30 Fastest Growing Companies to Watch 2020
Technological advances are happening at a rapid pace. As the world becomes more connected with the help of technology, devices are losing value and becoming obsolete. This means that there’s a need for life-cycle planning to get the maximum value out of the technology inventory. Mike McKenna, a former Apple employee, identified the opportunity in this unique requirement. His vision manifested itself in Diamond Assets LLC in 2014. It is the leading company in the U.S. today that provides proven expertise and turnkey service to businesses and organizations that are in need of technology budget solutions and want to get the most out of their Apple devices.
In an interview with us, Mike talked about his idea that became Diamond Assets. He told us how the company works with school districts and organizations across the U.S. and helps them create long-term sustainable technology plans. Here are the excerpts:
What inspired you to start Diamond Assets?
I have always been a risk-taker and an entrepreneur. The idea of Diamond Assets came to me while I was working at Apple as an Account Executive. My role at Apple was to work with school districts in Wisconsin on transforming the classroom through the use of Apple’s technology and ecosystem. I quickly learned in this role that, if given a choice, most schools in the district would prefer to have Apple products for their students as opposed to the other alternatives. However, time and time again, I would run into the same issue, which was cost. Apple clearly has a higher price point than other education alternatives, like Chromebook, and so, the schools would make the argument that they could buy two Chromebook’s for every iPad. It was a battle that I faced every day with district leadership all over the state, and it forced me to get creative and think differently. I wondered, “How could I level the playing field? How could I make the argument for Apple given that, when it came down to it, most customers just cared about the price?” The solution was to prove that just like other things in life—cars, houses, etc.,—if you invest in a good product, there is a return on your investment.
My theory was that because Apple was such a revered brand and built with such great care and quality, there would be a return on investment similar to that of a house or other valuable asset. The hypothesis was tested and proven true; there was a high demand for used Apple products, which meant that used Apple products had a high residual value. Knowing this information, as a sales rep, I could then go into schools and take the price conversation off the table because with the value of an iPad at the end of 3 years—not only was it the same price, but it was actually cheaper than a Chromebook and other alternatives that had zero value after being purchased. I quickly found that this was huge, and if a company could be created to replicate this, it would work not only in Wisconsin but all over the U.S., and it would be very successful.
It was a win for everyone. The school districts got to supply their students with the best technology for learning, Apple sold more units, and the company (Diamond Assets) could make money by facilitating the trade-in process. In 2014, the concept became a reality, and Diamond Assets was formed. In 6 years, we moved from a small storage unit to a 50,000 square foot facility and now employ over 100 people. We have also paid over $250,000,000 in residual value back to schools to help fund their technology refreshes. And in 2018, we were ranked INC 5000 #7 fastest growing company in the U.S.
What are the company’s mission and vision?
Our mission is to provide solutions that deliver a combination of aggressive pricing and exceptional service, allowing our clients to achieve their technology sustainability plans.
What are the perks of employing Diamond Assets?
At Diamond Assets, we believe customer service is a top priority. We want to ensure that all of our customers have a great experience. We have built the business on reputation and word of mouth and continue to do so.
Explain the K-12 educational programs. Why is it important?
Our business enables schools to provide the best technology to their students and upgrade devices on a much more frequent basis than ever before. This allows schools to be at the forefront of teaching our kids how to utilize their technology resources and succeed in real-time. Using the latest technology to teach students from K-12 only solidifies their success in a technology-driven society.
How do you help schools that use MacBooks, iPads, or other Apple products?
We work with school districts to create long term sustainable technology plans. This allows schools to identify when the optimal time is to trade-in their aging technology and capture their highest returns to aid in the refresh of their technology assets.
How do you plan technology for school districts?
We’re able to work with school districts that are looking at different device purchase options and forecast out for them what the long term true total cost of ownership is. Specifically, we look at residual value, breakage rates, etc.
What are your customer trade-in solutions?
We work with organizations to provide custom trade-in solutions. We have found over the years that every organization has different needs. So, we developed custom trade-ins whether you’re a school district located on an island in Alaska or a Fortune 500 company. They have benefited because we are nimble and able to provide a unique turnkey solution for everyone.
The Leader Upfront
Mike McKenna, President and CEO
Mike had the idea for Diamond Assets when he worked with Apple as an Account Executive. The insights acquired while working with Apple helped shape his business ideas. A risk-taker and an entrepreneur, he founded Diamond Assets in 2014. Under his leadership, Diamond Assets ranked no. 7 on INC 5000 Fastest Growing Company in the US list.
“We work with school districts to create long-term sustainable technology plans.”