Raylo raises £5.2m as tech-leasing business takes off

12 Sep 2023

CEO Karl Gilbert. Image: Raylo

Based in the UK and co-founded by Belfast’s Karl Gilbert, Raylo has seen its subscriber base grow by nearly 40 times in the last three years.

Irish co-founded Raylo has raised £5.2m in its second major funding round of the year as the tech-gadget-leasing business continues to grow.

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

As part of the deal announcement today (12 September), the start-up is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to allow individuals to own part of the business. Potential investors can register their interest starting today.

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.

Since its founding, the company has launched new payment and insurance products to expand its services to a subscriber base of 80,000 – which has grown 39pc in the last three years. Annual recurring revenue now stands at £22m.

“The Raylo team has shown impressive traction in building a new consumer electronics proposition that is beneficial for both customers and the planet,” said Hannah Redgewell, investment principal at Channel 4 Ventures, which co-led the funding along with Macquarie.

“The launch of newer products, such as Raylo Pay and Raylo Insurance, demonstrate the company’s innovativeness and commitment to building a great customer experience.”

According to the World Economic Forum, more than 53m tonnes of electronic waste was generated last year alone – equivalent to discarding 1,000 laptops into landfills every second.

Raylo’s own sustainability report in 2021 found that 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”.

Earlier this year, the start-up secured £110m in debt financing led by NatWest bank and Quilam Capital. Raylo raised $11.5m in a Series A funding round in 2021. The round was led by Octopus Ventures.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic