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Taking on the Mobile Phone Repair Industry

by Mahrukh Sarwar

We’ve all done it. Had that moment where you forgot that you were holding your phone in one hand. Then there is that heart stopping moment when your phone slips from your grasp and free falls to the floor. You hear a loud crack and the screen of your over-priced new mobile phone shatters into a million tiny cracks. It is no surprise that fixing mobile cell phones has become a lucrative market and is worth $4 billion in the US alone.

Pakistani startup RepairDesk is looking to leverage this thriving industry across the world. Named RepairDesk, it is a cloud based point of sale (POS) software for mobile phone repair shops that helps users keep track of the mobile repairs, manage inventory as well as staff and customer relationship management.

Usman Butt, the CEO of RepairDesk, founded the startup in March 2015. Butt has a Bachelor’s degree in Business & Information Technology and was initially running a web design business in Pakistan. He got the idea for the startup from his brother’s repair shop in Australia, which led him to think about the untapped niche of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that didn’t exist for the mobile repairs industry.

Butt started doing research on the mobile phone repair market and conducted several gap analyses on the market as well as the retail industry in Pakistan. This helped him understand the demand patterns and relevant technology required to design the software from scratch.

After being incubated at the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, RepairDesk launched the beta version of their product in April 2015. However, Usman soon realized that their product was only satisfying 50%-60% of their customer needs. After revamping their software to suit more repair centres, they launched the paid version in July of the same year. However, the business didn’t immediately take flight, with RepairDesk contracting only 7 paying customers in their first month.

Read more: Connecting Sikreyali; One Smartphone at a Time

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The startup really took off in May 2016 when they raised strategic funding from Anant Handa, CEO of ReVamp Electronics, a wholesale distribution company of smartphone and tablet repair parts in the US. Recently, ReVamp Electronics was ranked as the top 50 fastest growing private companies in the US by INC Magazine. Anant Handa later joined RepairDesk as a cofounder, taking care of the business and expansion strategies of the firm.

After being accelerated at PlanX, one of Pakistan’s largest business accelerators, RepairDesk now has more than 50 new repair shops as clients. Within only 15 months of being in operation, their business has expanded to over 200 repair centers across the globe. Their software is running in more than 20 countries at the moment with customers expanding to the Cayman Islands and India. However, majority of their clients are based in the US, Australia and the UK.

“Currently, we don’t have a lot of customers in Pakistan but there is a lot of potential here,” says Usman Butt. “Big retailers like Q-Mobile which have their own repair centers still use paperwork. It’s just a matter of getting in contact with them and showing them this software.”

Recently, RepairDesk formed a major partnership with Fixfinder.com, a classified portal for fixtures that also provides a list of repairing services for cell phones. Under this partnership, Repairdesk will be able to assist its repair centers so they can stay on top of all their leads via FixFinder and it will also allow them to create estimates and convert these estimates to invoices. Using FixFinder, they can also track the volume and source of all their leads.

This month, RepairDesk will be launching a beta version of their mobile app for field technicians. All the leads from their website will be transferred to the RepairDesk app, using which they can then turn into a ticket and invoice. The app will also enable them to take credit card payments and use PayPal.

Considering the huge potential in the market, RepairDesk is providing a fast and convenient way to automate the entire process of running your cell phone repair and retail business.

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