phone falconThis morning’s #OpenCoffeeLou featured the founders of Phone Falcon, a same-day service to repair your tablet or smart phone at your convenience and at your location. All three are current MBA students at the University of Louisville.

Mobile and tablet device repair is a $3-billion-per-year industry with significant growth potential. Most of these businesses are brick-and-mortar shops, and many computer repair shops have either transitioned to being mobile-only repair or integrating mobile repair significantly into their business model.

Phone Falcon sets itself apart because it will come to you, anywhere within the Gene Snyder circle, and just about any time of day. On a regular basis, people who live or work outside of the Gene Snyder will meet the Phone Falcon techs at a coffee shop within the Gene Snyder because many towns in the surrounding area don’t have anywhere that repairs mobile devices.

The tools and supplies needed for just about any given job fit in a tool box that could be easily packed on a bike or moped.

The president of Phone Falcon, Gil Roberts, said there are approximately 114,000 broken smart phones per year in Louisville. Much of the business Phone Falcon gets are smashed screens, but they can tinker with your device’s innards as well.

Since the business’s inception in early 2014, they’ve fielded 393 appointments.

When the founders started out, they assumed their main customers would be male professionals, but it turned out their biggest customer base is young women, often with children. Their careful customer tracking through the web platform Podio, which is free (with paid upgrades) for five users, helped them realize that they should shift their marketing tone from being heavily dude-centric to more mom-meaningful.

Roberts said the mobile repair industry is “a little Wild West.” They just finally normalized their supply chain. It used to be that they had to find repair supplies on Amazon and eBay.

“As we put more and more of our lives into these phones, the less time we can live without them,” said Roberts. Often traveling to and from the repair site takes more time than actually repairing the device.

They’re looking at scaling by franchising. Brick-and-mortar repair franchises run around $150,000 to get started. And to take over an MSA, you’d have to have multiple shops. But with Phone Falcon, just one franchisee could “own” an MSA with a single office/storage location and a bunch of technicians.

You can request an estimate on the Phone Falcon website.

Open Coffee Louisville is always Monday at 8 a.m. at iHub. Thanks as always to Heine Brothers’ for the coffee and to Nucleus for letting us use their iHub facility.

Open Coffee Louisville
8 a.m. Monday
204 S. Floyd St., Louisville Ky., 40202
Twitter: @startupLou @OpenCoffeeLou