German startup ByeBuy, which offers a pay-as-you-go and on-demand alternative to gadget ownership, has raised a €1 million seed round. Backers include Commerzbank subsidiary Main Incubator, in addition to Rocket Internet’s venture arm Global Founders Capital, Hannover Innovation Fund, KRW Schindler Investments, and previous investor Seedcamp.
The new capital will be used for a planned U.S expansion, as well as finding new ways to power what ByeBuy CEO and founder Michael Cassau, who was previously at Goldman Sachs and Rocket Internet, calls the “switching economy”. This will include partnering with online and offline retailers to offer ByeBuy as a checkout option.
Just as you don’t have to own a car to drive one, the startup wants to make gadget ownership a thing of the past, providing consumers with the option to consume the latest tech on a monthly rental basis with the advantage that they can switch or ‘upgrade’ at any time.
“We offer people the opportunity to enjoy their favourite items on a fully flexible pay-as-you-go basis and remove the high implicit and explicit cost of accessing cool products,” Cassau told TechCrunch back in June.
Since then ByeBuy has ratcheted up around 1,000 members and is available in 4 countries: U.K., Germany, Netherlands and Austria. It now lists 200 or so products on its site and Cassau says the startup is seeing “very strong traction across all asset classes,” citing the Apple Watch, iPhones, and MacBooks, along with the PS4/Xbox, e-health/fitness trackers and cameras as particularly strong products.
More interesting is the possibility of ByeBuy’s model being offered at online retailers and even traditional brick ‘n’ mortar stores. “This means for example you can see us soon as a payment alternative at your favourite consumer tech ecommerce store, where, in addition to credit card and PayPal, you may see ByeBuy as a new checkout option,” explains Cassau.
“A monthly price without any commitment instead of buying or committing to 3-year financings. We step in and buy it for you so you don’t you have to. Switch and send back at any time.”