Personal tech devices are ubiquitous. Forecasts from Statista show that there are almost 16.8 billion mobile devices in operation globally. The Information and Communication Industry (ICT) has received little attention as a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and if anything is often praised for enabling high efficiencies. However, a recent study shows that the ICT is on its way to exceed 14% of the carbon footprint by 2040 — half as large as the carbon impact of the entire transportation industry.
With a two-year average life cycle, the environmental impact of smartphone devices are increasingly becoming part of the conversation. Ongoing initiatives in resource efficiency as part of the circular economy can certainly make a difference in the future environmental impact of smartphone use.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the transition to a circular economy could generate savings of €600 billion per year in Europe by 2030. Further, the European Environment Agency highlights that extending the lifespan of electronic devices through repair and maintenance can reduce GHG emissions by 27 to 54 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year in Europe by 2030.
Rebel Tech is a Seed stage startup that aims to fix the electronics repair industry. While manufacturing has become fully automated, in 2023 repair is still done with screwdrivers and pliers. Their aim is to develop high-tech tools and technologies that make repair scalable and affordable. Rebel's first technology is a laser machine that can separate the cover glass from a smartphone display, making it possible to replace just the glass.
They charge only €39 instead of the usual €200 to €700 for replacing the entire display. However, their ultimate goal is not just to repair smartphone displays, they want to keep developing such technologies for all kinds of devices, from laptops all the way to filling the market gap that will arise with the growth of electric vehicles. As EVs become more like computers, the average mechanic will not be equipped to handle issues related to their hardware engineering. Rebel sees a massive opportunity in the servicing market gap that will arise as the share of EVs on the road grows. In a short time since going to market, Rebel Tech has grown 100% month over month, and they are determined to continue revolutionizing the electronics repair industry.
The company's commitment to environmental sustainability is a key aspect of its brand, and their technologies are helping to reduce CO2 emissions related to new production, resource consumption and to tackle e-waste. "We are thrilled to have secured this investment, which will allow us to accelerate our growth and continue revolutionizing the repair industry," said Jack De Santis, Rebel Tech's Founder & CEO. "Our commitment to developing deep tech solutions at scale and drastically cutting the cost of repair is aligned with significantly increasing the lifespan of electronic devices, reducing the need for production and new purchases, while tackling the overall amount of e-waste generated and sent to landfill. Every device repaired delays the need to manufacture a new one to take its place.”
The Global Refurbished and Used Mobile Phones Market is forecast to grow by USD 146.43 billion by 2030 accelerating at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%. However, repairing electronic devices is a laborious task. Too often, it costs more to repair a device than to buy a new one.
Rebel Tech’s first technology is a cutting-edge laser that can separate a smartphone's glass from its display, providing affordable, high-quality repairs for any smartphone’s display for only €39. This is a major improvement over the conventional method, which replaces the entire display and can cost up to €700, and because Rebel Tech's technology removes the need for skilled manual human labor, it allows for the scalability of repair, setting a new industry precedent.
Screen repairs contribute to the extension of the life of an electronic device, hence responding to a triple environmental problem (CO2e emissions, resources intensity, e-waste). Rebel Tech has a strong founder presence with business acumen and solid technical background. Their patent-pending technology gives Rebel a competitive edge and its automation enables the scalability of the business. Further Rebel has also presented promising early traction, with 100% month-over-month growth since opening of the store.
Supporting them in their venture, Satgana’s Founder and CEO, Romain Diaz adds that, "it's time we rethink the journey of our devices. The electronics industry accounts for 4% of global GHG emissions. Without intervention, emissions from this source will increase to ∼852 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2e annually by 2030. With the vast amount of e-waste generated globally, the need for effective repair and reuse strategies have become imperative. The Rebel Tech team challenges the status quo by developing deep-tech repair solutions, ultimately fostering a more circular product lifecycle."
Berlin-based Rebel Tech, is a startup on a mission to make the repairs of electronics drastically cheaper to enable the reduction of the carbon footprint of the smartphone industry. Rebel was founded by the hardware engineers who used to design your disposable electronics, until they rebelled and put their skills to work to develop better repair tech.
They have developed a proprietary technology to drastically reduce the cost and time to repair smartphone screens. Their first technology is a laser machine that can separate the cover glass from a smartphone display, making it possible to replace just the glass in a repeatable and scalable way. Rebel Tech's first location is open in Berlin, where users can have their smartphone display glass, back glass or battery fixed for €39.