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Refurb provides new life to old computers

Refurb provides new life to old computers

The Danish startup Refurb focuses on recycling of IT equipment in large companies. They buy up for example used computers, optimise them and sell them with full warranty.

By Tobias Ehlig

The concept is actually quite simple. Out in the big companies around Europe are a lot of IT equipment that is no longer being used. Refurb contacts these companies, and the buys the equipment at a good price, as the companies do not use it anyway.

The equipment is then sent to Denmark, where it will be optimized and purified so that it can be resold and basically act as new equipment.

Refurb has a great environmental focus. The challenge to be successful with a green concept as this is often that the companies don’t find it attractive unless there is an economic win – but Refurb has also managed to include that in their concept.

“We offer an option for businesses to get rid of IT equipment that they will not use anyway, and therefore we have the chance to get it at a great price. And after our experts has dealt with the equipment it works unproblematic. To emphasise the quality of the equipment, we always give the same warranty as if the equipment was new. When all comes to all this means that the products we can offer our customers is well-functioning IT equipment with warranty for a lower price,” says Ulrik Hjul Andersen, Founder of Refurb ApS.

Success with TV commercials

Refurb has recently gone on TV with several national commercials to kick the company into the next gear.

“We have tested the TV commercials of 2014, and it has proven to be a very good investment for us. Not only has it increased brand awareness for our services considerably, but it has also given us measurable results in the form of significantly increased sales in the days when it was on. It’s definitely something we’re going to make more use of in the future, “says Ulrik Hjul Andersen.

Shopping sites and online services take up more and more in TV ad breaks, and it suggests that Internet commerce is gradually becoming mature and can compete on equal footing with the largest Danish retail chains on national TV.

The national parliament of Denmark supports the concept

After experiencing growth over the past four years, Refurb is now sending out 30-40 computers every single day. Recently, Refurb got the parliament as a customer who bought 300 used computers, and have made agreement on future deliveries.

“In a concept like ours, it is crucial that we are able to deliver high quality equipment to our end customers. In this way we gain the trust of the larger companies and public authorities. Therefore, it has been gratifying to hear from customers that the machines after prolonged use are still alive and kicking,” says Ulrik Hjul Andersen.

With customers like the parliament as well as larger companies, purchasing computers usually happens in very large batches every few years. This is so partly to get a good discount and partly to ease the administrative process.

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In the periods between these large purchases, it is usually difficult for the customer to find exactly the same computer model to supplement with when a computer breaks down, or when new people comes in.

This is precisely where Refurb has gained a position in the market – as an additional supplier offering the professional computers only one or two years old. Part of the agreement with the Danish Parliament is also that a large quantity of identical machines are reserved, which can be used to supplement.

The future focus: Tablets and mobile devices

While the market for used IT equipment grows, there is also another trend, which has a strong focus on Refurb.

Sales of computers are stagnating and it happens as a result of growth of mobile devices and new formats. According to Gartner Inc., which makes technological research, the sale of mobile devices will grow by 8 percent over 2015. Sales of laptops in contrast, are expected to grow by only 1 percent.

Refurb focuses increasingly on being able to offer a strong selection of tablets and smartphones in the coming years. The primary focus is however on business customers, and here Refurb experiences a stable demand for laptops.

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