Hi Keir, how are you?
Very good, thank you Nadine.
What were you doing before iMend?
I’ve been building and running numerous online businesses since 2001. My previous business was an online mobile phone trade in site Sell My Mobile, we sold this business in 2016. We started iMend in 2013.
Do you remember your initial reaction when you realised; yes, this concept could be a game changer? What was the inspiration behind the launch of iMend?
Yes definitely. As part of a previous business we had been doing mobile phone repairs internally for several years. We realised there was no really good solution for customers to get their mobile phones fixed
At the time, if you broke your phone, the only main options were either taking it in to a local repair shop or sending it off and being without your phone for weeks
The vision and inspiration behind iMend.com therefore was to create a better way to get your mobile phone (or tablet) fixed. Mobile phones are so essential to our everyday lives we simply cannot be without them. These days customers expect on-demand services that come to them and we set out to create this for mobile phone repairs. If a customer breaks their phone we can send a repair technician out to their workplace or home the same day to fix their phone at their convenience. We have hundreds of repair technicians all round the UK and are the only company in the country with this nationwide network offering on-demand phone repairs.
How did you fund the business when you were getting off the ground?
The business is self-funded from funds from previous businesses
What kind of service does iMend provide?
iMend.com is a nationwide mobile phone & tablet repair company. We offer 2 main services. The first is our on-demand ‘call out’ repair service where our technicians go out to customers at their location the same day to fix their phone. Not all devices can be fixed on-site as some require specialist equipment. So for these we also offer a fast postal service where customers send their devices to us, we repair them generally same day / next day then return them by tracked courier.
We cover the whole of the UK and our service is used by both consumers and businesses.
Most entrepreneurs have a lot of challenges ahead of them, especially funding. What are your thoughts on bootstrapping?
Some businesses by the nature of them do require a large amount of capital to setup but a lot of businesses can be bootstrapped. When I first started back in 2001 we had no money and we built the business up from nothing and these days it is even easier to bootstrap a business as there are so many excellent cloud services that you can run your business on for next to nothing such as Google Apps, Shopify, Zendesk, Trello, etc.
I have gone down the funding route with some previous businesses and it can take months to secure funding which is valuable time that can be spent focused on your business. You see a lot of people spending months seeking seed funding when all they’ve got is a very early concept of a business. In my opinion that time in the early stages is better spent focused on developing and testing out the business concept to prove it is a vision worth pursuing. For most businesses if possible I would advise bootstrapping in the early stages until the business model is proven and at least revenue generating. Then when you know you’ve got a real business with real income maybe seek funding at that stage to accelerate growth
Why do you think iMend has created such a disruption in the phone repair industry?
iMend was the first and is still the only nationwide on-demand phone repair service where technicians come to you. This has disrupted the industry and given customers a better phone repair service. We believe we have also helped to drive down repair prices for the consumer
How do you think startups can set themselves apart from all their competitors?
Quite simply do something better than the competition. Provide a product or service that is better than existing competitors out there. That is the best way of standing out in my opinion
How would you define being an entrepreneur?
It is tough, there is no free lunch, nothing is going to get given to you on a plate, there is no get rich quick, results only come from lots of hard work. You probably won’t work less than 70-80 hours a week for at least the first few years and it involves immense stress and challenges sometimes you have no idea how you will overcome. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I really love what I do. The best thing is creating something out of nothing. Creating a business from nothing to something that genuinely adds value to thousands or millions of people gives amazing satisfaction that you just can’t beat
If you could spend a year travelling – where would be your top three places to visit?
6 months in Asia travelling to all the places I’ve not yet been to. 6 months living in Vancouver travelling to all the places in Canada & the US I’ve not yet been to. Plus Machu Picchu
What plans do you have for iMend over the coming 12 months?
It is likely that we will at some point expand iMend to other international markets and add on other on-demand services to our platform. However that is not going to be in the next 12 months as there’s still so much more we want to do in the UK to continue to grow and improve our core business
The next 12 months will see continuous improvement of our service and technology that will continue to improve our service to our customers. We want to continue growing the business with the aim of making iMend.com the no. 1 household name for phone repairs in the UK.
Also, when we first started iMend it was mainly a consumer brand but now the B2B market is a big part of our business and we do all the phone & tablet repairs for loads of the biggest brands in the country so we want to continue growing the B2B side of the business.