Angely Ortega sits down with a customer and walks him through the upgrade he did from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
by Dave Warner
If you thought you had to go to Utica or New Hartford to get tech support on your computer, cell phone, or even your drone, you’re wrong, because that service exists right here on Main Street in Little Falls.
Angely Ortega opened FunTech Providers last year on 604 E Main Street and he’s been growing the business ever since then.
Ortega hails from the Dominican Republic and had been thinking about coming here, ever since he was a teenager. He made his first visit in 2006 to the U.S. and the Bronx but moved permanently to the United States in 2009.
“I lived in Manhatten for three years, then went to Alfred College and did an internship there, and then moved to Utica and have lived there almost four years now,” said Ortega.
He started working for the Little Falls School District in 2019 as an IT support technician, helping teachers, administrators, and students, acting as a help desk for them. He also provides educational services and assists in teaching a class at the high school.
Ortega said that it was kind of a bizarre decision to decide to pick everything up and move to the U.S. “I wanted to be an astronaut, but in the Dominican Republic, that’s impossible. They don’t have a space program there. If I’d told someone there that’s what I wanted to be, they would have thought I was nuts.”
“I was always passionate about computers. My dad bought me my first computer when I was seven years old and in the Dominican Republic at that time, it was a pretty difficult thing for him to do. I got a 1998 Hewlett Packard. My dad was always a hard-working person and he surprised me one day with the computer.”
Ortega believes that his dad didn’t want him to miss the opportunity that having a computer might provide for his son. “He made that sacrifice, and here I am,” he said.
Since that day, Ortega worked with something computer-related almost every day. He learned how to take them apart and put them back together. When he came to the U.S., he started working with cell phones as well.
“I worked with the very first iPhones. I did a lot of experiments at the time with them.”
While in college, he kept repairing things, especially phones. “I was actually one of the top repairpersons at the school. I used to even repair cell phones for the professors,” stated Ortega.
The idea of having his own computer company started while he was in high school. “I came up with the name FunTech, but it wasn’t until I went to college and I was thinking about the name that I figured it out. I wanted to play a joke with plain words, and in computers, there is a protocol called FTP – File Transfer Protocol. I wanted the name of my company to match those initials.”
And that’s how FunTech Providers came about. “I knew the meaning of it and what it meant to me,” he said. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that Ortega formally established the company with that name.
He wasn’t making enough money prior to that to get serious about it, but once he formed the company, it became real for him. “I started getting clientele and I thought, let’s do this for real.”
Ortega originally started working for different stores in the Utica area as a contractor. “I was a repairperson for at least three of the top stores in Utica and that on its own was giving me good revenue. I didn’t have to have a location, I just did pickups and dropoffs of electronics. It allowed my schedule to be pretty open.”
Once he took the job in Little Falls though, it became tougher to keep up that routine, but while he was here, he thought that there was a need for his services. “I thought – I definitely have to open a store here, so I did it.”
He says that it took a bit to get it going, especially since word of mouth takes a while to go through town about a new business. “The thing I’m trying to do now is to make everything click. Make my website and store very functional and make sure that the customers get the service that they deserve.”
FunTech Providers does computer repair, cell phone repair, and pretty much repair of any kind of electronic device. “We also do security camera installations, both commercial and residential.”
The company also does remote maintenance on your computer if you are not able to bring it to the store. “You can call us and we’ll do a call service where we will remotely access your computer and make sure everything is working the way that it should,” he said.
If that doesn’t work, then you set an appointment up with Ortega and bring the computer in.
If you need to buy a computer, then FunTech is also the place to stop by to figure out what you need. “You’re not going to see computers at the store, because we work with a model where you give us your specs and we get what you need and it comes in for you to pick up.”
You can order off-the-shelf computers, or they will custom build a machine that meets your needs.
Ortega says that if it wasn’t for his working in the school district, he would not have identified the need that the community has for his type of store.
When asked where he sees his business, five years from now, Ortega said, “this business changes very fast, but I can tell you, I’m trying to do more online. For some people, finding things online is hard and complicated, but as more companies do it, I have to stay marketable.”
“If I don’t get there now and establish a footprint, it may be too late for me to compete at a regional level in the future.”
Ortega feels that if he does that, he’ll be able to reach people all over the world from Little Falls. “You can start with a small place like this, and then expand.”
“I think the one thing that I would recommend for people who want to be entrepreneurs is to follow what you are passionate about. Your business might start someplace, but if you don’t follow your heart, you’ll never know where it might go. Do it because it’s something you really want to do, not because it’s popular.”
Ortega says that if he had focused on the money aspect first, that he wouldn’t have gotten as far as he has. “I would have been thinking about the money side of it and not the fun side of it. That’s why the name of my business is FunTech. It’s about having fun.”
“I encourage people to come to the store and just take a look,” he said.
For more information, visit funtechproviders.com, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at 315-360-7643. Their hours are 2 pm – 8 pm Monday through Friday unless they’re out on a call.