Saving customer time is 'key to future of tech start-ups'
An entrepreneur who dropped out of university to launch an on-demand tech repair service has had his business valued at £1.5m.
According Fraser Williams, 22, and Richard Edwards, 24, 32,000 phones get broken in the UK every day.
The childhood friends aim to get broken devices fixed within hours, rather than days, without customers ever leaving their desk.
Repairly promises to pick up mobiles and tablets using a courier service, and return them fixed in barely three hours.
Dubbed the ‘Deliveroo of tech repairs’, the start-up has already attracted plenty of investor attention, recently closing a £265,000 seed round with backing from Techstars and Virgin Media.
Williams says the strength of Repairly – and other fast-growth firms such as Deliveroo and Uber – lies in their ability to save time-starved Londoners the precious minutes and hours they could spend doing more important things.
He said: “We’ll come to you, and for a lot of our office customers that is the thing that is most important.
“Rich and I thought about the market as a whole and the rise of on-demand services. The appeal of these is that they give customers back their time.
“Deliveroo and Uber, really what their selling point really is, is saving time.”
He added: “Our timeframe varies depending on where you are, location-wise. But people in London are in such a rush. Everyone’s on their own little mission.”
“We are time-starved now. All over the country, especially in London. So if you come up with a convenience, people will pay for it.
“Increasingly, people are responding to the businesses that do save them time. It’s not necessarily what customers are getting, but how a company can save them time in delivering it.
“Then that time can be spent with the kids, or, if you want, doing extra work. Because of that, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see a rise in bringing more and more businesses to the doors of busy people.”
Childhood friends from Hackney Downs, Edwards and Williams launched their Repairly pilot project in Newcastle before making the leap down to the capital.
Based centrally to begin with, they have since expanded gradually to cover zone one, two and some parts of zone three.
“When we moved to London it was quite staggering how positively people reacted,” said Williams who was studying business management and entrepreneurship at Lancaster University when he had the idea.
“There wasn’t much in the way of studying, I was busy launching businesses. We started Repairly in November 2015 with early pilots in Newcastle.
“It was tough, but we began to raise money from the pilots - £1,000 in the first week.
“Then in April 2016 we launched in London, and the idea really resonated in such a huge busy city.
“We were making £10,000 within the third month of being in the capital, and there has been a 20 per cent rise every month since.”
The firm aims to dominate the market in London over the next 10 months, before expanding internationally.
Its next location has been earmarked as Dublin.