Badili, a smartphone re-commerce startup which claims to be Kenya’s first and largest online mobile expert, has raised $2.1 million in pre-seed funding to scale its operations within Africa.
Africa has one of the fastest-growing mobile phone markets in the world, and Badili is set to play a vital role in its development. The startup buys devices from individuals who wish to resell and performs trade-ins and buybacks on behalf of major phone dealers, signing a partnership deal with Samsung.
Badili purchases the phones through its platform and network of shops and agents spread across Kenya. It then evaluates the phone via a unique price estimation algorithm that uses factors like age and model to determine its value. The phones are revamped, repackaged and resold with one year warranty.
Rishabh Lawania (CEO), who co-founded the Badili with Keshu Dubey (CTO) early this year, told TechCrunch he launched the startup after noticing that re-commerce did not exist in Kenya as a legitimate and trustworthy industry, yet demand for pre-owned devices was high.
Badili aims to expand its services to other countries in West Africa, where it can leverage an increasing demand for second-hand smartphones. The funding will also help scale current operations in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The Venture Catalysts, V&R Africa, Grenfell holdings, and SOSV participated in the round, as did family offices and angel investors from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and India.
“We are launching in Uganda and Tanzania and have established strong partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Within the next six months, we will be expanding to a few West African markets to get our foot in the door of some of the major markets in Africa,”Rishabh Lawania -Badili CEO
How Badili was formed
Rishabh Lawania observed a gap in the re-commerce industry in Kenya and conceived an idea that will enable people to buy and sell used smartphones easily and safely.
“One of my ex-employees in Kenya got arrested for buying a stolen phone, and it struck me that most people can’t really buy pre-owned electronics here because the only option they have is the grey market, which is risky. That is when Badili idea kicked-in. I thought something really needs to change,” Lawania explained.
He explained that Badli takes different security measures to ensure that criminals do not thrive on the platform and buyers are assured of the quality of devices purchased.
Badili mandates that all sellers provide essential contact details, a means of identification, and a clear photograph. Badli also requires all individuals intending to sell to sign an affidavit stating that they are the rightful owners of the devices. For extra caution, Lawania explained that Badili has also set up a system that can flag frequent sellers.
Lawania is also the founder of Wee Media; the parent company of the WeeTracker news site and gadgets Africa.
“Badli are providing an alternative to people who don’t want to pay full price for a device, and I am more excited about the fact that we are able to help a lot of consumers buy their first smartphone,” said Lawania.
According to Lawania, Badili is currently setting up and scaling technology, systems, partnerships and networks needed to build Africa’s most trusted and biggest consumer electronics re-commerce marketplace.
Badili is tapping the growing refurbished and used mobile phones market, which is expected to hit $146 billion by 2030, growing at CAGR of 11%, partly driven by smartphone adoption in emerging nations.
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