Berlin-based tech subscription startup Grover secures $1B+ as it looks to combat e-waste;

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Berlin-based Grover, a consumer tech subscriptions startup, announced today that it has secured over $1B (approx €846.34M) in equity and asset-backed funding to democratise access to tech. 

This round is made up of a $1B asset-backed facility from London-based Fasanara Capital, and an extension of its Series B funding round from $71M to $100M.

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The company reports that this is the largest ever financing round for a startup in the circular economy space – an economic system that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.

Rent the technology instead of buying

Founded in 2015 by Michael Cassau, Grover aims to create an innovative way for everyone – both private customers and businesses – to get the tech they want. In order to provide that, the company enables people and businesses to rent technology on a monthly basis.

The company claims its rental model is sustainable and circulates tech products so that they’re used for a longer period instead of being stored away in drawers.

Grover’s subscription service allows subscribers to select from a variety of over 3,000 products, allowing them control of the subscription length to maximise affordability. The tech products include smartphones, laptops, virtual reality (VR) gear, wearables and smart home appliances.

At the end of the original subscription period, the customer can either buy the product, send it back, or continue on a month to month basis. After which, the returned products are refurbished to an ‘as new’ condition and recirculated to make sure they stay in use and out of landfill. When the product reaches the end of its life, Grover’s circular supply chain ensures the materials are reused or recycled. Moreover, the consumers are also provided with 90 per cent cover of the cost of any damage.

Currently, the company is active in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Spain, and plans to launch further markets in Q4 2021. With nearly 275 employees, the company claims to be Germany’s best-funded scale-ups. Its investors include JMS Capital-Everglen, Augmentum, coparion, Circularity Capital, Viola Fintech, Seedcamp, and Samsung Next.

Funds to avoid 260K tonnes of CO2 equivalent

The capital from this round will help Grover to accelerate growth and global expansion in new and existing markets.

According to Grover’s founder and CEO, Michael Cassau, “Consumer electronics are fundamental to modern life and we believe that everyone should have access to the tech they need at prices they can afford. However, the linear nature of society’s consumption over the years has led to e-waste becoming the fastest growing waste stream in the world. We’re capitalising on a major shift in consumer preferences to bring more tech to more people while reversing the alarming e-waste trend that has such severe environmental consequences. 

Cassau adds, “So far, we’ve circulated 475,000 products, equivalent to 1,400 tonnes of e-waste. This latest round of financing is a huge vote of confidence from our investors and will allow us to realise our goal of becoming the world’s leading sustainable electronics subscription brand.”

According to the UN, the world generates 50 million tonnes of e-waste each year, only 20 percent of which is recycled. With the current round of funding, Grover aims to increase its circular electronics subscription service to 5 million by 2024, which will avoid 24,000 tonnes of e-waste or 260,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Recent developments

Earlier in April, when the company raised €60M in its Series B round, it had reported its plans to further scale up its core markets – Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands – as well as roll out its service in new markets, including Spain and the US.

The company had also mentioned the launch of a flat-rate tech subscription, an embedded financial service, and an enhanced business customer offering. It also expanded its product portfolio into new categories like connected health and fitness devices, consumer robots, and smart appliances.

Also, the company appointed Michael Kostadinovich (ex Better.com), who took up his post as Chief Technology Officer on 1st April 2021.

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