Giving new life to electronic junk

Israel Ganot, co-founder of Gazelle: “The bigger story is making sure items get a second life.” Some of the iPhones get sold on eBay, older cell phones and laptops are repurposed and shipped to India and China for resale, while …

Israel Ganot, co-founder of Gazelle: “The bigger story is making sure items get a second life.”

Some of the iPhones get sold on eBay, older cell phones and laptops are repurposed and shipped to India and China for resale, while the electronic leftovers with little resale potential are ripped apart and boiled down to parts and raw materials. Welcome to Gazelle, an online service that lets you sell and recycle your unwanted electronic junk.

The solution is good for you, good for the environment, and good for the buyer. Admittedly, some of the mail-ins that Gazelle’s COO and co-founder Israel Ganot sees are not junk at all, but devices in perfect working order, like the first generation iPhone.

“The crux of the company is re-commerce – extending the life of electronics,” Ganot tells ISRAEL21c: “We are providing individuals and companies an easy way to get cash.

“The bigger story is making sure items get a second life,” he adds. “People buy the latest and the greatest – phones today are fashion items. After you’ve bought a new one you don’t know what to do with the older ones.”

A channel for recycling

Instead of throwing the old items into the trash, just contact Gazelle: “We are providing a channel for people to make sure their items are re-sold or recycled,” says Ganot, a former eBay and Amazon executive.

Ganot is based in the United States (living in the Boston area), but the 30-person company feels more like the United Nations, says Ganot who was born in Peru to Israeli parents – his father a military serviceman from Israel on a post in Peru at the time.

They then moved to Israel and Ganot grew up in Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb city on the Mediterranean coast, before moving to the US.

Gazelle’s CEO Rousseau Aurelien from Haiti, heard about Ganot and brought him on board in 2006 when the company was founded. Aurelien sought out Ganot to raise capital, develop a business plan, and then launch the business and operate it – exactly what Ganot is doing today.

Knowing how to weather the storm, determination and being focused, says Ganot, are probably the characteristics that make Israelis successful leaders of high-tech companies — an unusual proportion of them heading such companies today in America.

Making money from unwanted items

The appeal of Gazelle, he points out, is that it offers a very convenient way for people to make money out of items that are essentially a hassle to get rid of. Unless you have time for garage sales, and tracking bids on eBay, there is a good chance that your old electronics will just sit in the cupboard collecting dust.

Gazelle offers a convenient way to help you get rid of these items before they lose resale value. Cell phones, laptops, old digital cameras, Blackberry devices, and MP3 players are items with significant market value that might even score you some cash.

To participate, just plug in the details of the item you would like to sell on the Gazelle website. Within one business day, the company will return to you, letting you know how much they will pay. After an agreement is reached, Gazelle will send you shipping materials. All you have to do is put the item in the box and send it.

“Our services are open to the world,” says Ganot, who despite living in America now for 20 years, still gets excited when he sees items coming all the way from Israel. “Within the first week of launching the business, we received our first Israeli customer. And they weren’t a relative or my friend,” he points out, laughing.

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman lives in Jaffa, Israel. She is a journalist, writer and blogger who focuses on the environment and clean technology from Israel and the Middle East. Published in hundreds of newspapers around the world, Karin also writes for the Huffington Post and Green Prophet.