2022 just started and France can already be proud of its startup ecosystem. While French startups benefited from important investments in 2021, the first weeks of 2022 saw already a few of them reaching the Unicorn status.
Five days ago – January 11th – Qonto completed a round of $554 million, becoming the biggest French Unicorn up to that date. But Back Market’s latest round – $510 Million – allowed the startup to reach a new higher valuation of $5,7 billion. That puts Back Market at the top of the list of the biggest French unicorns. And yes that happened just a day after Qonto achieved its incredible valuation. What an amazing moment for France’s startups!
Back Market, A Startup To Keep An Eye On
The refurbished electronics marketplace, Back Market, was one of the first in its sector to reach unicorn status. Its reputation and valuation have been growing very fast. Six months ago they raised $315 million, now $510 million and the valuation of the company skyrocketed as well.
As people are getting more aware of climate change and the importance of reuse, recycle and a circular economy, this startup gives the opportunity to reduce waste while earning some money.
A Well-Deserved Success
This year, Sprints Capital, well known for its investment in technology-enabled companies, led the investment round in Back Market. Previously other large investors, including Goldman Sachs, have invested in this company.
While big companies suffered from COVID19, Back Market was able to grow at a very fast pace, despite the pandemic. They were able to double their sales and build a solid consumers base thanks to their strategy of collaboration with over 1,200 experts in the refurbished technology sector.
RELATED ARTICLES: Turning Trash into Treasure: An Interview with Paulina Alfeus | Chasing Tesla: 5 EVs Startups Looking to Become The Next Unicorn, | Top 5 Tips for Thrift Shopping, | Why We Need Circular Food Systems and What Cities Can Do About It
Back Market And The Giants
Since Back Market is not the only company in this sector, it is facing some fierce competition. Apple wanted to be part of this new trend and launched Apple Trade-In. This service allows clients to recycle their old smartphones and, in exchange, save money when buying new ones.
A similar idea is behind Samsung’s Responsible Recycling strategy. By supporting drop-off locations, the Korean brand offers the possibility of dropping off or picking up devices and appliances at the same time. They are actually collaborating with Call 2 Recycle and Recycle Nation, to make sure the products they are collecting will not be sent directly to the landfill.
Being in direct competition with such tech giants and their initiatives is a real challenge for Back Market. However, with a very smart communication strategy, they were able to reach a large number of customers.
Those new customers, in the beginning, might have not considered buying refurbished devices as a “safe” option, so Back Market had to convince them that it was not only safe but also good for the environment.
While telecom companies along with those producing smartphones and other devices are always offering new products to replace our old ones, there is now a place where it is safe to buy refurbished devices.
A New Way To Consume
Buying secondhand items could reduce effectively global consumption. As our planet is suffering from waste, -especially tech-related waste -, we must be aware that all our actions can either have a positive or negative impact. While Back Market is becoming a big name for refurbished devices, there are many other similar alternatives in other sectors, such as fashion, transportation, etc…
Will others be able to reach Back Market’s unicorn status?