Alex Dechant, 29
FOUNDER AND CEO
Life Story: You know how it goes. Guy meets girl while studying abroad, falls in love, follows her back to her hometown of London, England, and…well, that’s where this takes a turn. Alex Dechant moved from Lethbridge, Alberta, to the U.K., and when he couldn’t get a job on a two-year visa, he started a company called Apple Tree that fixed iPhones and other Apple products. Dechant left England when his visa ran out. He sold Apple Tree (which still offers smartphone repairs in Canterbury) in 2014 and brought a similar idea back to Western Canada.
So Cell Clinic was born, growing to two locations in Vancouver and one in Surrey, where the head office is located. The company’s 22 employees fix cellphones of all kinds and sell used ones. Of course, success breeds imitation. “A lot of break-ins, lot of negative online review stuff,” Dechant says of how competition has manifested itself in the business. “[The reviews are] mostly fake; we try to go, Oh, we’re really sorry about this, but it does appear to be fake.”
Bottom Line: Dechant’s stores earned gross revenue of more than $1.5 million in 2018. He’s in talks with a couple of major phone makers about partnerships in the used-device space, and is starting another company that will put electronics recycling at the forefront of its mission.