When it comes to buying a used phone on the internet, it’s hard to be sure that you’re getting what you paid for. That’s the problem that French startup Back Market set out to solve in 2014. An online vertical marketplace for refurbished electronics like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, Back Market aims to make high-quality technology more accessible and sustainable—a vital service, as manufacturers like Apple hone their focus on making new products rather than on supporting the resale market.
Back Market connects resellers and buyers, eliminating the shadiness factor by providing product guarantees and after-sale services; it also rewards its sellers for ensuring the quality of their offerings. Building a strong resale market has an environmental impact, too: Since its creation, Back Market claims that by keeping older electronics in use, it has contributed to the reduction of 384,947 tons of carbon emissions and 2,274 tons of e-waste. Having raised $335 million in a Series D funding round led by General Atlantic in May and reached a current valuation of $3.2 billion, Back Market shows no signs of slowing down. It now operates in 16 countries including the U.S., the U.K., and Germany, and it has plans to launch a device buyback program in the U.S. by 2022. Back Market’s ultimate goal: to help the refurbished market one day grow as large as the trillion-dollar new-device market.
Thibaud Hug de Larauze
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General Atlantic, Goldman Sachs, Aglaé Ventures, Eurazeo Growth