Vienna, Austria-based Refurbed announced today that it has raised a $17 million round of venture capital to fuel the expansion of its marketplace for restored consumer electronics.
Refurbed, which focuses on the European market, works with factory partners that specialize in restoring smartphones, laptops, and tablets. The company makes those products easier to find via its website, while also offering warranties and customer service.
“We want to make refurbished products as normal as possible,” said cofounder and CEO Peter Windischhofer. “With refurbished products, you can get good quality for less money and do something good for the environment. There’s not many products where you can say that.”
Founded in 2017, the company reports that it has more than 150,000 customers. Refurbed is riding consumers’ growing interest in second-hand devices. Rival Back Market, based in Paris, raised a $48 million round in 2018 and has expanded into the U.S.
Windischhofer cofounded the company with Kilian Kaminski and Juergen Riedl. While Windischhofer had personally purchased a refurbished phone, the experience left him a bit sour. The phone stopped working after three months, and he had no way to get a refund.
While studying in the U.S., he had seen refurbished products become more commonplace, but the idea lagged in Europe. Even though Back Market had launched, it was not available in Austria, Windischhofer said. So the team launched their own take on the idea.
One critical difference, he noted, is that Refurbed only works with 80 partners, while Back Market has many more. Windischhofer said he wanted to focus on fewer suppliers to ensure quality control.
Finnish Evli Growth Partners led this round of funding, with participation from Almaz Capital, Bonsai Partners, All Iron Ventures, FJ Labss, Klaus Hofbauer, and Inventure Partners.
Refurbed currently operates in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Poland and saw sales increase by 5 times in 2019. Windischhofer said the latest funding will be used to expand to new markets in Europe, as well as enlarging the company’s presence in its current markets.
“The knowledge of people about refurbished products is still very limited,” he said. “Our job is to educate them and tell them how great refurbished products are.”