Second Rotation finds home for old gadgets, raises money

Start-up Second Rotation lands $4.4 million in venture funding for service to resell used electronics.

Admit it: somewhere in a drawer or stashed in your closet, you have an old cell phone or digital camera with no practical purpose.

Second Rotation is a Web site designed to find a home for that used and no-longer-loved electronic gear. On Tuesday, the company announced that it has raised $4.4 million in funding led by Venrock to expand its product catalog and ramp up marketing.

The Web site, which launched last July, acts as a broker between consumers and eBay or an electronics recycler.

Tired of that iPhone? Find a buyer online.

To unload your old Treo or Canon, you write the product name into Second Rotation's "dynamic pricing" application. You rate what kind of shape it's in and the program tells you what Second Rotation will buy it for.

You can then print out a shipping slip and arrange a pick up. Second Rotation then rehabs the goods to be sold on eBay. A small percentage--10 percent--are sent to reputable recyclers, says CEO and founder Rousseau Aurelien. It makes money brokering the transaction.

People can sell their stuff directly on eBay, of course, but Aurelien argues that it's still too troublesome for most consumers. Only one in 30 of eBay's registered users actually sells anything, he said.

"Forty percent of car sales have a trade-in but if you look at consumer electronics, it's not a significant number--less than 1 percent," said Aurelien. "So we have our work cut out for us. There needs to be a little bit of change in consumer behavior, too."

Electronic waste is a growing problem. The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month month launched a cell phone recycling program in an effort to raise consumer awareness.

Second Rotation already takes cell phones, digital image and video cameras, gaming consoles, digital music players, and GPS systems.

In the summer, the company plans to expand its product catalog to laptops, beyond the trade-ins for Macbooks it already offers. Aurelien said the company's ambition is to broker sales of more than just electronics.