Luke Cooper, founder, Fixt
In 2014, Luke Cooper dropped his iPhone on a bus, cracking the screen. When he picked it up, he saw his horror mirrored on the faces of the other passengers who clearly understood how this could upend his life.
Cooper needed his phone, but a repair store couldn’t even give him an appointment until the following week. And when his insurer finally replaced the phone, it sent a Samsung, which ran on an incompatible operating system; the fine print of his insurance only required the replacement to be of similar quality and cost.
Cooper founded Fixt in response to his experience. Having seen that people were spending countless hours taking their mission-critical devices to repair shops, he provided a solution in the form of on-site, on-demand support to setup, repair, or replace company devices. Customers go to the Fixt website, app, or portal to request a technician at a time and place that conveniently fits into their schedule.
Fixt, which Cooper has called the “Uber for device replacement,” today supports 200,000 devices across the country, and services organizations such as Coca-Cola, Johns Hopkins University, The Carlyle Group, FedEx and the New York City Police Department. The company was acquired by Assurant in mid 2020, but still operates under its existing brand and retains its employees and technician network.
And it was another success for Cooper, a serial entrepreneur, speaker, author and advisor to leaders across sectors, who has been recognized as one of Baltimore’s “40 Under 40” Business Leaders and an Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In leading Fixt to a successful acquisition, Cooper captured 11x revenues for the organization.
Cooper landed in Baltimore by chance — a friend suggested he check out the city when he finished law school and was considering various job opportunities. But his family rooted here, and as he shifted from the law toward entrepreneurship, he saw extraordinary potential.
“There’s just all this hidden talent that’s around town that just gets ignored every day,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity and promise for young entrepreneurs to do something great here as well. It’s a city that gets forgotten about quite a bit, but there are people who are keenly focused on helping Baltimore get to the next level of growth.”
Cooper hatched his company as part of the TechStars program in Boulder, but local mentors, advisors and investors helped convince him to keep the company headquarters in Baltimore.
Guided by values
In developing Fixt, he focused not only on his core idea, but also on his values — including diversity. In 2019, 60% of the 2,400 technicians in Fixt’s network were African-American or Latino and 40% were new Americans. And Cooper has intentionally sought out investors who understand the importance of diversity — even turning down a $500,000 Series A prospect whose criticisms of Baltimore had racial undertones.
Those values resonate with Cooper’s latest venture, No Mud No Magic, which seeks to bridge the gap between high-potential Black startup founders and technical training, investors and merger-and-acquisition options.
“I think people talk about diversity and they think … it just happens. It doesn’t happen organically. And if you are not intentional about that at the very beginning, then it won’t finish that way,” he said.
Cooper is also committed to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs through roles as a Venture (Un)Partner at Preface Ventures, the Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and a Board Trustee at University of Maryland, Baltimore.