Startup of the Week : RefurbMe from San Francisco

This week we feature RefurbMe, an interesting Startup from San Francisco

RefurbMe  – building and efficient marketplace to shop and monitor refurbished products

Many of us want to acquire and experience the latest technical toys, gadgets and tools. Much of it is out of necessity and some of it is to have the bragging rights of being the “first among peers” to experience a new tool or technology. When we acquire new gadgets, some of the older ones are discarded or given away, and the really old gadgets end up as Electronic waste (or e-waste)

Wikipedia “describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal are also considered e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.”

Most of us involved in the business of the digital technologies continually reflect on E-Waste, which is a real problem in many parts of the world. We try to do our bit to recycle some of the digital equipment, computers, laptops and devices.

RefurbMe is taking this problem head on by trying to build an efficient marketplace to shop and monitor refurbished products.

Mohammed Elalj, CEO, RefurbMe

RefurbMe’s mission is to provide people with the best deals for the products they want. The business was originally created as a side project by the founder, Mohammed, because he had to refresh Apple’s refurb page until 2AM to get the refurbished product he was looking for! He built a simple tool that alerted users by email when a product matched their preferences.

Startup Bytes

RefurbMe  – building and efficient marketplace to shop and monitor refurbished products
Founder:  Mohammed Elalj
Startup Focus: Refurbished product sales and comparison
Future Plans:  Expand sales in current markets
Competitors:  The refurbishers themselves (Apple, Gazelle, Mac of All Trades, etc.)
Startup stage and funding: Early stage, bootstrapped.

Q&A: Tom James, Marketing Manager

How did you get started with the idea?

Mohammed, the founder, started RefurbMe as a small widget for Mac around 10 years ago, to scrape the Apple refurbished store and monitor when refurbished products came into stock. In 2016, he moved his attention to full time on the project.
The idea sounds interesting. Who are your main competitors?

There are a few small websites that help you monitor products on the Apple refurbished store. But not that cater for multiple refurbishers like we do. If someone isn’t purchasing their product through RefurbMe, there are likely going directly to Apple, or our other supported refurbishers like Gazelle, Best Buy and Mac of All Trades.
Who are the main customers of RefurbMe ?

We are in 20 countries so far, but we are focusing on the US and Canadian markets. Our main customers are usually quite well informed about tech, and often big Apple fans. But the main characteristic is that they are looking to save money when buying their new computer, phone, tablet, etc.

How do you plan to address practical challenges. For example, marketing and outreach is a challenge most startups face? 

We still have a way to go with SEO, so we are going to be pushing out a lot more informative articles to help with that. We struggled with PR because our startup / idea isn’t particularly exciting for many news outlets to cover – it is simply a way to find the lowest prices on Apple products. However, we have a couple plans to make the website more newsworthy in the future. We are also collecting a lot of data on all sorts of things, that we can analyze to make exclusive studies.
Tell us about your business model. Where do you see yourselves in a year?

We make a commission from the items we sell via our platform. In a year, we simply see ourselves with more traffic and sales in all regions.

– About RefurbMe

Check out previous week’s featured startup: PIXA Studio

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