By Gregory T. Huang
At some point, most successful startups run into this problem: a tech giant moves into their sector and threatens to wipe them out. It’s a sign that the startup is on to something big—but it’s also a major existential challenge.
Meet Gazelle, a Boston-based company that has built a business around buying used smartphones and other devices and reselling them on the global market. Founded in 2006 (originally called Second Rotation), the company got to where it is today on $46 million in venture funding from the likes of Venrock and RockPort Capital Partners.
Gazelle made just under $58 million in revenue last year, and is on pace to exceed $100 million in 2013, according to CEO Israel Ganot.
Not bad for a company that dropped its big retail partnerships because they weren’t working well enough, and focused solely on its consumer business for the past couple of years. Gazelle makes its money reselling devices to wholesale buyers and retailers; many of the devices end up in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.