CEO Noah Dentzel Answers All Your ChargeKey Questions

| Words by Madeline Myers and Noah Dentzel

Earlier this week, we restocked ChargeKey, one of our longest-running and most popular cables. To celebrate the restock, we asked CEO Noah Dentzel where the ChargeKey concept originated, how it reflects our company ethos, and why every nomad should have one. 

In case you're unfamiliar with ChargeKey, here’s a quick rundown: ChargeKey is an ultra-portable cable that attaches to your keychain and includes the necessary tips to connect your iPhone to any USB-C source. Since your keys are practically an extension of you, there's no chance of leaving your ChargeKey behind. With ChargeKey, you're ready to charge up whenever and wherever.

Madeline: How did the ChargeKey idea come to you and when? 

Noah: ChargeKey came up during a brainstorming session with Brian back in the summer of 2012. We were drinking cheap white wine on the deck of the old boat he was living on in the Santa Barbara harbor. As we discussed how to build on the ChargeCard concept, it dawned on us that the key form factor was the logical next step. Keys, phone, wallet, it was our minimalist get-up-and-go mantra, and it was staring at us right there, chargeKEY! That was powerful momentum in the early days of the Nomad journey.

Madeline: Why is ChargeKey quintessentially Nomad? How does it represent our ethos? 

Noah: At our core, Nomad is about building minimalist tools to keep you powered and protected on the go. ChargeKey accomplishes precisely this. With ChargeKey, you can charge other devices, like your AirPods, or even a friend's smartphone, directly from your own phone. In fact, this ability to lend a charging hand, whether to a friend or a stranger, embodies the true spirit of Nomad.

Madeline: Where does ChargeKey fit in the Nomad charging lineup?

Noah: ChargeKey is the gap filler. It’s with you when you need it, and out of your way when you don’t. There are moments I’m concerned my phone is dying, only to realize that I already have a cable with me. It’s so integrated into your everyday carry getup that it’s easy to forget you have it on you.

Madeline: If you had one sentence to pitch ChargeKey, what would it be?

Noah: Anyone who relies on their smartphone half as much as I do needs to have one of these on their keychain. Period. I guess that’s two sentences, but let’s run with it.

Madeline: What went into developing ChargeKey? Was it a hard product to engineer?  

Noah: The original ChargeKey borrowed a lot from the work we’d done with ChargeCard, but the first MFi version we made was our first MFi product, and that required a ton of figuring out. It was a huge excitement injection when we got it approved for production by Apple’s Made for iPhone program. Believe it or not, the name of the factory we were working with was KeyJoy and that approval was a moment of true key joy.

Madeline: Describe a time ChargeKey saved you in a pinch. 

Noah: There’s too many to count, but I think the most memorable times are when it’s helped someone else in need. One time, I was walking through the airport when I spotted Simon Sinek, an author I really like. I introduced myself and in the conversation that followed he happened to mention that he was in need of a charge. So I gave him my ChargeKey. He gave me a token of inspiration coin in exchange, something he gives out when he’s inspired, saying he was super grateful for the cable. I later saw him charging his phone with it in the lounge. I thought he might just be being nice, but he really did need to charge. He pointed at it, smiled and gave a big thumbs up. I wish I still had that token, but alas, it got lost in one of our moves. 

Madeline: Are there products in the pipeline that you’re excited about that emulate the ChargeKey ethos? 

Noah: Absolutely. We have a handful of minimalist, innovative power products coming out that carry the ChargeKey torch forward and I can’t wait for us to get them out into the field to see how people use them. They’re too good for me to spill the beans on them quite yet, but they’re on track to come out this year.

And there you have – a rundown on ChargeKey in 7 questions. We hope this interview shed some light on where ChargeKey came from, how it works, and why it’s a game changer in the realm of portable charging. Looking for a longer cable? Shop the entire cable lineup here

Still have questions? Email us at and we’ll be sure to get them to Noah.


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