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Revolutionizing the mobile phone and tablet replacement process
Luke Cooper is the founder and CEO of Fixt, which he calls the “Uber for device replacement.” When a smartphone, tablet, or other device stops working, Fixt allows users to push a button and receive offsite repair in 30 minutes, onsite repair in 1 hour, or a full replacement in 12 hours. The Fixt.co platform also offers detailed device repair analytics and enterprise-level cybersecurity. The company aims to change how consumers and businesses think about retail insurance. Formerly known as Peach, Fixt changed its name last month, November, 2015.
How did you go from law school to starting a device replacement company?
LUKE COOPER: There were a couple of stops on the way between the time I ended my career as a lawyer and how I got here. I was in-house counsel at State Farm. My career was going really well, and I enjoyed what I did, but I perceived the problem back then that insurance just didn’t work. It was a vertical that I was already drawn to—financial services—had a keen interest there. I didn’t really have a real accurate understanding of how we would change the world using our technology today, but it always stuck with me. After leaving State Farm, I basically went on to business school at Babson and I got my MBA. I felt like I needed more fundamental experience around how to build models and how to build businesses, and so that really gave me some additional infrastructural support that I needed personally to be the kind of entrepreneur I wanted to be.
In addition to that, another great thing that happened was I got involved with a company in Bowie, Maryland—a cybersecurity technology firm. We were mostly servicing the defense markets, the DIT, and the businesses of the world. In that experience I was able to basically help them sell the company within 18 months. It was my first exit, and it gave me that first taste of what it’s like to be intimately involved in a company and go through an exit. And it was a great exit for us. That was sort of the thing I was involved in right before founding Fixt and then, ultimately, that led me to doing TechStars program in Boulder, and I dropped my phone and sort of put those things together. It sounds like a lot of information, but I think the key there, which is probably very critical and very central to most entrepreneurs and how they’re hardwired, is keen awareness of all the experiences that you have in life. One of the great things I pulled away from Steve Jobs before he died, in his writings, was how ingenuity and creativity actually happens. Most people think it happens with some event, like, “Oh, you know, you did something and the lightbulb went off.” I think it’s romantic to think about ingenuity that way, but it doesn’t happen at all that way. It’s an amalgamation of a number of different ideas that happened over time, and they lead you to a very concrete understanding of where the market is and what the solution should be. Entrepreneurs are just strictly the ones who are aware, who would pay attention in life—most of their lives—to the experiences that they’re having, and are able to put those experiences together.
You told us about your mother taking you on that plane ride and expanding your view of the world when you were young. What do you think her reaction would be to your career today?
My mom is certainly a role model for me in a lot of ways, to the question of what my mom means to me. I think if she could ask me or say anything to me now in my career—and she’s alive, very much alive—and if she could ask me anything right now, or say anything to me right now, she would probably say, “Hard work pays off.” That was her line she would always deliver to me growing up and it always resonated with me. I think she would say that to me. But I think the fact that she asked, of all the things she could ask for, a plane ride for our family—my sister and her, when I was 12—I think it just says a lot about who she is as a person, and that she cares more and understands better than anybody that if you have a big, broad vision for your life, then all the little pieces along the way just would line up.
I tell people all the time, who ask me, “Oh, how could you not be a lawyer anymore? I mean, you got a great career, you could’ve worked other places, you could be making high six figures, maybe seven figures right now as a lawyer.” I think about those things all the time, and I wouldn’t have been happy about those things with that career, but beyond that, I think it was just another step in my story, which is in many ways still being written.
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