What It Does: Used electronics reseller
Founders: Rich Littlehale, 23, and Bob Casey, 22
Web Site: www.yourenew.com
Based: New Haven, Conn.
YouRenew pays cash for used electronics traded-in online and resells most of what it collects to wholesalers or on eBay (EBAY) or Amazon.com (AMZN). Yale students Rich Littlehale and Bob Casey launched the site in March to encourage people to recycle gadgets such as cell phones and cameras that many just toss. "E-waste is the fastest-growing stream of waste in the U.S.," says Littlehale. The secret sauce is a pricing algorithm that determines trade-in values based on users' responses. YouRenew resells about 80% of trade-ins and recycles the rest. Users can choose to get cash or donate the payments to environmental causes. The company has grown quickly: Its 1,500-square-foot warehouse in New Haven is overflowing, with more than 1,000 trade-ins a month, Littlehale says. YouRenew hired six people in June to bring the staff up to 10. Littlehale says the venture is close to breaking even and just raised $800,000 from angels and a VC firm to expand with a focus on institutional clients. The company already partners with Yale and the city of New Haven, and plans to have college reps on 50 campuses this fall. Littlehale projects revenue of $600,000 to $1 million in 2009.