Recycling Kiosk Start-Up Closes $17M Raise

May 1, 2012 by Dave Haynes

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A kiosk system that buys back and recycles or re-markets mobile phones and other small personal electronics gadgets has announced a $17 million funding round that will help get the device beyond pilot and into the start of a mass rollout.

ecoATM uses a big digital sign as an attractor loop to a big ATM-like machine that reads, tests and poses buy offers to people who want to unload older devices – the dual proposition that they’ll get money and dissuade them from simply tossing the devices (loaded with nasty metals and plastics) into local landfills.

A touchscreen application walks users through the whole process – scanning the handset and testing it to see what’s under the hood and whether it works. It’s intuitive, but many more steps than just posting something on Craig’s List.

The San Diego start-up has closed its series B investment round of approximately $17 million. Current investors Claremont Creek Ventures, Coinstar, Inc. and TAO Ventures all increased their investments while new investors joined the syndicate. New investors include PI Holdings, Moore Venture Partners, AKS Capital and Singapore billionaire Koh Boon Hwee. The company had an earlier raise of $14 million.

“It is exciting to take the next step of expanding ecoATM’s footprint to the rest of the US. Over the past two years, ecoATM has built a network of approximately 50 kiosks in locations throughout California and beyond with tremendous consumer response,” explained Tom Tullie, Chairman and CEO of ecoATM. “The new funding will enable mass commercialization and a national roll-out.”

The raise is a nice chunk of change, but when you think how much those units must cost and the need top visit them steadily,  it won’t actually go all that far. However, the precious metals in those phones are valuable and undoubtedly contribute a lot of the bottom line.

Host venues get the units free.

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