Jesse DiLaura

Founder of Repair U – Phone Repair for College Students

Hobby: Freestyle rapping
Favorite Food: Sushi
Hometown: Malvern, PA
Temple Degree/Major: 2016, Entrepreneurship major

What inspired you to start your own company?

I started fixing cell phones in my dorm room during my freshman year. Students started asking me to repair their phones. With the help of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and Temple’s Blackstone Launchpad, I was able to turn a hobby into the recognizable brand that it is today on campus.

What was it like participating in Miller Lite “Tap the Future” Pitch Competition?

The Pitch Competition was an amazing experience. My roommate encouraged me to attend as an opportunity to network and see FUBU clothing line founder Daymond John, one of the billionaire investors who appears on the ABC business-pitch reality series Shark Tank.

I threw my business card in, and as soon as they said I was chosen to pitch, I knew I was going to win. I had pitched in a few competitions before and placed, but did not win. With help from mentors, practicing my pitch 5,000 times, and classes at Temple, I knew could convince the crowd that Repair U is the only viable phone repair solution for college students.

I won and received personal congratulations from Daymond John.

How has the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at the Fox School helped you in your entrepreneurial journey?

I have an obsession with improving. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and Temple’s Blackstone Launchpad feed that obsession by offering constructive feedback on every aspect of my business model. They both do an amazing job of bringing in industry professionals to speak on every topic you need to know about to run a business, while also offering consulting and mentoring 1v1.

Who is your mentor/idol and why?

My mentor and idol is Andrew Nakkache of Habitat. As a friend, I got to see him tackle more issues than most startups  — and he constantly remained not optimistic, but determined. There is a key difference there. He didn’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but he was really motivated to create Habitat, so he found a way to break through the tunnel, and make his own hole for light to shine through.

What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?

Never stop working, and be humble. If you’re motivated and know that you don’t know everything, you will get over hurdles quicker and hit your head a whole lot less. I’m sure that 100% of where I am with Repair U is a result of people offering guidance and suggestions.

You hear that 2 brains are better than 1. Well, I used probably 1000 brains to figure out the current Repair U business model. Ask tons of questions, don’t be afraid to fail, and surround yourself with employees and mentors that believe in you.