Back Market: On raising $335 million and how this money is going to change us

Back Market
4 min readMay 20, 2021


By: Vianney Vaute / Cofounder & Chief Creative Officer

Don’t give us that look, Ben. Change is a good thing! / Photo by Blogging Guide on Unsplash

You know how there are people who win the lottery and then all their friends and family from before say “Oh, the money really changed them”? Well, that’s going to be Back Market. Money changes everything, and $335 million is a big chunk of change.

Of course, we have very specific ideas on how Back Market is going to change, and so do our investors. For our Series D funding, we’ve welcomed two new funds into the fold: General Atlantic, well-known for investing in companies that challenge and transform industries, and Generation Investment Management, founded by Al Gore and his partners with a focus on long-term impact investing and sustainability.

We are celebrating of course, but if I sound less than jubilant, it’s also because there’s no time to lose. Transformation, if it’s to be intentional, is necessarily a lot of work. And we don’t just intend to transform Back Market, we intend to transform the consumer electronics industry as a whole. Suddenly, $335 million doesn’t sound like too much.

Back Market’s ‘why’

Back Market was built on the hope of changing the consumer electronics industry and on making tech more sustainable. It’s an oversimplification, but basically as things stand, the electronics industry digs up a lot of natural resources (producing a lot of emissions along the way) to manufacture new devices every year only to have much of it dumped in the ground again after a few years of use. Worldwide, only 17.4% of our discarded electronics are properly recycled which is why we are actually in the middle of a growing electronics waste crisis, with electronics waste up 21% in just 5 years.

Help us stay on the right path. Join our team. / Photo by Himesh Kumar Behera on Unsplash

With almost 5 million customers worldwide Back Market is catalyzing a fundamental shift in consumer behavior and driving the conversation around how people consume technology. We have managed to position our company as the world’s flag-bearer for refurbished electronics. Now we are left with the daunting task of bringing refurbished electronics to the same class as new electronics and making it the first choice for customers buying devices and appliances.

Our ambition and dogged determination to see this project through is what has attracted investors that value our mission and vision, and who believe that we will succeed.

How now, brown cow?

To bring things back full circle, the only way to succeed is to change. A lot.

How do we do that? First, by having a laser-focus on quality. We can’t compete with New if we aren’t in the same league — we’re talking about device standards, customer service, the whole shebang. As a marketplace, we are only as good as our sellers, which is why the cash we raised will be used to invest heavily in services that support and improve our sellers’ operations…and of course, their bottom lines, making it easy and worthwhile for them to raise the bar for refurbished electronics.

We also need to fight to become more global. As we approach the half-way mark of 2021, Back Market has launched in Japan, Finland, Portugal and Ireland, bringing our operations to 13 markets. We will soon open our doors in Canada, Greece, Sweden and Slovakia. The new device market is a $1.5 trillion market, and it’s going to take a lot of scaling to be able to make a dent in that market share.

There is one thing that we don’t plan to change though, and that’s our mission. As a startup scales there’s always the threat of becoming so consumed by growth that the forest is missed for the trees. We plan to dig our heels in when it comes to sustainability, fighting e-waste and planned obsolescence while also doing what we can to make our own operations as sustainable as possible.

Ambition doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Money changing everything doesn’t have to be a bad thing. And we’re grateful for another crazy ride around the sun, on this joyful pirate ship we call Back Market.

Wanna ride our boat? Join us.



Back Market

Screw New. Writing about our startup, planned obsolescence, electronic waste, etc.