Swappie raises $124 million Series C round to transform smartphone consumption
Swappie, the end-to-end online destination for buying and selling refurbished smartphones, has announced a $124M (€108M) Series C funding round.
The round was led by growth equity firm Verdane, specialising in tech-enabled, sustainable businesses, alongside existing investors Lifeline Ventures, Inventure, Reaktor Ventures and TESI. [ONLY FOR FI, SE AND DK - PLEASE ADD THE FOLLOWING] and Telia Ventures. The round was also supported by external financing provider Danske Bank Growth.
Swappie is making it easier than ever for people to purchase environmentally responsible smartphones. It is transforming the market by closing the loop on refurbished electronics for the first time and making the circular smartphone economy accessible to the masses. The overall market for used and refurbished smartphones is forecast to grow at an annual growth rate of 10.23% between 2022 and 2027.
This latest round brings the company's total funding to over $171M (€149M), following a Series B round of $40.6M (€35.8 million) in June 2020, and will allow Swappie to continue to meet growing customer demand for refurbished goods.
The Finland-based scale-up, which buys, refurbishes and sells iPhones—ensuring high quality through controlling the whole value chain—will use this injection of funding to bolster its European expansion and accelerate growth of the category as a whole. With the goal of becoming the leading European player in the refurbished smartphone sector, Swappie will focus on scaling operations in its existing 15 markets across the continent, notably in Italy and Germany. Having almost doubled its market presence since last summer—increasing from eight to 15 countries—the scale-up is increasing the accessibility of high quality refurbished devices and building trust in the category. This will involve increasing its headcount of 1,200 talented and purpose-driven people by the end of 2022, to 2,200 people.
Supported by increased consumer awareness of the environmental impact of e-waste —sustainability is the one of the biggest drivers among Swappie customers for purchasing a refurbished phone—Swappie has seen incredible demand from consumers to date, putting it at the forefront of a new wave of European purpose-driven tech scale-ups.
It is predicted that smartphones will generate 146 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2022, with 83% of these emissions coming from the manufacture, shipping, and first-year usage of the 1.4 billion new smartphones forecast to be shipped in 2022. Keeping a mobile phone in use for an extra year would save more than 2 million tonnes of emissions, demonstrating the positive environmental impact which Swappie is committed to providing consumers, and the planet.
Thanks to using the latest technology and focusing expertise solely on iPhones, Swappie is able to fix the deepest issues—repairing many devices that other companies cannot and extending the lifestyle better than any other player in the market. And by owning its own factories, in Finland and Estonia, the company can ensure the highest standards are met, and that waste is reduced through a smarter use of materials.
Swappie refurbishes phones directly, to the highest standards using the latest technology — often meaning that their refurbished phones can be as robust as the original devices and in certain cases even stronger. And, the customer journey is like buying new, with live customer support, fast shipping options and a 12-month, or more, Swappie Warranty™.
Sami Marttinen, Co-founder and CEO, Swappie: "Swappie continues to strengthen our European leadership in refurbished iPhones with this investment. Our main priority is accelerating growth in our current European markets, with a view to expanding further afield in the next few years, to meet rising demand.
People are increasingly looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact, and locking on to the fact that smartphone purchasing is an area we can all address. We all want great tech, but it doesn't need to cost the earth.
We truly believe that Swappie can drive consumer awareness and trust in the sector by standardising quality, championing the role of sustainability, and making buying a refurbished smartphone as common as buying a used car."
Janne Holmia, Partner, Verdane: "As people and companies progressively move towards a more sustainable lifestyle, the iPhone refurbishment and re-commerce space has grown considerably, and with it Swappie, which has demonstrated the potential to become Europe's market leader in refurbished smartphones. Verdane is excited to be working alongside Swappie as we deploy our expertise in building sustainable digital consumer businesses to support a vision of a more resource-efficient future for the European consumer."
Emma Lehikoinen, Chief Operating Officer, Swappie: "The market opportunity for refurbished smartphones is vast. The total smartphone market is worth €100 billion in Europe, with used or refurbished phones making-up just over 10% of that today. With only 25% of pre-owned phones currently sold, there is huge potential for the refurbished phone market to grow. At Swappie we see this potential as a great opportunity to solidify our efforts in growing the current European operations.”
Swappie has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, growing sales by more than 220% in 2020 - $110M (€97M) in 2020, compared to $34 million (€31M) the year before. With 12 markets opened during the pandemic, Swappie holds the market leader position in the refurbished smartphone industry in the majority of its markets including Finland, Sweden and Italy, and has sold over 1 million refurbished smartphones to date.
With consumers becoming more familiar with the refurbished product category and more aware of the impact that their choice of device can have on the environment, Swappie is in a unique position to provide customers with a high quality, more affordable and environmentally friendly way to upgrade their phones.