College Startup Caters to Clumsy iPhone Users

Like many iPhone owners, AJ Forsythe would take his device to Apple whenever it broke. The problem was, he got careless with his iPhone one too many times and Apple’s repair services aren’t exactly cheap. Thus, Forsythe decided to go the DIY route, and learned to fix his phone using parts he had ordered online and with the assistance of some electrical engineering friends.

Forsythe, who attends California Polytechnic State University, eventually began repairing other students’ iPhones for $75. In 2010, he started iCracked in his living room with Leslee Lambert and Anthony Martin. Within a year, the repair company had grown from serving Cal Poly to 65 universities.

The 23-year-old entrepreneur did not have second thoughts about launching his business and just went for it. “You can learn more about business during the first 3 months of starting a company than in 20 years,” he says.

Today, Forsythe serves as CEO of his fast-growing startup. In addition to iPhones, iCracked also fixes iPods and iPads, and offers three repair options. First, customers can locate a certified iTechnician within their area and schedule a service appointment. Many of the 125 iCracked technicians work on a freelance basis, though each applicant must go through a screening process and are supervised by iTech manager Allen Davis.

Users can also mail their device to iCracked, and if they can’t live without texting and Twitter for three to five days, they can have a temporary substitute phone sent to them. Lastly, iCracked sells DIY repair kits, which include detailed instructions.

iCracked raked in more than $200,000 in revenue in 2011. This year, it’s expected to go past the $1 million mark. “It’s very natural for people to go back to where they purchased their phones for repairs, but when you factor in convenience and price – that’s where you find the source of our success,” Forsythe says.


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