It’s easy for many U.S consumers to get a new smartphone each year — just look at how many swallowed the $1,000-plus price tags for the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and iPhone X. But when it comes to emerging markets, people can’t always afford to get the latest smartphone, so they have to rely on second-hand devices from more developed countries.
Trocafone aims to get refurbished devices into the hands of eager consumers, and today it raised $15 million in Series B funding to bring its marketplace to additional countries around the world. The latest investment came from Sallfort, MIT Castor Ventures Fund, FJ Labs, Rocketship, Mercado Libre Fund, and others.
Originally focused on Latin America, Trocafone is an online marketplace to help people find used consumer electronics, with a primary focus on smartphones. It has a buy-and-sell practice so those looking to get rid of their old iPhone can get some money for it. Trocafone accepts these devices, fixes them up, and sells them for 50 to 60 percent of their market price.
Trocafone currently operates in Brazil and Argentina, but with its latest capital the company is eyeing Russia and other countries that lack loan programs and subsidies from phone carriers or have lower wages.
There’s prime opportunity in Latin America, which is considered the fourth largest smartphone market worldwide and where a huge percentage of the population is still without a phone. Some phone manufacturers are releasing devices for this region, but they tend not to be the top-of-the-line models people want, and a refurbished higher-end model may be a coveted alternative.
Trocafone was founded by Guille Freire and Guillermo Arslanian and in its three-year history has signed six deals with phone makers and telecommunication companies to power their trade-in programs. The company counts more than 1 million buyers and sellers on its service and has now raised nearly $40 million in total funding.