ReCellular Calls In $15M in Funding

With so many electronics makers and independent firms out there ready to recycle or revamp your cell phone, there really are no more excuses for tossing it in the trashbin. One of the longest-standing is ReCellular, which claims to be “the world’s largest recycler and reseller of used cellular phones and accessories.” Yesterday the nearly two decades old Dexter, Mich.-based company said it had raised $15 million from Investor Growth Capital to help grow its operations.

ReCellular says its revenues have already grown an average of 25 percent per year for the past eight years, and this year is on track to process more than 6 million phones. The new capital will be used to ramp up its expansion, the company says, including opening more offices and hiring more staff. ReCellular says it is also looking to make some acquisitions in the gizmo recycling space.

Like many of its startup competitors, ReCellular buys old phones from customers and collects donations, but instead of selling the phones on eBay, it offers them up directly to the customer through its web site. Broken phones are refurbished while worthless phones are broken down and recycled. The company also runs donation programs including the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, whose phone return envelopes you may have seen included in your last Amazon order.

Startups working in this space — and possible acquisition candidates — include, FlipSwap and the newly rebranded Gazelle.

Despite the numerous recycling options, just 3 percent of cell phone owners recycle their devices, and some 50 percent are unaware of cell phone recycling options altogether, according to studies from Nokia, the world’s largest handset maker. One big goal for ReCellular, and the industry as a whole, is to make clear to the consumer that while recycling is important, it can also be easy.