• Company: iSmash
• What it does: We specialise in the express repair of smartphones, tablets, and computers
• Founded: Aug 2013
• Size of team: 200
• Your name and role: Julian Shovlin, Founder & Managing Director
What was your eureka moment for starting the express repair service iSmash?
I smashed my own device and went through a sub-par repair service process which was slow and of poor quality. I knew there was a better way to do this and subsequently set up a business from a back-office where I initially received appointments online.
You look awfully young to have a multi-million-pound company. How did you bankroll yourself and get the project running?
I started in Dublin with £15k for stock and equipment. I managed to raise seed investment to launch the iSmash brand in London.
How did you make your first million?
The business got off to a flying start and we made £1m revenue within 11 months of launching. By this stage, we had three dedicated stores with plans to open many more.
How did you manage to take on heavyweight competitors like Apple service?
Quite simply by focusing on high quality, express repairs on the high street in convenient locations. As we specialise in only one this one thing it was easy to impress our customers and generate business through word of mouth.
Has Brexit affected your business in any way? What else is on the horizon for iSmash?
It has affected consumer confidence and FX rates, so yes in this sense, but we’re still seeing strong growth and intend to continue down that path in 2019 and beyond.
What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
Continuing to focusing on both the people in our business and, crucially, on our customers. A stable and constantly improving supply chain is also essential and something that we’ve been focusing on over the past few years.
What metrics do you look at every day?
Net Promoter Score, footfall conversion rates and technician productivity.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
Previously we’ve made some mistakes in our hiring process, but we’ve also made some really strong people decisions too. Getting the employees within your company right is crucial, and getting it wrong can really slow you down.
Besides being an entrepreneur with a vision, what else keeps you occupied?
I don’t generally have a lot of spare time but when I do I like to exercise and am big into my sports.
Any tech start-up in London you are watching and why?
Deliveroo and Revolut are interesting given the spaces in which they operate and the success they have had to date. It will be interesting to see how they expand their offerings moving forward as they have acquired very significant customer bases.