Revibe, a Dubai-based start-up that retails refurbished electronics, has raised $2.3 million in a seed funding round that it will use to expand its product portfolio across the Middle East and North Africa and enhance its contribution to the circular economy.
The company's debut investment round was led by Egypt's Flat6Labs and Paris-based venture capital fund Resonance. The round also saw the participation of French investment firms Techmind and Financiere Saint James, and other angel investors.
The cash infusion will be used to expand its core markets and grow its operations and customer service units
Revibe, which mainly sells smartphones, laptops and tablets, will concentrate on scaling its supply chain and diversifying its portfolio to include other categories such as smartwatches this year.
The company said it was able to grow five-fold within seven months across the GCC, with a particular focus on the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's two biggest economies.
A subsequent funding round is expected in the second half of 2023.
“Our success has come from always meeting our pledge to customers. But we are expanding all the time and our goal is to gradually introduce all categories of electronics,” Hamza Iraqui, co-founder of Revibe, said.
Refurbished electronics are items returned to manufacturers due to defects, recycling or other purposes.
These devices are checked and tested for functionality and overhauled, with parts repaired or replaced as needed, to be resold, essentially as new. They also usually come with a guarantee or warranty.
Refurbished devices differ from second-hand units, which are items that are sold without being tested or repaired.
In the UAE, about two-thirds of residents have either bought refurbished electronic products or would consider doing so in the future, YouGov said in its latest annual report on consumer electronics.
The refurbished electronics market can also contribute to the fight against climate change, as it reuses parts that have already been manufactured, reducing the need for additional core minerals and plastics.
This in turn creates less water and air pollution and reduces e-waste, according to US non-profit Comprenew.
“We saw that there is an abundant supply of eco-friendly electronics, both locally and through imports,” said Abdessamad Benzakour, co-founder of Revibe.
“But in spite of the booming demand for more affordable green tech products, there was no established, trusted party capable of providing quality-controlled devices at scale.”
Revibe's strategy is in line with the promotion of the circular economy, an economic system that focuses on reducing the extraction of natural resources, minimising waste and regenerating natural systems.
“Refurbished electronics represents a massive opportunity, especially in this time of economic challenges and growing climate awareness, where consumers are more mindful of their carbon impact while facing decreased purchasing power,” said Maxime Le Dantec, partner and co-founder at Resonance.
Revibe, licensed by the Dubai Development Authority and incorporated at Dubai Internet City, was founded in 2022. Its business-to-consumer model offers refurbished electronics at prices that are 30 per cent to 70 per cent cheaper compared with brand-new units.
The company has a team of French engineers that conducts a 50-point device check on all products and uses a proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm to monitor quality and retain suppliers that meet strict standards.