Singapore-based Reebelo raises $20 million to save second-hand devices from landfills – TechCrunch


Based in Singapore with offices across Asia and Australia, Reebelo wants to make buying used tech as desirable as buying a brand new device. “What we’ve seen is that many younger generations are very open to the idea of ​​sustainable consumption,” co-founder Philip Franta told TechCrunch. “We’re seeing a lot of growth and momentum in space globally, but also here in this region, because I think we’re finally at the stage as a society where we’ve realized that the way we’ve consumed in the past is not sustainable.”

Investors agree, with Reebelo announcing a $20 million Series A today, led by Cathay Innovation and June Fund. Other participants include FJ Labs, Naver subsidiary KREAM, Moore Strategic Ventures, French Partners and Gandel Invest. Returning backers have also contributed, such as Antler, Maximilian Bittner (co-founder of Lazada and current CEO of Vestiaire Collective, an e-commerce site for curated second-hand fashion) and Michael Cassau, the founder and CEO of Grover, a technology rental platform. .

Reebelo’s latest funding round was a $1 million seed round announced in June 2020. The company was founded in 2019 by Franta and Fabien Rastouil. He says that in less than two years, his revenue has increased 600% year over year and he now has 10,000 monthly customers and is approaching $100 million in annualized gross value of merchandise. It has offices in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.

In an interview, Franta and Rastouil said they wanted to create a startup that combines social and entrepreneurial impact. Both had related work experience in Europe – Franta was involved in subscription device programs for telecommunications, while Rastouil worked at Recommerce Solutions, a French second-hand device platform.

But the two said something like Recommerce didn’t yet exist in Singapore, where Rastouil grew up.

Unlike many e-commerce marketplaces, Reebelo selects its suppliers, emphasizing standardization of device condition and a specific rating system for buyers, using criteria such as aesthetics (e.g. , if the device has some scratches) and battery life. Partner vendors range from small stores to B2B players with much larger device volumes. Reebelo’s goal is to build the largest inventory of refurbished used devices, and says it is already the market leader in Singapore and Australia.

Before adding suppliers to its platform, Reebelo screens them, verifies that they are legal businesses, evaluates their ratings on different distribution channels and ensures that they are ready to meet the points of quality control, returns and conditions of Reebelo. The latter includes 14-day free returns and a free one-year warranty.

“It helps screen out sellers quite well initially because some don’t want to accept a one-year warranty,” Franta said.

But Reebelo also sees its suppliers as customers.

“We want to be a platform for everyone involved in this circular economy,” said Rastouil, which includes vendors who are just starting to sell certified pre-owned devices. “Vendors are also our customers, because we really want to create this whole circular economy with them in the region because it’s new for everyone.”

In terms of competition, the founders of Reebelo claim that this is a first step in the APAC region, unlike in Europe, where there are already several markets for second-hand devices. Instead of other e-commerce platforms, the main challenge is to convince customers that used devices can be as good as new.

“There is quite a bit of stigma in some countries here in the region, so the first challenge we had to overcome early on was to build trust with our users,” says Franta. “It really meant changing our minds, going from buying new devices to buying refurbished devices, but I think we’ve achieved a lot.”

The new funding will be used to hire approximately 50 new employees in Reebelo’s existing markets across all departments and expand into new markets in 2022, including South Korea. It plans to offer new financial services, such as device subscriptions, extended warranties in certain areas, damage coverage or phone theft protection. It is also expanding its vertical markets. Currently, Reebelo’s main category is smartphones, but it wants to sell more tablets, laptops and drones.

In a statement, Cathay Innovation’s Chief Investment Officer, Rajive Keshup, said, “Reebelo provides a consumer platform and marketplace that makes it easier for anyone to obtain electronic goods, while helping to solve the electronic waste. The company provides a critical platform for the circular economy in Southeast Asia and Australia, and we look forward to helping drive their expansion and growth. »

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