French start-up secures backing from Goldman Sachs and others in bid to expand its marketplace for refurbished smartphones, laptops and tablets
Back Market, an online marketplace for selling refurbished electronics goods and appliances, has secured $120m from a host of major investors in its latest fundraising round, as it sets its sights on further expansion of its business and repair services.
Founded in 2014, the Paris-based start-up enables users to purchase electronics - such as smartphones, tablets, laptops - directly from certified sellers that refurbish, verify, and offer a minimum 12-month warranty for all products.
The website operates in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, and the US, and earlier this year launched in the UK with the stated aim to "temper the pace of new device consumption".
Back Market said the new funds announced yesterday from backers including Goldman Sachs, Aglaé Ventures, and Eurazeo Growth would be used to continue its expansion worldwide, as well as strengthen its position in existing markets "with a core focus on the US, UK, and Germany".
The company said it also plans to "invest heavily" in quality control of devices sold on its marketplace, build a dedicated machine learning team to improve its algorithms, introduce new services around logistics and repair, and expand on services for its sellers, such as sourcing spare parts.
Thibaud Hug de Larauze, CEO and co-founder of Back Market, said the $120m fundraise was a "signal of maturity, not only for Back Market, but also for the rapidly expanding refurbished industry".
"We have created a global brand and established a name that is not only synonymous with ‘refurbished' but also with ‘quality'," he said. "With this round of funding, we are optimistic that we can reinforce our leadership in this market and have a lasting positive impact on consumers' perceptions about refurbished devices."
While refurbished devices have historically been marketed primarily as a low-cost option for consumers, Back Market said consumers were becoming more environmentally conscious in their buying habits, and that its role in tackling e-waste was becoming an increasingly attractive factor for investors.
The latest fundraise follows a pervious round which saw Back Market secure $55m backing from investors including Aglaé Ventures, Eurazeo Growth, and Daphni.
Alexandre Flavier, an investor at Goldman Sachs Growth, said he was pleased to support Back Market's ambitious growth plans. "Back Market has a clear mission to build a category leader in the circular economy, supporting the world's transition to more sustainable consumption," he added.
In related news, in the UK a new nationwide 'Recycle Your Electricals' campaign has been launched by green non-profit Material Change, calling on British households to avoid throwing out or hoarding unwanted small old electricals, and to start reusing and recycling them instead.
Material Change - formerly named the WEEE Fund - said it was also funding technical research into the barriers to consumers reusing and recycling old electricals, the insight from which it plans to use to identify "new and innovative approaches to recycling".
"When we recycle our old electricals, we're giving a new lease of life to the treasure hidden within - valuable metals like gold, copper, steel and aluminium," explained Scott Butler, executive director of Material Change. "These materials can then be transformed into everything from bicycles to life saving equipment. If you're decluttering at home, now is a good time to gather up, prepare and store your old electricals in a bag - ready for recycling after lockdown."
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