Few undergraduates can say they have founded their own business before graduation. Even fewer can attribute the inspiration behind their business to their family.

When Esteban Hernandez was at home during a University of Richmond break, his mother dropped and broke her iPhone. Faced with few options of repairing her iPhone, she paid a large deductible at an Apple store and had it replaced. Shortly after this incident Hernandez’s father broke his iPhone. “I quickly realized there was a large gap in the market. You have few options when repairing your Apple products,” Hernandez said.

After looking online at step-by-step guides and tutorials, Hernandez successfully fixed his father’s iPhone. “I just did it,” he says. Hernandez has now been repairing Apple products for over a year, and recently turned his side project into a business. I Fix It Fast is a “premier iPhone repair company whose mission is to provide the best quality service to customers who are in a dire need of fixing their iPhones, iPads, iPods and other IOS devices” as described on the company’s website.

A finance major, Hernandez came to Richmond knowing he wanted to pursue a business degree and students’ reputation of achieving high passing rates on the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam, which he had plans to pursue after graduation in 2013. Since founding I Fix It Fast, he now use his finance degree to continue growing his company rather than pursuing a traditional financial career.

When asked why he decided to take his repair skills to the next level by establishing a business, Hernandez says his family has much influence on his entrepreneurial spirit. “My grandfather started one of the first insurance companies in Colombia. He had an innate ability to be successful in whatever goal he chose to pursue. That was passed along to my father who is also an entrepreneur, and then to me. We all have a curiosity about creating an enterprise and working for ourselves,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez also credits Dr. Jeffrey Pollack and his course “Innovation and Enterprise” with teaching him many of the skills needed to run a business. “His course really influenced me and taught me how to create and manage a budget and plan and execute a business plan to deliver value. Dr. Pollack has been a great mentor,” Hernandez said. Hernandez competed in Richmond’s Business Pitch competition last year which helped him gain experience and increase his network. He has also taken advantage of contacts in Richmond’s other schools, meeting with professors of the School of Law to discuss trademarks and corporate law. “I think the Robins School of Business excels in all facets of business and I'm grateful to have been a part of it. The interpersonal relationship with professors is so valuable when pursuing something as rigorous as business,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is the founder and currently the sole employee of I Fix It Fast, but he has plans to grow his company in the coming months. “Our biggest differentiator is that we come to you and complete the repair in 30 minutes,” he said. “We are an on-call service. A lot of my clients are stay-at-home mothers whose phones and money mean a lot to them. I am happy to be able to provide value with a seamless experience to them and see a smile on their face when I fix their issue.”

When asked where he might be in the next few years, Hernandez has a lot of plans. “After graduation I want to return to Florida and work on expanding I Fix It Fast to a larger national audience, Europe and South America. These markets are completely unsaturated, and I think we could be very successful there. Having Trademarked I Fix It Fast with the USPTO and copyrighted my own proprietary guides, my goal is to franchise my business model as well as become an iPhone parts supplier to franchises as well as other repair companies,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez has lofty goals and is anxious to complete his final year at Richmond, continue managing his business and return to his family in Florida. As he balances his studies and business, he will soon be making time to prepare for the iPhone 5 release so he can serve his existing and future clients.