor activities comes from a youthful fascination with engineering, science and physics, encouraged by his family and his experience as a diver in the Royal Marines in the 1980s, a highly technical and challenging job.
He says: “In the military, you need mental agility and innovation to get you and your team out of trouble. I’ve always loved the challenge of finding a solution to a problem and then making it happen – for me, it’s an exciting journey.
“Generating power in hostile environments is potentially life-saving. It can provide light and heat and support communications for adventurers, the displaced and those struggling to live in war zones and disaster areas.”
Foundations of success
Jerry attributes part of his success to having developed strong business partnerships in China. Building reliable links with manufacturers enables him to quickly and cost-effectively develop products from concept to market with full international approvals.
Creating physical product prototypes has been crucial, giving prospective customers something tangible and demonstrable to buy into.
Having the right approach mentally, and realistic expectations of the challenges ahead, is critical. “When you start you’re on a journey you’ll inevitably hit obstacles. It’s like climbing a mountain – you reach an impassable point and you just have to climb down, step back and find a way round.”
Jerry advises would-be product designers that passion and a desire to create, combined with enthusiasm, drive and determination, are the primary qualities for success. “Direct your energy carefully. Do your research to ensure there’s actually a problem your idea will solve, and don’t expect others to make things happen.”
He continues: “Invest carefully, but don’t let fears about money hold you back – there are many ways of getting financial support, so get good advice on that. As the political activist Jesse Jackson puts it: ‘If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.’ That’s great advice and chimes with me.”
How Shipleys helps
Shipleys has been supporting Jerry for more than 20 years, primarily working on the accounts and providing advice to ensure the smooth running of his businesses. “They’ve held my hand throughout and I’ve found their support invaluable,” he says. “I’ve got a great team in my corner, and we’ve worked through booms and busts – it’s been good to have someone behind me when times were tough.”
Find out more about Texpower
Find out more about Jerry Ranger