The sharing economy has come to electronics through Berlin-based startup Grover, which today announced that it had raised €37m in Series A funding.
Offering a pay-as-you-go subscription model for technology products, Grover contributes to the growing post-ownership trend that characterises the sharing economy.
Already established in Germany with partnerships with MediaMakt, Saturn and Tchibo, the investment will allow the company not only to grow further in its own country, but expand internationally with new products for both the consumer and B2B markets.
“The new financing is a big step for Grover on our way to reshaping the way consumers access tech products,” said Michael Cassau, founder and CEO of Grover.
“In addition to expansion into new markets, the funding will allow us to offer new and innovative usage models to our customers.”
Towards post-ownership: The rise of the sharing economy
The sharing economy is well-established, with the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Zipcar and dockless bike hire company Ofo introducing the concept to a host of fields.
However, the concept is relatively under-developed in electronics, which Grover looks set to change. The company allows users to rent an electronic device for a set period, with other users hiring the same device after it is returned.
Grover argues that this approach maximises usage while reducing waste, and provides consumers with greater access to different technologies. Among the products on offer are computers, phones, wearable devices – including virtual reality headsets – and drones.
The Series A funding is also allowing the company to diversify its offering. While at present Grover focuses primarily on consumers with per-device rental fees, it will soon be launching new products to meet a wider range of needs.
These include GroverMix, which will allow users to a pay a flat rate to regularly rent technology, and Startupsget Grover, a B2B offering targeting newly established and growing companies.
This approach feeds into the wider trend of post-ownership, where users are paying growing numbers of subscription fees to rent products rather than own them outright.
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This is particularly well-established in digital entertainment with the likes of Netflix and Spotify, but the investment support for Grover indicates the trend his increasingly moving into physical goods.
Grover investors: The companies behind the €37m Series A funding
Having already been showing a revenue growth rate of 20% a month, Grover gas received investment from a number of key companies, with circular economy specialist Circularity Capital leading the way.
“Grover has developed a highly scalable, commercially proven platform, has a strong management team and has clearly demonstrated its ability to deliver value for its rapidly growing subscriber base and retailer partners,” said David Mowat, partner at Circularity Captial.
“The investment in Grover is also highly aligned with Circularity’s focus on using the circular economy to identify opportunities to drive financial value creation in parallel with positive environmental and societal impact. We believe that Grover will be incredibly successful and will have a lasting impact on the way consumers access and interact with technology.”
Other investors included the fintech-focused Coparion, Varengold Bank and Samsung NEXT.
“At Samsung NEXT, we are committed to simplifying and improving user experiences through software. Grover’s dedicated platform for OEMs and retailers, which offers subscriptions at the checkout, is an excellent example of a venture driving new behaviours for consumers, as well as enabling new ways for companies to have conversations with them,” said Nick Nigam, investor at Samsung NEXT.
The €37m investment in the sharing economy startup consists of €12m from equity investors and €25m in debt capital.
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