Back Market, platform for refurbished tech gadgets, raises $335 million

FILE PHOTO: Billboards advertising Back Market, a market place for refurbished tech gadgets are seen in New York City, NY, U.S., October 2, 2020. Picture taken October 2, 2020. Back Market/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Back Market, an online platform for buying, selling and servicing refurbished tech gadgets, said on Tuesday it raised $335 million in its latest funding round which valued the company at $3.2 billion.

The company, started in France in 2014, aims 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.

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.

He estimated the refurbished gadgets market is about $100 billion annually, which includes many of the buy-back programs by smartphone and laptop makers. But there are still many segments like gaming consoles and smart home products that have no easy access to the refurbished market.

To create vibrant markets for those goods, as well as smartphones, tablets and laptops, Back Market has launched a program for consumers to sell their used gadgets online.

The latest funding round was led by private equity firm General Atlantic and Generation Investment Management, a sustainability-focused investment firm whose cofounder and chairman is former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Back Market has nearly 5 million customers in 13 countries with 1,500 sellers on the platform.

(Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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