Published by the Dallas Business Journal

Florida tech firm shifted HQ to DFW — and is bringing hundreds of jobs amid investments

Aug 19, 2021

A sizable tech-related company in Florida has moved to the Dallas area –and is investing millions locally.

Likewize, which went by Brightstar until a recent rebranding, shifted it global headquarters to Southlake on the eve of 2021 and is ramping up other operations in the region, CMO Jeremy Dale said in an interview.

The company is investing roughly $25 million in North Texas and that includes a fulfillment center in Flower Mound and its efforts in Southlake. LikeWize will be moving its call center to Southlake as well.

The company, which has about 4,000 employees globally, has an annual revenue of more than $5 billion. Operating in over 30 countries, it’s looking to improve its position as a company, and North Texas was the right spot for it.

“Dallas is one of the fastest-growing tech centers in the country,” Dale said. “It’s in the middle of the country so it works great for us from a distribution point of view. It’s by the airport, so obviously it’s important for us, getting to our customers in the country, but also globally.”

Dale noted some clients are in the region as well.

The company is slated to have about 650 employees locally by the middle of next year.

“We anticipate growing toward 900, even 1,000, within another 12, 18 months after that,” Dale said.

He said the company will be spending around $100 million in its first year here, including headcount and other operational items.

Likewize, which has assisted with devices that include Apple iPhones, offers services for mobile devices around areas that include technology insurance, extended warranties, repairs and trade-ins. There’s also help for customer service and recycling of devices.

The company, which started as a mobile phone distributor, has continued to expand as folks spend more on their devices and use them for more areas. It aims to step in at crucial points in the life of a smartphone to help ensure customers stay with their clients, including carriers or manufacturers.

“We’re a tech protection and support company now,” Dale said. “When tech goes wrong – we make it right. That’s why we exist. That’s why we come to work every day.”

The company was formerly owned by Softbank. In October of last year, Brightstar Capital Partners announced it wrapped up the acquisition of what is now Likewize while Softbank retained a minority stake.

The company has used inorganic moves to help fuel its growth, making several deals in the past three years. Dale pointed to WeFix, a U.K. company, that provides mobile service for repairing smartphones. That became a popular option during the stay-at-home rules amid the pandemic.

“We’ve rolled that out in Canada,” Dale said. “We’re rolling it out in Australia as we speak. It will be rolled out here in the U.S. And so we see how we constantly have to innovate and bring in the services that consumers need.”

The Flower Mound facility began to operate earlier this year and continues to be improved. It provides a temperature-controlled environment that’s “state-of-the-art” and includes robotics. The call center effort is in Southlake, and that’s slated for the next six months or so.

“We needed to be all together,” he said. “We needed to be in a very accessible part of the country. … It has been a real rebirth for the company.”