According to a report by the European Economic and Social Committee, smartphones have a useful life of about four years but are replaced in less than two. Only 16 percent are recycled in Europe.
In the times when sustainability is becoming a super important goal, thoughts around what happens to these goods once they are discarded have gained momentum.
While Austrian refurbished electronics marketplace Refurbed raised $54 million last year, Finnish startup Swappie swapped $124 million to transform smartphone consumption in Europe and Paris-based Back Market added another €450 million to the war chest this year.
Betting big on the circular economy and its untapped potential, a Madrid-based startup is now offering a renting service of consumer technology integrated at the point of sale of existing e-commerce and telcos. The Spanish embedded rental solution for consumer electronics, Wiserentr has raised €1.6 million funding. The round was led by BBVA and Anthemis and saw the participation of Shard Capital.
The platform allows the user to acquire a new product for just a fraction of its cost as a monthly rental fee. According to the company, this method has numerous benefits for consumers and could go a long way in boosting sustainability. Consumers have access to high-end technology and yet pay just a fraction of the price. Instead of paying for the entire useful life of the device, they pay for the time it is used, which can be up to 24 months. Consumers can also opt to cancel the rental, or purchase the device at any time.
Carlos Sánchez, CEO, Wiserentr said: “Consumers will benefit enormously from being able to access the technology they desire for a fraction of the cost and to keep up to date with the latest technological features. We are very excited about the opportunity of bringing our service and unique model to the market with the support of our investors.”
Wiserentr has already begun operations in Spain, through the retail sales giant for electronics, PC Componentes. More than 100 items for sale already offer their rental model, mainly smartphones such as Samsung or Apple.
Going forward, the company will launch new product categories such as laptops and tablets. The startup also plans to expand to other European countries such as Portugal, France, Germany and Italy.
Christhi Theiss, head of BBVA Anthemis Venture Partnership, BBVA said: “Get the latest technology much cheaper while helping the environment: that’s the type of strong value proposition we love supporting.”