Back Market, a Paris-based online marketplace for refurbished electronics, raises $335 million at $3.2 billion valuation
Recent research shows that the refurbished market for consumer electronics, which includes many of the buy-back programs by smartphone and laptop makers, is estimated to be about $100 billion. Many global manufacturers and retailers have less focus on refurbished electronics. However, as efforts shift from recycling to upcycling, many innovative startups are now finding ways to refurbished these electronic products and sell them to consumers in secondary markets at affordable prices.
One of the leading startups in this space is Paris, France-based Back Market that has created a marketplace to connect companies that restore used gadgets with consumers through a one-stop shopping experience, complete with warranties and customer service. Back Market has nearly 5 million customers in 13 countries with 1,500 sellers on the platform.
Today, Back Market announced it has raised $335 million in an investment led by General Atlantic, with the support of Generation Investment Management, as well as existing investors Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, Aglaé Ventures, Eurazeo and daphni. The funding comes just three years after launching in North America. The round, which now valued the company at $3.2 billion will be used to expand its operations and accelerate growth.
Back Market was founded in France in 2014 by Thibaud Hug de Larauze, Quentin Le Brouster, and Vianney Vaute. Its aim is to make it easier for customers to buy refurbished gadgets like iPhones without having to worry that the seller may be peddling stolen or broken goods, said Chief Executive Thibaud Hug de Larauze.
Today, Back Market brings high-quality professionally refurbished electronic devices and appliances to customers in 13 countries (including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, and more recently, Portugal, Japan, Finland and Ireland). It employs a team of 480 employees and counting across its 4 offices located in New York, Berlin, Paris and Bordeaux.
To ensure the quality of the refurbished goods merchants, Back Market has a strict onboarding policy, he said. That includes an acceptance rate to join the platform of only 30%, followed by a sales limit of five items a day for 40 days to prove their products have low failure rates and their customer service meets the standards.
“We basically take all the feedback from the clients. We make a quality score. And then thanks to that quality score, we only push the best sellers to the end-user,” said Hug de Larauze.
Nearing 5 million customers worldwide, Back Market is catalyzing a fundamental shift in consumer behavior and driving the conversation around how people consume technology. Sustainability is increasingly a driving factor in purchase decisions.
In a 2019 US Consumer Sustainability Survey by CGS, 68% of respondents across age and gender said sustainability was important to them when making a purchase. A consumer panel showed that 25% of Americans cite sustainability as the most compelling reason to buy refurbished electronics in 2021, up from 16% in 2019. Sustainability is a huge part of the brand’s DNA, and Back Market has attracted investors that truly value the company’s mission and vision.