Verdane partners with Release to extend the lifetime of smartphones in the Nordics
Verdane, the European specialist growth equity investor, has through its impact fund Idun invested in Release, a Norwegian leader in the mobile phone re-commerce market. Release delivers a one-stop shop for second-hand phones, offering consumers a sustainable option for their mobiles and the adjacent products and services. Verdane will support the company’s ambition to reduce electronic waste, while leveraging its expertise in re-commerce from companies such as AsGoodAsNew, momox and Swappie.
Øistein Eriksen, Release CEO commented: ‘’We have been in close contact over with Verdane over a long period of time and are thrilled to partner with a firm that sees the same value in our purpose as we do. We are proud to work together with Verdane and help provide a solution to the issue of increasing waste generated by the mobile phone market. The demand for used phones is outpacing the demand for new ones and we have an enormous opportunity to harness it and protect the environment.”
Release’s purpose is to extend smartphones’ lifetimes and support the circular economy. By buying, repairing, and selling used phones, Release enables more consumers to buy used phones rather than new ones, contributing to reduced CO2 emissions from manufacturing and shipping of new smartphones. Release’s omnichannel approach is further helping to professionalise the smartphone repair industry through reliable and easily identifiable physical outlets to buy and sell pre-loved, quality-assured phones. The company acquired the Swedish technology retail chain Teknikmagasinet in March 2022.
Christian Jebsen, Partner at Verdane commented: ‘’We are delighted to partner with Release to make pre-loved smartphones the number one choice for European consumers. Release has a business model with a high potential for impact: extending European smartphone lives by just one year would save as much carbon emission as taking one million cars off the road, annually. We look forward to lending our expertise to help propel Release into its next phase of growth and wish Øistein and the Release team a warm welcome into the Verdane family of companies.’’
As a market leader of second-hand mobile phones in Norway, Release is the only company offering telecom services both online and in physical stores in Norway, performing sales of used mobile phones, mobile phone accessories and phone repairs. Through its integrated value chain, Release ensures the best prices, quality and transparency of its services.
Both the importance of prioritising environmentally responsible technology consumption, as well as the increased social acceptance for people to purchase pre-owned devices, have resulted in the used telephone market growing at a faster rate than the market for new phones, and with a higher margin.
The investment from Verdane will support Release in bringing pre-loved smartphones to more customers across Scandinavia. By harnessing learnings from its investments in the second-hand fashion and media juggernaut momox, the iPhone-focused second hand smartphone platform Swappie, the consumer electronics re-commerce platform AsGoodAsNew, and the B2B electronics repair platform Spares, the Verdane team will deploy industry-leading re-commerce and digital consumer expertise to supercharge Release’s growth. Further, Verdane’s in-house operational expert team Elevate will partner with the Release team to drive growth critical brand building, digital marketing and go-to-market initiatives to improve the customer journey and experience.
Verdane Idun is classified as “Article 9” under the European Union’s Finance Disclosure Regulation and closed in January 2022 at its hard cap of € 300 million. Idun makes investments focused on driving impact in three clusters: energy transition; sustainable consumption; and resilient communities. Previous investments include Cleanwatts, a clean tech and energy management software provider; in Spond, a digital enabler of grassroot sports and physical health; and EVA Global, a managed services provider supporting the global shift to electric vehicles. To date, Verdane has invested in over 30 sustainable society businesses.