eRecyclingCorps turns old phones into store credit

Kleiner Perkins invests $35 million in eRecyclingCorps, which takes back old phones at carrier stores and gives consumers a credit on the spot.

Sprint and Verizon are now using eRecyclingCorps' mobile phone take-back service in stores. Screen capture by Martin LaMonica/CNET

The conveyor belt of new mobile phone releases has created a stream of revenue for eRecyclingCorps.

The Irving, Texas-based startup today raised $35 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to expand its phone buyback services .

eRecyclingCorps, which is now used by at 3,000 Sprint and 500 Verizon outlets, lets consumers check the value of a phone they no longer want from a Web site and get a credit while in the store. A consumer can also use the application from home and mail the phone for a credit, although the company considers an instant rebate more appealing to consumers.

The company estimates that about 130 million phones are retired in the U.S. every year and 60 percent of new sales happen in carriers' stores. Only about 10 percent of phones are recycled or repurposed through other channels, according to eRecyclingCorps.

After taking back a used phone, eRecyclingCorps then recycles them or cleans off the data and resells phones for residual value to consumers, including those in developing countries.

In a statement, CEO David Edmondson, who is the former CEO of Radio Shack, said having Kleiner Perkins as an investor will help eRecyclingCorps complete deals with more carriers and retailers.

With the rapid pace of change in so many digital gadgets, a number of take-back services have sprouted up to let consumers get residual value from gear which is still functional. By working through retail stores and carriers, eRecyclingCorps is trying to make recycling and take-back services easier for consumers and capture a large volume of phones. The company has taken back 2.5 million phones since launching its service in 2009.

 

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