Refabd Startup: Second hand goods, first hand idea!

Refabd Startup: Second hand goods, first hand idea!

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Refabd was started off by a team of three engineers, Durai Govardhan, Rahul Varma and Vineeth Kumar, in June 2016, who saw a glaring gap in the second-hand goods segment and the rosy prospects of setting up business. It all started when the trio moved to Delhi for a short period of one year to train for the civil services. Hailing from a middle-class background, the three engineers had wanted to make a pitch to enter the civil services which would catapult them to another plane in the social strata. Yet, fate willed it otherwise.

Incidentally, all three had met in Bangalore, the city they came into after completing their engineering. Both Rahul and Vineeth hail from Kerala where they completed their engineering. Durai, the youngest of the team and the silent thinker, hails from Coimbatore, a Tier II city in Tamil Nadu. Regardless to say, all three hail from small towns as well as humble backgrounds which perhaps gave them this intense urge to venture into unexplored domains and make their mark.

While all three moved to Bangalore after completing their graduation, both Vineeth and Durai joined NETAPP while Rahul joined Anora Semiconductors, having completed his MTech in Micro Electronics Engineering. Given their innate explorative nature, it is not surprising that the trio, after having met and teamed, started looking at opportunities beyond the software domain. While this venture first took them to do the Civil Service, the ground realities that they were faced with in a strange city, having hailed from the South, pitched them into the second-hand product domain.

[ Also Read : Tastebells startup story ]

In today’s world, people frequently move from city to city, spending a maximum of two years invariably in a single place. This is compounded by the transient nature of the jobs handled, the global reach of the jobs entailing people to travel not just across cities within a country but overseas too.

For such people who are on the move, good quality home appliances at a good deal are required which need not necessarily be brand new items bought off the shelf and further this is a segment that is looking at lower prices yet products that are durable and come with a certain level of warranty.

While numerous ideas evolved initially and were floated to initiate a startup, the second-hand product segment seemed most attractive, given the practicality of this segment and the absence of recognized as well as organized players that consumers could reach to. Their individual differential skill sets further proved advantageous, complementing each other, aiding in the success of their venture. Thus Refabd was born.
Refabd is an online startup which deals with second-hand products. The company buys used goods that are not more than four years old, refurbishes them, and sells the same to customers with a six-month warranty. This relatively new idea floated by this company, hitherto unexplored in this domain, today has turned out to be revolutionary in the second-hand goods trader market.

Refabd deals with all kinds of household appliances, from TVs, laptops, fridges, washing machines to furniture. The purchase is however with the precondition of the product meets specific quality standards.

People who are interested in selling old goods or buying refurbished goods log on to their website where they can upload information on their products they wish to sell or look at a wide variety of products being offered that can be bought. Once a product is identified for purchase by the company, it is followed by a physical inspection by a technician of the product being offered for sale. A mutually agreeable price based on the nature and condition of the product is arrived at, and the purchase is cemented. Sellers to the company are usually those leaving the city or those wanting to upgrade their product.

Products being offered by Refabd can be upgraded, or even sold back within six months. Apart from second hand goods, Refabd also deals with unboxed items, which are products that have suffered minor damages. Refabd buys these products, rectifies the damage before offering them for sale. Customers with not too much money at their disposal are happy to purchase as they get latest products at a large discount merely for a small blemish or dent that would have occurred during shipping. Generally, the products offered in this segment are priced anywhere between 50 to 70 per cent of the MRP.

Given the need for funding to translate their dream to reality, the trio approached ATHAMUS ventures which offered them their initial funding which was sufficient to carry out their operations in Bangalore. Currently, the startup is looking at expansion. Refabd is also looking at other domains of products, and also getting more funds to branch out into other cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune.

The last eleven months of operations at the company saw revenue of Rs 70 lakhs. Over 500 plus orders were addressed within the first six months of operations. The customer reach so far stands at 5000 plus with daily visits to the website registering over 100 unique customers.

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