By Bruno Capelas – The State of S. Paulo.
12/04/2020 | 5:00 am
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The Brazilian startup , which buys and sells used smartphones, announces on Thursday, 3, that raised a contribution of US $ 30 million led by funds Barn Investimentos and Bulb Capital. Wayra, Vivo's innovation company, also participated in the round. With the resources, the company will expand its operations and also its service offer.
Founded in 2014, it operates on two fronts. On the purchase side, it partners with manufacturers, retailers and operators to buy handsets delivered by users in exchange for discounts on the purchase of a new cell phone – among the partners, there are brands such as Vivo, Via Varejo, Magazine Luiza and Samsung. After receiving the smartphones, the company does a functionality check and places them for resale on its official website and in physical stores.
Since the start of the operation, the startup has sold 1.4 million used cell phones.
During the pandemic, the company said it saw high demand for used cell phones. “It was practically twice as much as last year”, Says the executive president Guille Freire, in an exclusive interview with Estadão. According to him, who is from Argentina, the most sought after devices are in the range of R $ 1,000, with up to two years of launch. “We have devices ranging from R $ 400 to R $ 3,000, but not everyone can pay R $ 1,000 on a cell phone."
Amid the quarantine, the company also had to change its operating system: instead of receiving cell phones from partners, it had to create a logistical system to search for
appliances in customers' homes. In place of the hourly discount, he had to implement a cashback system, with direct deposit to the user's account. With the funds from the investment, the company intends to expand its team – today, it has 400 employees divided between São Paulo and Buenos Aires, with plans to grow 50% over the next year.
The amounts will also be used to bet on three services, expanding the company's portfolio. One of them is express repair, which allows you to change the screen or repair some
component in a few hours, either in the company's physical stores or at home. Another is insurance for used cell phones – something little seen in the Brazilian market, but which is in line with the company's proposal.
The third is the support for the cell phone leasing service, something quite common out there that is gradually arriving in the Brazilian market – brands like Apple, for example, already allow the user to keep an iPhone for up to 24 months and then switch device. “For this to exist, someone needs to keep the used cell phone and put it back on the market. We will support more brands to launch these programs”, Says Freire. According to him, the growth of in 2021 should come from these different verticals, as well as from online sales – due to the pandemic, people are not only buying more on the web, but also had more time to research different options in the cell phone market.
Despite having an office in Buenos Aires, the company only operates in the Brazilian market. Demand to advance in the Latin market, says the Argentine, there is no shortage. “There's nobody doing what we do in Latin America and big retailers have already come to us”, Says the executive, who does not see an expansion in the short term – for him, the Brazilian market still has enough challenges for the current stage of the company. “We are very focused here for next year, at least”, Says Freire.