It’s a smartphone scenario all too familiar: an accidental drop and you’re left with a spiderweb for a phone screen.
The same thing happened to Justin Wetherill, CEO of the Orlando-based technology repair company uBreakiFix. The accounting major started uBreakiFix in 2009, two years after graduating from UCF, with fellow alumnus David Reiff and friend Eddie Trujillo, all to fix his shattered phone screen.
“[When] I dropped my own phone, [I] looked for an option to get it fixed and didn’t see any good options,” Wetherill said. “I tried to fix it myself, but I broke it worse. Being somewhat of a nerd, I thought if I can’t do this, there’s probably a lot of people in the same boat.”
And uBreakiFix was born.
Raking in nearly $50 million in 2014, the company now has about 125 locations from Canada to California, with a handful right here in Central Florida. This year, Wetherill expects to end just shy of $100 million.
The 28-year-old credits UCF’s Cornerstone class, which was recently canceled after 22 years, for his decision to pursue entrepreneurship.
“I had always tinkered with making money on my own, buying and selling things on eBay and things like that, but the Cornerstone class showed me that if you put your mind to it you can make it happen,” Wetherill said. “I remember starting the class and they said we needed to raise about $1,000 for our cause and thinking to myself ‘How are a handful of college students going to pull it off?’ But with proper planning and execution we made it happen.”
In its infancy, uBreakiFix was simply an online repair company limited to glass screen repairs.
“We were working out of a bedroom,” said Reiff, a 2009 graduate and vice president of uBreakiFix.
He said they never expected the company to be where it’s at today. However, that thought changed when the first brick-and-mortar location opened on Curry Ford Road.
“Not quite what you’d expect of uBreakiFix today, but humble beginnings,” Wetherill said.
Over time, uBreakiFix expanded to address water damage repairs and those for newer iPhones. That expansion continued as it started repairing iPads, tablets, iPods and computers. Now, Wetherill said they’re willing to fix “anything with a power button.”
“We went in to tour this one [uBreakiFix] store … and there was a coffee machine there,” he said. “We were taking in the coffee machine to repair it.”
Eric Gutierrez is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter @atticus_adrift or email him at EricG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.