Star Tech: UAE-based NorthLadder offers a good deal for pre-loved electronic goods

The world’s first secured trading platform that connects customers looking to sell pre-owned electronics such as phones, laptops, smartwatches, and tablets


Joydeep Sengupta

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Sandeep Shetty co-founder of NorthLadder. Supplied photo
Sandeep Shetty co-founder of NorthLadder. Supplied photo

Published: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 3:41 PM

NorthLadder is a UAE based auction-driven, secondhand online marketplace for electronic goods. The startup — touted as the world’s first secured trading platform that connects customers looking to sell pre-owned electronics such as phones, laptops, smartwatches, and tablets, guaranteeing the most competitive price with no hidden charges, to a global network of buyers is headquartered in Dubai.

Pishu Ganglani, Ricky Husaini, and Sandeep Shetty co-founded in 2019 to address the global need for a more efficient and transparent selling platform for electronics.

The service is incredibly convenient with drop off locations available across the Arabian Gulf region, and a pick-up service available directly from customers’ homes. NorthLadder also offers a military-grade software service which erases data from electronics for a small fee.

Data shows that it has closed over 18,000 deals so far, while over 2,600 electronic items have live prices on their platform.

In February 2021, NorthLadder announced a $5 (Dh18.37) million Series A funding round, led by BECO Capital, which was aimed to help the company scale up its technology platform, enhance customer experience and pursue further geographic expansion.

Earlier, Shetty, who is one of the co-founders and the chief executive officer (CEO), was the managing director (MD) at Careem, Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) leading mobility company that was acquired by Uber for $3.1 (Dh11.39) billion in January 2020.

Shetty weighed in on whether there is a space for a pre-owned online marketplace for electronics in the UAE.

“In recent years, we have experienced a dramatic shift in mindset towards pre-owned goods. With new devices becoming increasingly expensive and taking a toll on our wallets, the alternative — buying and selling of pre-owned electronic goods — is becoming more and more popular. The sector is experiencing a boom, and the pre-loved smartphone market is expected to grow three times faster than new device sales for the next five years. For example, pre-owned smartphone sales grew by a compound annual growth rate of 26 per cent and 20 per cent in North America, and Europe, respectively, between 2016 and 2020,” he said.

He explained how they hit upon the big idea.

“We saw a critical gap in the market. Consumers were hoarding multiple old devices at home and not selling them for a raft of reasons such as inconvenience, data privacy concerns, and the misconception that they would only achieve low prices. Similarly, corporations also have multiple devices that lie unused for weeks and months on end. Electronics are depreciating assets, which lose their value over time. By streamlining the trading process, we realised we could help consumers secure the best return possible on their old devices,” he said.

Consumers want an experience that is convenient, safe and offers great value.

Research shows that they have appreciated NorthLadder’s free home pickup service. This is the unique selling proposition (USP) of the startup, where consumers get instant cash for old devices at their doorstep.

“We offer the best price guarantee and conduct a Certified Data Erasure using military grade software. I’d like to believe that this is the smartest and safest option available today,” Shetty said.

NorthLadder, which is in the process of closing its next round of funding soon, is tapping both consumers and corporations alike to sell their used electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches for the best price, from the comfort of their home and receive instant cash.

Shetty explained the business model.

“We purchase an incredibly wide range of brands and models across four categories: smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches. We offer instant prices for over 3,500 models in these categories,” he said.

Shetty gave a sneak peek into the roadmap. “We are fully operational in the UAE and have also set up operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are also exploring other markets in the region for further expansion,” he said.

NorthLadder’s immediate goal is to scale up its business, having struck a big chord with consumers.

“Our primary plan to scale up involves continuing to build a strong tech platform as well as hiring great talent across the board,” he added.

Primary pain points for consumers

Data privacy: Consumers worry about the potential misuse of their personal data stored on the devices

Prices: The pre-owned market is not as transparent as it should be. Finding the correct value for a device can be a hassle. Customers often end up getting very low value for their old devices

Convenience: Listing old devices online and waiting for a successful sale can be cumbersome for consumers. Besides, they may have to deal with multiple second-hand dealers and negotiate with them

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