We Got Funded: Dubai-Based NorthLadder Secures US$10 Million Through Convertible Note Led By CE-Ventures The company will use the funding to double down its focus in the GCC, expand its dealer network to one or two countries in the Middle East and Africa, and supply sources to a few large clients in the US and Europe.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

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Clockwise: Neha Kalra, Mihin Shah, Pishu Ganglani, and Sandeep Shetty, Leadership Team, NorthLadder

UAE-based NorthLadder, an online marketplace for pre-owned electronic devices, has secured a US$10 million convertible note led by CE-Ventures, the venture capital arm of Sharjah-headquartered Crescent Enterprises. Additional investments were also made by BECO Capital, who had invested $5 million in NorthLadder's previous funding round, Venture Souq, and Dutch Founders Fund.

Sandeep Shetty, co-founder and CEO of NorthLadder, said that the company will use the funding to double down its focus in the GCC, expand its dealer network to one or two countries in the Middle East and Africa, and supply sources to a few large clients in the US and Europe.

As a platform that adopts the circular economy model, NorthLadder not only eases the process of selling used devices but also aims to ensure the steady supply of such electronics. Having been operational since 2018, the startup has served over 30,000 customers and enabled the selling of over 40,000 devices already. It also has over 200 trade-in, meaning a process of selling used devices in exchange for payment, locations and works with more than 500 dealers across three countries. "Our unique tech platform has also enabled sellers to be connected directly to buyers, thus disintermediating the supply chain and giving customers the highest price in the market for their used devices," adds Shetty.

However, the existing demand for Northladder's services is only set to grow, with the startup's team reporting that the pre-owned smartphone market is expected to grow three times faster than the new smartphone market over the next five years. And according to Tushar Singhvi, Deputy CEO and Head of Investments at Crescent Enterprises, NorthLadder's progress holds the startup in good stead to cater to this growing demand. "With the UAE being the global hub that it is, NorthLadder is uniquely positioned to dominate the regional market and capture a significant portion of the global trade," he says. "We look forward to supporting the scaling of NorthLadder's operations and its expansion into other strategic markets, with the overarching mission of reducing the tech industry's carbon footprint and working towards a more sustainable future."

Related: Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based North Ladder Enables Selling Of Second-hand Goods To Enable Quick Cash Injection

Notably, since its launch, NorthLadder has also gone on to partner with prominent UAE-based retailers such as Carrefour and Lulu, as well as electronic retailers including EMAX, Jumbo Electronics, Samsung brand shops operated by Jacky's Retail LLC, and Harman House. Shetty believes these collaborative efforts have been one of the key aspects that have contributed to the startup's success so far. "Our partnerships with the region's leading electronics retailers, telcos and distributors has provided them with comprehensive solutions to enable trade-in of devices," he says.

The NorthLadder team. Source: NorthLadder

When factoring in what differentiates his startup, however, Shetty doesn't shy away from listing NorthLadder's endeavors at ensuring customer-centric services. "Our one of a kind service model is one where consumers looking to sell their old device can avail our free home pick-up option and/or any of the 50+ drop off locations to get instant cash at the best prices," he explains. "Also with the introduction of our certified data wipe service, a lot more customers are choosing to sell their used phones after a military grade data wipe is done on their device- which is in line with our service promise of price, convenience and safety. The devices we procure are bought by our extensive dealer network who sell them to end customers, effectively increasing the lifespan of the device and promoting the circular economy model." Shetty also says that NorthLadder's business model being committed to sustainability is yet another winning factor for his firm, adding, "Every device that is traded in is a device that ends up in another customer's hands and not a landfill, thus promoting both sustainability and circular economy."

It is precisely this holistic approach that Laurens Groenendijk, Founding Partner of Dutch Founder's Fund, believes has positioned NorthLadder uniquely in the market. "Northladder is trying to solve a complex problem by establishing micro-networks in emerging markets on the demand side of the pre-owned electronics market," he says. "Although many companies have attempted to disrupt this value chain, NorthLadder's approach is ingenious and strengthens the circular economy. It is a global business, and we also see considerable potential in European markets!"

Now, with plans to use the new funds to scale up the platform, expand geographically, and forge more B2B partnerships, Shetty and his team are looking towards making NorthLadder a global business. "As device proliferation increases on the back of digital disruption of all industries and devices become more expensive every year, the need for sustainable solutions will keep increasing," remarks Shetty. "NorthLadder, with its unique global business model, hopes to capitalize on the same. With this latest round of funding, we plan to further strengthen our talent base and expand our market reach in multiple countries including the UAE and KSA. Affordability, driven by trade-in's, is a key enabler for the sale of new devices and we are excited about powering this for our partners, through our unique global business model that ensures the best residual value for second hand devices!"

Related: Startup Spotlight: Tech Platform Hikayati Promotes Inclusive Representation By Producing Personalized Children's Books For The MENA Region

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is keen on pursuing and writing stories on people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

A bibliophile, chai addict, and photography enthusiast, she can be often found (animatedly) talking about Kdramas, BTS, cricket, novels, and comic book films.

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