Swappie and Sharpist set sights on Ireland after successful funding rounds

15 Feb 2022

Swappie CEO and co-founder Sami Marttinen. Image: Swappie

Swappie and Sharpist plan to scale their operations in European markets, including Ireland.

Two European start-ups – refurbished iPhone provider Swappie and digital coach provider Sharpist – have announced plans to expand in Ireland after raising fresh funding rounds.

Finland-based Swappie has raised €108m in a Series C funding round led by growth equity firm Verdane. This included support from existing investors Lifeline Ventures, Inventure, Reaktor Ventures and Tesi, which all participated in the company’s Series B funding round in 2020. Following this investment, the total raised by Swappie is now €149m.

Future Human

Berlin-based Sharpist, meanwhile, has completed a $23m Series A funding round, co-led by growth capital firm Endeit Capital and VC firm Capnamic. Other investors in the round included Founders Future, Porsche Ventures, business angels and existing investors Vorwerk Ventures and Btov Partners.

Both start-ups plan to use the funding to capitalise on growing markets in Europe.

Swappie

Founded in 2016 by Sami Marttinen and Jiri Heinonen, Swappie aims to provide consumers with a more affordable and environmentally friendly way to upgrade their phones. The company buys, refurbishes and sells iPhones, while allowing users to sell their old iPhones on its website.

Following the latest funding round, Swappie said it will focus on scaling its operations in Ireland, which began in 2020. It aims to connect with Irish partners and expand in the 14 other markets it operates in across Europe. The company also plans to increase its number of staff from 1,200 to 2,200 by the end of the year.

“People are increasingly looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact and locking onto the fact that smartphone purchasing is an area we can all address,” Marttinen said. “We all want great tech, but it doesn’t need to cost the earth.

“We truly believe that Swappie can drive consumer awareness and trust in the sector by standardising quality, championing the role of sustainability, and making buying a refurbished smartphone as common as buying a used car,” he added.

The iPhone provider said it has experienced rapid growth in the last few years, with a 220pc increase in sales in 2020 compared to the year before.

Swappie COO Emma Lehikoinen said the smartphone market is worth more than €100bn, with used or refurbished phones making up around 10pc. “There is huge potential for the refurbished phone market to grow,” she added. “At Swappie we see this potential as a great opportunity to solidify our efforts in growing the current European operations.”

Sharpist

Founded by Hendrik Schriefer and Fabian Niedballa, Sharpist develops a customised e-learning platform for companies’ staff. This platform provides personal business coaches via mobile and web apps, along with personalised learning content.

Sharpist said there is a growing market in corporate learning and development worth about $300bn globally. Since its launch in 2018, the company said its clients have used the platform to retain and grow their talent. It now plans expand into the UK and Ireland following its latest investment.

Sharpist founders, COO Fabian Niedballa and CEO Hendrik Schriefer

Sharpist COO Fabian Niedballa and CEO Hendrik Schriefer. Image: Sharpist

The e-learning company plans to use the funding to accelerate growth across Europe and open a London branch in the coming months. It also aims to double its headcount of 100 staff by the end of the year.

“We are excited to partner with our new investors Endeit Capital, Capnamic, and Porsche Ventures on our mission to become the leading platform for career and people development – we will substantially benefit from their vast experience in building strong, multinational leaders,” CEO Schriefer said.

Clients that utilise Sharpist’s services include Strabag, Franke and Otto Group. Towards the end of 2021, the e-learning company secured new customers including Zalando, Metro and BASF.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com