Irish co-founded Raylo secures £110m for tech leasing business

31 Jan 2023

Image: Raylo website

Co-founded by Belfast’s Karl Gilbert, Raylo has seen its subscriber base grow more than 100pc year-on-year.

Raylo has secured £110m in debt financing to expand its tech subscription platform and make its latest gadgets accessible to more people.

Founded in 2019 by Karl Gilbert, Richard Fulton and Jinden Badesha, Raylo has offices in London, where it is headquartered, and in Belfast, where Gilbert is from.

Having started off as an iPhone subscription service, Raylo has expanded to include a wider selection of refurbished smartphones, tablets and laptops that customers can lease for specific periods of time – making them more accessible and affordable.

Multiple outlets have confirmed that Raylo secured the debt financing package from NatWest bank and Quilam Capital.

“Raylo are a progressive, forward-thinking business, with a solid platform to positively influence consumer behaviour and attitude towards use of technology in the future,” said NatWest senior director Milena Sheahan.

According to a Business Post report, Raylo’s subscriber base has grown more than 100pc year-on-year and the start-up is forecasting further growth as inflation leads more consumers to reconsider spending.

It plans to expand both its direct-to-consumer business as well as its checkout integration, Raylo Pay, which is aimed at merchants. Raylo said the pipeline of retailers has grown 10 times in the last six months to present a £3bn per year opportunity.

“This financing supports our strategy to further expand our platform and provide even more customers with affordable and sustainable access to the tech products they really want,” Gilbert told the publication.

Raylo has previously raised $11.5m in a Series A funding round in 2021, when it doubled its workforce. The round was led by Octopus Ventures.

Previous backers include Invest Northern Ireland and TechStart NI as well as Guy Johnson of Carphone Warehouse and the co-founders of Funding Circle.

According to Raylo’s own sustainability report in 2021, smartphones are used for only 40pc of their potential lifespan. Raylo’s model means the use of smartphones is extended as they are refurbished and reused, giving phones “as many lives as possible”.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic