iQ: How long was this deal in the making?
JL: It’s been in the works for over a year. There was a little bit of talk and then there were negotiations over the past five months.
iQ: And how did it originally come about?
JL: They had reached out to me. They were interested in learning about my business. Their interest was primarily what we’ve become known for: our Vendor Managed Inventory program (and our ties to iQ, really).
They were also interested in our Training, Seeding and Promotion program: Brightstar wanted to expand that approach to the Sprint channel and to other channels as well.
iQ: Looking at your website, OFFWIRE.com is now completely rebranded as Brightstar. Can you give us a general overview of what’s changed from a client (i.e. a wireless retailer’s) perspective?
JL: Very little has changed on the service level or in terms of the client experience. Basically all clients will notice is a different color on our website and a different company name over the phone.
The big advantage for all clients is the purchasing power of Brightstar, both in terms of pricing and bringing on many new brands.
We’re very excited about Speck, Case-Mate, Foxconn, Harmon Kardon/JBL and several more OEM relationships that are coming soon.
We’re hiring 30 people right now, to grow the business and grow the service level. We’ll have some more people, more trainers out in the field, which is a big advantage for dealers.
iQ: How does this affect the iQmetrix-OFFWIRE partnership? Besides the brand-name change, will our mutual clients notice anything different?
JL: I think it just gets stronger. We’re working very closely with iQmetrix on a number of projects. I think you’re just going to see more of the Brightstar brand in the channel. It’s similar to how another iQmetrix partner, eSecuritel, was acquired by Brightstar. The company is naturally expanding its offerings across the dealer channel.
The idea for us is to offer a dealer value in terms of time management and supply chain volume.
It all works hand in hand, a full cycle of the mobile phone sales process that Brightstar is able to handle.
iQ: Has this always been a dream of yours, to be bought out by a larger corporation?
JL: My plan was always to sell at some point, this just came earlier than expected.
iQ: What has the reaction been like, by your staff, in and around the office?
JL: I think was pretty standard. There were definitely nerves and anxiety at first. Change is always a little bit scary for some people. But then we announced a number of hirings. We’re an 80-person company that’s about to hire 30 – that took a lot of the anxiety away. Of course there have been some changes, but to be able to grow by almost 50% is very exciting.
iQ: What excites you about being part of Brightstar, as a company?
JL: Brightstar, even though they’re very large, they have a very entrepreneurial mindset. They move quickly. They have a very involved approach, serving wireless dealers, making things easier for them.
As OFFWIRE, our mission statement was very much like that of Brightstar –- to serve dealers and facilitate their sales, stocking and replenishment processes –- it was just a difference in scale.
iQ: What’s your outlook on the future of your company and of Brightstar as a whole?
JL: It’s really exciting. Brightstar is already the world leader for distribution of mobile devices. It’s only going to get more exciting in the next 3-5 years. The growth will be spectacular and the value creation we’ll be able to offer clients will be amazing.