Backflip offers an easier way to turn used electronics into cold, hard cash – TechCrunch


Mike Barile spent two years and racked up almost $20,000 in bank card debt to carry his first startup, Backflip, to life.

The former administration guide had spent years toiling within the startup grind, first at Uber, then, after taking a coding academy bootcamp by means of AppAcademy (the place Barile met his co-founder, Adam Foosaner), at Google and at a failed cryptocurrency startup.

Burned by the crypto expertise, Barile was casting about for his subsequent factor, and making an attempt to discover a way to scrape up some lease cash, when he hit on the concept for Backflip. The expertise of promoting electronics on-line was nonetheless shady and Barile and Foosaner thought there had to be a greater way.

That way turned Backflip. It offers clients cash on supply for his or her used electronics — something from Androids to Xboxes and Apple gadgets to Gameboys.
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When I first started working on backflip back in March 2019, I met this kid named Chris and he wanted to buy some of my old iPhones. He had been a student at USF and as a side hustle he started buying used devices and would refurbish them and then either sell them himself or sell them to an official reseller,” mentioned Barile. “Chris started making so much money he dropped out of school. That was a holy shit moment. He can make a lot of money doing this and he’s doing a really good thing.”

The drawback, mentioned Barile, was security. “He’s got all these devices he’s acquiring paying cash for and he’s driving all around town… Everyone who works in the [refurbish and resell] industry has at least one story about getting robbed at gunpoint.”

Backflip solved that drawback by being the middleman between consumers and sellers and taking a small fee for managing the transaction.

The firm raised its first cash on the finish of 2019, however earlier than that, Foosaner and Barile lived off of credit score and used electronics.

So far, Backflip has facilitated the alternate of roughly 3,000 gadgets. The firm handles the whole lot from wiping a tool and guaranteeing its high quality to discovering a purchaser for the electronics. The firm pays out roughly $150 per gadget and has deposited just a little over $500,000 with customers of the service, in accordance to knowledge offered by the corporate.

“We did all sorts of stuff to get our first few users,” mentioned Barile. We posted adverts on Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist. We began experimenting on the finish of the summer season with essentially the most naked bones cellular app sort of factor. At that time it was simply Adam and I,” Barile mentioned.

Starting now, Backflip is working with UPS shops to present in-person drop-off and packaging facilities for the used electronics. Over time, Barile sees these companies increasing to supply cash on supply. “The experience will be similar to an Amazon return,” he mentioned. “Except we’ll be paying you.”

Currently about half of the corporate’s stock is used handsets and cellular gadgets, however Barile mentioned that might drop to a 3rd of stock as phrase spreads in regards to the hundred-odd items of electronics that Backflip is keen to

“Unlike other resale options, Backflip prioritizes the user’s time and convenience,” mentioned Foosaner in an announcement. “Forget the back-and-forth of negotiating over price and scheduling a meetup. We’re here to do all the work for the seller and make sure they get paid fairly and quickly. Backflip users can know that they’re getting the most for their devices without having to do anything other than bring them to The UPS Store or box them up at home.”

The connection to the refurbishing neighborhood began early for Barile, whose mom had a aspect business referred to as “Stone Cottage Workshop” the place she was flipping refurbished furnishings on eBay and at native thrift shops close to Barile’s bucolic New Jersey hometown.

“We want to build the Amazon of making things disappear from your apartment,” Barile mentioned. 



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