11. The iOutlet

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Founders: Liam James and Matthew Green
Founded: February 2012 (launched March 2013)
Website: http://theioutlet.com/

The modern obsession with having the latest model of everything and the phone industry’s propensity to introduce a new one before the next has left the shelves has opened up a huge potential market for second hand phones.

Liam James and Matthew Green seized this opportunity by buying iPhones in bulk, refurbishing them and selling them to cash strapped consumers at a much lower cost than the RRP. The iOutlet uses eBay as its main sales channel, keeping costs low and opening up access to a global market.

The company appeared just outside the top 20 in our Startups 100 2014, and has since seen total sales exceed 30,000 units in over 40 countries at an average of around 120 phones per day. It gets busier during the Christmas period, with an average Christmas weekend selling more than 450 units.

Of course it’s an easy model to copy but the entrepreneurs cite their focus on customer service and simply having more pictures of the products as key to their success. With a couple of physical stores now in operation and a number of corporate clients signed up, turnover of £8.5m for 2015 with a substantial profit seems well within reach. And this simple eBay business shows no signs of slowing down, with plans to expand its range and open one or two more physical locations in the next year. If only we’d thought of it first!

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