In the world of entrepreneurship, there are those who seek to make an impact not only on businesses but also on the world around them. One such individual is Abdessamad Benzakour, a strategy consultant who, after advising countless businesses, realised he had an unshakable desire to create something of his own.
This passion led him to co-found Revibe with Hamza Iraqui, a B2C online marketplace for refurbished and second hand electronics that officially launched in September 2023. Revibe's mission is to offer customers a safe and sustainable alternative to buying new electronics, thereby reducing production and carbon emissions associated with manufacturing.
Hamza Iraqui (left) and Abdessamad Benzakour (right)
Making a Difference with Revibe
The core idea behind Revibe revolves around refurbishing electronics and making them available to consumers through an online marketplace. Abdessamad and his team firmly believe in the positive impact this can have on the environment. For instance, a new phone alone emits approximately 60 kg of carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process. By offering refurbished electronics, Revibe helps curb this impact significantly.
Now, let's delve into a candid conversation with Abdessamad Benzakour, where he shares insights into his entrepreneurial journey with Revibe.
Q: Personally, what made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Benzakour: I've always been drawn to entrepreneurship, but my career initially led me into the consulting business. While I enjoyed the learning curve and the diversity of advising clients on various aspects like strategy, marketing, sales, and technology, I knew deep down that I wanted to execute my own ideas and have full ownership of my decisions. The entrepreneurial journey is a calling, an inner drive to start something of your own. When the opportunity arose, I discussed the idea of Revibe with my co-founder, Hamza, and we both saw immense potential in creating a platform that offered refurbished electronics, an eco-friendly alternative that was lacking in the region. We launched Revibe as a side project initially, but it quickly grew into something much more significant.
Q: Can you share an anecdote about that Eureka moment when you realised you wanted to start Revibe?
Abdessamad: The moment that excited us the most was when we received our first order. Initially, it was a bit disheartening as we waited for a couple of days after launching the platform without any orders. But when we finally got our first order after weeks of hard work, it was a defining moment. It was the first real interaction with customers and a confirmation that people were interested in our concept. We were thrilled to provide our services and promptly delivered the product to the customer, marking a great start to our journey.
Q: Could you describe the service offerings of Revibe and the value it provides to customers?
Benzakour: At Revibe, we operate as an online marketplace for refurbished electronics, sourcing our products from various suppliers. To ensure customers' confidence in their purchases, we carefully select and interview suppliers to maintain the highest quality standards. Our platform offers customers a wide range of devices at significantly lower prices compared to new ones, with discounts ranging from 30-40% up to 70% on some items. In addition to cost savings, customers benefit from a 12-month warranty on all products, which sets us apart from traditional sellers. Our focus on sustainability and superior service attracts customers seeking not just financial savings but also a positive environmental impact.
Q: You mentioned Revibe's commitment to sustainability. How does your company contribute to addressing climate change?
Benzakour: Our service revolves around refurbishing and selling electronics, which has a significant positive impact on sustainability. The manufacturing of new phones, for instance, emits around 60 kg of carbon dioxide per device. By offering an alternative in the form of refurbished electronics, we help customers reduce their carbon footprint significantly. The electronics industry generates an immense amount of emissions due to the sheer volume of new devices being sold each year. Revibe's mission is to curb these emissions by promoting the adoption of refurbished electronics, thereby contributing to the fight against climate change.
Q: How do you see the refurbished electronics market evolving in the Middle East, and what are some challenges you face as a company?
Benzakour: The refurbished electronics market in the Middle East is still in its nascent stage, but it is growing rapidly. As more people become aware of the positive environmental impact of buying refurbished products, the market is experiencing significant growth year on year. Revibe, being among the early players in the region, is positioned to capture this increasing demand. However, one of the challenges we face is the need to educate consumers about the benefits and reliability of refurbished electronics. We're constantly working on building trust with our customers and enhancing awareness about our service.
Q: How do you manage your relationship with suppliers and ensure the quality of products offered on your platform?
Benzakour: Maintaining a strong relationship with our suppliers is essential to providing the best products and service to our customers. We perform rigorous supplier selection, interviewing potential partners, and assessing the quality of their products. We continuously monitor supplier performance and ensure that they meet our stringent standards. If we identify any issues with quality or customer service, we take swift action to protect our customers' trust and satisfaction. Our commitment to delivering excellence drives us to constantly improve our offerings and onboard reliable suppliers.
Q: With the growing competition in the refurbished electronics market, how has Revibe managed to stand out?
Benzakour: The refurbished electronics market is expanding, Revibe sets itself apart by being a specialised marketplace with a dedicated focus on offering high-quality refurbished products. While there are generalist marketplaces that sell everything, their lack of specialised processes for managing refurbished suppliers makes them less efficient in this specific domain. On the other hand, suppliers themselves may not have the extensive catalogue or resources to provide a comprehensive online platform. Revibe bridges this gap by curating the best refurbished electronics suppliers and ensuring top-notch customer service, including a 12-month warranty on all products. We have earned a reputation for reliability, affordability, and environmental consciousness, and our customer base continues to grow as word spreads about our unique offerings.
Q: Congratulations on securing funding from Flat6Labs! How do you plan to utilise these funds to fuel Revibe's growth?
Benzakour: Thank you! We have a well-defined plan for utilising the funds strategically. A significant portion will be allocated to increasing brand awareness through comprehensive marketing efforts. Additionally, we will invest in developing and enhancing our tech stack to ensure a seamless platform for our customers. Lastly, we aim to attract top talent to our team, as having the right people is crucial for the growth and success of Revibe.
Q: Can you share more about that experience?
Benzakour: Securing funding from Flat6Labs was a pivotal moment for us. After participating in their boot camp and being selected as one of the promising startups, we were excited to have them on board as investors. The funds we received will be strategically allocated to three areas. Firstly, we aim to increase our brand awareness and presence through comprehensive marketing efforts, both online and offline. Secondly, a portion of the funds will be invested in building and enhancing our tech stack to ensure a seamless and efficient platform for our customers. Lastly, we plan to attract top talent to join our team, as having the right people is crucial for the growth and success of our company.
Q: Looking back at Revibe's journey over the past year, is there any advice you would give to your past self?
Benzakour: Absolutely! As an entrepreneur, I've come to realise that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to building a successful business. I would advise my past self not to be swayed by preconceived ideas or received wisdom but to embrace trial and error. Every context is unique, and in entrepreneurship, it's essential to explore different paths, be it in marketing, product development, or partnerships. Rather than fixating on predefined strategies, I would encourage myself to stay open-minded and adaptable, continuously optimising and refining our approach until we find what works best for Revibe.
Q: How do you see Revibe evolving in the next few years, and what impact do you hope to make in the UAE and beyond?
Benzakour: In the coming years, we envision Revibe becoming a major player in the refurbished electronics industry in the UAE and the broader Middle East region. We aim to be at the forefront of the circular economy movement, helping to reduce electronic waste and combat climate change through the adoption of sustainable practices. Our mission is to make refurbished electronics the norm, not the exception, by offering customers an attractive alternative to new devices. We want to contribute significantly to the UAE's efforts in hosting the COP28 and beyond, actively participating in the sustainability journey.
Through lessons learned and an openness to exploring different paths, Benzakour seems to be steering Revibe towards becoming a leader in the refurbished electronics space. As explained by Benzakour, Revibe is now one of the leaders in the refurbishment space but its commitment to reducing electronic waste and contributing to sustainability serves as an inspiration to step up as the undisputed leader in the UAE.