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Started By FAU Grads, Nerd Alert Aims To Be The ‘Uber Of Tech Support’

June 18, 2015 — Barbara Glicks lives in a small townhome that's open and bright. She has colorful art on the walls and fruit on the table, just as you would expect from a stylish South Florida grandmother.  

The difference is that you’ll probably find her sitting on the couch with a brand new iPad, and she likely knows more about it than you.  

“If it wasn’t for Julius, I’d still be using a typewriter,” she says.

Glicks, 83, was one of the first clients of Nerd Alert, a new service in southern Palm Beach County that offers instruction and training for operating tablets, computers, phones and other devices that may cause users occasional headaches. So far, clients have included real estate agents, lawyers and people who simply want to learn more about their gadgets. 

Glicks has been working with Julius McGee, one of the founders of Nerd Alert, for about four years now. He has helped her learn how to use her iPad, iMac, iPhone and even her television. If a certain task requires too many or complicated steps, he will write down notes for her to reference.

Nerd Alert was officially founded earlier this year by a group of FAU graduates who, years before, helped to create Virgin Gaming, an online gaming platform that hosts tournaments and matches, with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

The ultimate goal, McGee says, is to become the “Uber of tech support.”

But becoming a so-called “nerd” isn’t easy. An application, interview and background check are required just to get the job. New hires must then go through certification courses in all the latest technology. This can include everything from Apple to Android software, from the newest smartphone model to a television set, and even social media sites and Adobe software.

“We want the best nerds,” McGee says. “You have to be personable and have the knowledge.”

Nerd Alert currently services all of Palm Beach County and expects to expand into Broward and Miami-Dade counties within the year, he says.

Private sessions with a nerd usually run about an hour and start at $40 per hour; however, that price can increase depending on the complexity of the training needed. Those interested in the service can reserve time with a worker by calling the phone number listed on the Nerd Alert website, but McGee says customers will soon be able to make an appointment by using an app. 

As for Glicks, she credits all of her technological knowledge and skills to McGee and Nerd Alert.

“I feel like he’s my grandson or something,” Glicks says, noting that she is the only client of McGee’s who has his personal phone number so that she can text him whenever she needs help. “We have a good relationship.”