Wednesday 17 October 2018

Shovlin advising his son's fast-growing iSmash firm

Developer Paddy Shovlin
Developer Paddy Shovlin
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Former Ferrari-driving boom-time developer Paddy Shovlin, who went bankrupt in 2012, is providing a helping hand in his son's fast-growing mobile phone repair and customisation business.

Julian Shovlin (24) is the brains behind iSmash, which is set to complete a £1.5m (€2.1m) funding round in the coming weeks.

The money will be used to open a minimum of seven new stores, on top of five existing stores.

"We've a very exciting partner, can't say who it is until the deal is definitely done, but it should be completed before the end of the month, which is great. We've been at it a long time trying to raise the next round but it's all ended up quite well," Julian Shovlin told the Sunday Independent.

The funds will also be used to increase the company's head office capability and improve its software systems.

"In the following 12 months we'll roll out outside of London and then alongside that we are looking at refining what we're offering so we can offer it as a franchise opportunity outside of the UK.

"So we will go back to Ireland, we will issue a franchise for the whole of Ireland, or for Dublin let's say, so we'll have one franchisee".

Paddy Shovlin was one of the men behind the Beacon South Quarter and the Beacon Hospital in Sandyford in Dublin. He was also part of a consortium that bought the former Bank of Ireland headquarters on Dublin's Baggot St for €200m in 2006.

He was declared bankrupt in the UK in 2012, and is now said to be involved in new projects.

Julian Shovlin said his father has "a lot of advice", and that the idea for iSmash came from a negative experience with phone repair.

"It was about four years ago. I damaged my own smartphone and had to get it fixed. It was difficult to find somewhere and when I did I had to go back because there was an issue with it again. It was quite costly, so I just thought there must have been a better way.

"I did some research and found that there wasn't really any branded repair service, there was nowhere obvious that you could go to.

"I started it online initially doing repairs from a back office and then opened a store in Dublin under I Repair Express.

"We do quite a few things now, we do repairs for smartphones, tablet computers, we have accessories for all of those, we source our own insurance product, we sell refurbished devices, we do a trade-in programme for devices as well, and we do tech support.

"I did business and economics in Trinity, it was while I was at university that I set it up, in my second year. I ran it from a back office for about nine months, and then opened a store.

"I employed staff and worked there when I could when I wasn't in college, and decided when I was finished to move over to London because it's a much bigger population and a better city to launch a brand in rather than Dublin."

The first store was funded by the money Shovlin had accumulated from running the business in a back office.

Later he raised £900,000 of seed money from four angel investors and a relative, and the company now has four London stores.

The seven new stores will also be in London. One of the firm's stores is located in Ireland, at the Cranford centre on Dublin's Stillorgan Road.

Sunday Indo Business

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