With the global economy facing a potential recession and declining sales in the consumer electronics market, a London-based startup called Raylo is taking advantage of the situation.
The company has received £110 million ($136 million) in funding to grow its business model, which offers consumers access to new gadgets through short-term leases.
Raylo currently operates in the UK, offering monthly subscriptions for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
The funding will be used to expand its product offerings to a wider range of gadgets, such as e-bikes, and to continue investing in its technology, including an AI-based platform to assess risk for each sale and a platform called “Raylo Pay”.
Raylo Pay is embedded by third-party merchants to power leasing services for them.
B Corp Status
Raylo has recently achieved “B Corp” status, which means that it operates with a view to making a positive impact on society and the environment through its operations, while still being a for-profit company.
This latest funding comes mainly in the form of debt, with some equity, but the exact amount has not been disclosed by CEO and co-founder Karl Gilbert.
The debt is being provided by NatWest and Quilam Capital, while previous backers are providing equity.
This significant financing is a change for Raylo, which previously raised only £12 million in equity and £30 million in debt. The company is using the debt funding as it would with a traditional raise, but without giving up a stake in the company or facing negative pressure on its valuation.
Growth and Prospects
Raylo has seen rapid growth, with its subscriber base doubling in the past year and on track to double again this year. Raylo Pay has also grown 10x in the past six months, with a £3 billion opportunity. The exact number of users and revenues is not being disclosed, but the potential of the platform is significant.
This is not just an e-commerce platform, but a FinTech that aligns with neo-banks and other financial services startups. The company uses personalization, AI, and other tools to better target its services, which are designed to help people manage their money better.
For consumers, Raylo offers shorter-term ownership of gadgets, such as phones and laptops, for a lower price. The per-month rate decreases with the length of the lease, with the cheapest models starting at £7.31/month for phones, £10.72/month for tablets, and £17.92/month for laptops. Most customers do not opt to buy the equipment at the end of the lease.
Raylo is entering a market with a number of players in the circular economy, such as Grover, BackMarket, and Vinted, who have scaled up over the years and have numerous customers.
Raylo is taking a unique approach by focusing on its technology and services for third-party platforms.
Raylo’s focus on technology and services for third-party platforms, combined with its rapid growth and recent B Corp status, make it an interesting player in the circular economy market.
With £110 million in funding, the company is well-positioned to continue growing and expanding its offerings.