Gazelle on Monday relaunched its Web service that finds a home for unwanted electronic toys.
Originally called Second Rotation, the year-old site has been redesigned to make it quicker to sell electronics in more categories. It also adds a feature that lets people recycle goods that have no resell value.
So if you have an iPhone that you no longer want, you type in the product name and input information on its condition to find out what it's worth. Gazelle will send you a shipping slip and/or a box. Once received, Gazelle wipes the data clean and sells it online. You get paid by check or PayPal.
Gazelle's software generates a price by analyzing buying and selling prices from online sources like eBay and Amazon. The company says that many consumers prefer to sell through a specialized resell service like Gazelle rather than sell directly on eBay.
The relaunched service adds an enhanced search engine and broader catalog that includes laptops, satellite radios, and portable hard drives in addition to cellular phones, digital cameras, and digital music players.
It's also added social networking features like a customer-referral program and the ability to get prices for items not already listed in its catalog.
"We're trying to make it as easy as Netflix," said President and Chief Operating Officer Israel Ganot.
The company raised $4.4 million in January and expects to raise another round of funding in the next 12 to 18 months, he said.
First step to recycling
Gazelle calls its service "reCommerce" rather than recycling since, for the most part, goods are being repurposed. But that still addresses the problem of electronic waste, argues Ganot. "The first step to recycling is putting a product back in the marketplace," he said.
Electronic waste recycling appears to be getting more attention with recycling start-ups getting funding. Another venture-backed company that appears to have a similar business model is TechForward, which launched two years ago.
Retailers, too, are launching programs to take back electronics.
But on the whole, consumer electronics recycling rates are low. People in the industry talk about the millions of tons of metals inside gadgets that sit in consumers' desk drawers. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that U.S. households spend $1,400 a year on up to 24 items.
One reason that electronics recycling isn't more common is that it's difficult to make money doing it, according to people in the industry.
Although the company is not profitable, its business model of reselling goods has a profit margin built into it, unlike recycling.
Garnot said that the company plans to extend its service to small and medium-size businesses that are looking to recycle or sell outdated computer gear and gadgets.