Looks like new, works like new … but it’s not new.
“Like new, only better” is the motto of refurbed ™, the next company in our Green Business series and we are very happy about it!
Sustainability in electronics is a complex and difficult topic. However, refurbed ™ manages to protect cell phones, laptops and other devices from their destiny to the junkyard and gives them a second chance. This benefits users and, of course, the environment in particular.
We are pleased to present you a Green Business Interview with one of the founders of refurbed ™, Peter Windischhofer. We hope you enjoy reading!
How and when did you come up with the idea of starting your own company?
A few years ago, I was looking for a more sustainable alternative to my smartphone, so I bought a used cell phone online. Since I was still studying at the time, the price was of course also decisive. I initially thought that I had made a good bargain, but after a few weeks the smartphone broke. Since I had no guarantee or warranty for the product, I stayed on the costs. Then the term “refurbished” came back to me. Due to my studies in the USA, I already knew about refurbished products, just no company in Europe that offers them. It became clear to me that refurbished products are our best alternative to our throw-away company and so the idea for refurbed was born.
What was your motivation and vision back then?
Making sustainable technology accessible to everyone. The idea that the more sustainable decision was the cheaper one was the most convincing argument for my co-founders and myslef. The idea that you have to sacrifice the things you love or give up comfortable habits for more sustainability is deeply rooted in the minds of many. This is not the case with refurbed ™ products. Sustainability becomes socially acceptable and easily accessible. Refurbed should therefore become the green Amazon for refurbished products. Our customers can easily find their way around our website and thus find the best deal for themselves. Soon every household in Europe should have at least 1 refurbed ™ device at home.
What has changed since then?
The vision is still the same, but of course we are constantly working on implementing the idea as well as new services and products. Our customers give us regular feedback, for which we are very grateful because we can constantly work on making better services and the best offers.
Were there initial challenges?
Yes of course. This is always the case with new ideas. At the time of the market entry in 2017, refurbished products were a niche topic, even without a particularly good reputation. The result of this was that there was no uniform quality standard. Refurbished or refurbished, as it says in German, says nothing about the quality. With refurbed, we have created a platform that counteracts this. We only offer high quality products with uniform, high standards in terms of quality, safety, and guarantee. So, our customers buy sustainable electronics easily and without risk.
What does a typical day look like in your life today?
We are still a start-up and there is actually no typical day yet. Every day is different and that’s the nice thing about it.
What are the most important skills and qualities to be successful in your
Diversity is important to us. We are always looking for different skills. Of course, it depends on the vacancies that are currently open, but the team for which recruiting plays an important role in the search for talent. In the end, it is important for us, in addition to the necessary skillset and understanding of the job, especially whether the person fits well with our company culture and into the existing team. So far, this has worked really well and in 2019 alone we grew from 25 to over 80 employees.
Do you have a secret to success?
Believe in yourself, your idea, and your team. Together you can do more than alone.
How do you / your company make money?
By selling refurbed ™ devices through our platform.
Is there anything that you think needs improvement in your industry?
In the electronics industry in particular, sustainability is still a marginal issue. It starts with the extraction of the necessary resources for production and ends with the disposal of the old devices. There is still a lot of room for improvement. We definitely want to be a pioneer in making this industry sustainable.
If you could start again, would you do something different?
As a start-up, you always make a lot of mistakes, but they are important to learn and improve. We would do the big topics again.
What advice do you give others for their lives and careers?
If you have an idea that inspires you, then you should definitely pursue it. In addition to all the enthusiasm at the beginning, you should always keep an eye on your finances and know your numbers. In addition, you don’t have to be able to do everything on your own. The three of us founded our company together and each of us is a specialist in a different area, so we share the tasks and the responsibilities.