Behind the Term Sheet: How Reebelo is Building APAC’s Circular Economy for Refurbished Electronics

Cathay Innovation
Cathay Innovation
Published in
5 min readFeb 15, 2022


By: Rajive Keshup, Nicolas du Cray & Lorraine Ge, Cathay Innovation

Not so fun fact: Last year, we produced 57.4M tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (or e-waste) — outweighing the Great Wall of China, the world’s heaviest human construction. Containing a variety of harmful chemicals to both people and planet, worldwide e-waste is the fastest growing waste category (beating fast fashion), increasing 21% in the past 5 years.

Thus, there’s a massive, golden opportunity to create a circular economy for electronics.

This is exactly what Reebelo intends to do — APAC’s largest marketplace for refurbished electronic devices. And today, we’re thrilled to announce our investment, co-leading its $20M Series A alongside June Fund, in this startup out to refresh the way we buy tech with more affordable, sustainable devices.

At Cathay Innovation, we’re a global venture capital firm that places sustainability at our core. We’re big believers in Reebelo’s mission and the larger role of innovation and startups in the shift to a more sustainable economy — here’s why.

Why Refurbish? A Global Trend Taking on the Mounting E-Waste Problem

The colossal e-waste problem is exacerbated by mankind’s insatiable demand for electronics. Today there’s higher than ever technology consumption levels, shorter product life cycles, limited repair options along with planned systemic obsolescence without proper solutions for recycling or end-of-life reuse. As such, a mere 20% of e-waste is recycled while the rest is dumped in unsafe conditions in developing countries, where children are often left to scrap for metal parts.

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But now, consumer preferences are increasingly shifting towards refurbished items. In addition to saving money, consumers are seeing newer phone models with marginal changes and incrementally fewer new features despite the higher price tags.

Previously, the refurbished electronics market was plagued by strong inefficiencies largely due to high levels of mistrust. On one end, refurbishers and vendors struggled to find effective sales channels and efficient ways to source old devices from consumers. On the other side, consumers lacked trust when shopping on peer-to-peer platforms, which is where most transactions for refurbished goods took place. This all too well known economic conundrum aptly dubbed the “lemons problem” resulted in several sour experiences for consumers and sellers alike. But things are changing.

Now, refurbished goods can function, be bought and sold like new devices on dedicated marketplaces with added warranty assurances. Hence the success of Europe’s BackMarket, which recently raised a $335M Series D at a $5.7B valuation, along with Cathay-backed AtRenew (Aihuishou), the Chinese leader of the circular economy which listed on the NYSE last year.

Enter Reebelo — APAC’s Fastest Growing Marketplace for Sustainable Tech

Similar to BackMarket and AtRenew, Reebelo is APAC’s largest online platform for buying and selling refurbished tech gadgets that offers consumers better prices, quality, trust and sustainability.

Founded in 2019 by industry vets Philip Franta and Fabien Rastouil, the company helps to reduce e-waste by lengthening the lifespan of electronic devices, while enabling access to more affordable and sustainable devices — thus shifting consumer electronics from a linear to a circular economy.

Reebelo also partners with several environmental charity partners active around the globe, such as One Tree Planted, to offset some of the emissions generated by its operations. According to the company, one tree is planted for every device sold on its platform.

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While Reebelo does not refurbish devices directly, they’ve built a platform and network of certified vendors to list inventory on their marketplace. Devices come with different grades from good condition to brand new. All pre-loved devices pass 40+ quality checkpoints, are fully functional and in perfect working condition with Reebelo receiving high ratings across all platforms including Trustpilot and Google Reviews. In addition, gadgets can be up to 70% cheaper than retail, making them an attractive choice for price-conscious consumers.

The company provides peace-of-mind for consumers with a 14-day money back guarantee and a free 12-month warranty. Customers can also opt to top-up with ReebeloCare to get more coverage with an extended 24-month protection. In addition, Reebelo makes it easier for consumers and businesses to trade-in their old devices. Customers get the highest buyback price on the market and can choose between free pickup from any location or drop-off at select vendors where they would get paid up-front.

Currently available in six countries across APAC (Australia being the largest), Reebelo counts over 100K customers who have purchased a device in the past 12 months, has grown 5x over the past year and is fast approaching $100M in GMV. Going after a $25B market opportunity in APAC (excluding China), we believe that Reebelo is by far the emerging market leader in its space — despite having only started a little over a year ago.

Reebelo Team

Parting Thoughts — Sustainable Value Creation

The Reebelo mission is one that deeply resonates with us at Cathay. We believe in helping entrepreneurs everywhere innovate while building resilient, responsible and sustainable businesses. Just take a look at our inaugural sustainability report for a detailed look into our approach and the impact of our portfolio companies.

We’re convinced that Reebelo is not only well-positioned to emerge as the dominant refurbished electronics marketplace in the region — but it stands to contribute to the larger shift to a more sustainable economy. On our part, we look forward to leveraging our global platform and worldwide resources to support Philip, Fabien and the entire Reebelo team on its journey in building APAC’s circular economy for consumer electronics — giving tech longer life while lessening its impact on our world.

Allez, Lets Go!



Cathay Innovation
Cathay Innovation

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