These entrepreneurs won’t let your smartphone die


© Recommerce

Electronic waste is dramatically increasing with scary consequences for our planet. French entrepreneurs are working hard on developing circular economy, through refurbishment.

Every day in the United States, more than 130,000 computers and 350,000 smartphones are thrown away, with terrible environmental impact. Entrepreneurs around the world are tackling that issue by repairing and refurbishing electronic devices. The market is promising. According to IDC, over 222 million smartphones will be refurbished in 2020, compared to 81 million in 2015.

Tech for Green

Boosted by green convictions, La French Tech has positioned itself on this industry. French people generate 21kg of electronic waste every year, according to Recommerce. That Paris-based startup has recycled 2.7 million smartphones since its creation ten years ago. “We thus have saved 60,000 tons of CO2 and 80,000 tons of raw materials”, explains cofounder Benoît Varin. That is equivalent to 6,500 round-the-world flights! The pioneer company raised €50m ($55m) last year.

Today 10% of smartphones sold in the world are refurbished. This ratio could increase up to 30%

Benoît Varin, cofounder of Recommerce

© Recommerce

A platform to aggregate all the refurbishers

To achieve this ambition, Recommerce is working with various distributors – including Back Market, a marketplace to aggregates all refurbishers on a single platform. Also based in Paris, the hypergrowth company has handled €230m ($253m) of transactions last year. It is operational in six countries, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Refurbishment used to be a thing for tech savvy people and tech bloggers, now it becomes a mainstream alternative”

- Vianney Vaute, cofounder of Back Market

“The company’s leadership position is not only based on a well-tuned business strategy, but it is enhanced by being a socially responsible company that we are proud to be associated with”, adds Pierre-Yves Meerschman, a partner at Daphni (a VC fund which invested in the startup).

On October 18, Back Market received a “Tech4Good” prize for its contribution to global circular economy. How many smartphones are “sleeping” in your apartment? For the good of the planet, think of refurbishing!