Most entrepreneurs don't stay long after their companies are bought by corporate behemoths—but most entrepreneurs aren't Robert Stephens, the founder of Geek Squad who's meshed his creation with Best Buy to create a billion-dollar customer-service army. Stephens started Geek Squad in college, guiding the company to a solid enterprise with 60 employees and $3 million in sales.
Now, 8 years after acquisition by Best Buy, 24,000 "agents" work for Geek Squad, clad in white shirts, black pants, and clip-on ties. The squad is a big source of revenue for Best Buy, but also bolsters the retail business, giving the chain a service beyond what competitors offer. "Geek Squad's going to become a bigger and bigger component of their core strategy," a business analyst tells the LA Times. "Beyond driving sales, it increases customer satisfaction. Best Buy becomes the trusted advisor and the IT staff for the individual."