Chinese electronics recycle startup Aihuishou has closed a $150-million financing round led by global investment firm Tiger Global Management, it said in an announcement.
The latest funding round gives Aihuishou a valuation of $1.5 billion, making it the latest entrant in the unicorn club. E-commerce giant JD.com also participated in the round.
The proceeds will be used by the startup to enhance the security of its messaging platform as well as its recycling service.
Aihushou has expanded its presence to Hong Kong, Dubai, Miami, India, Russia, Brazil and other global cities. It claimed to have recorded an average $45 million transaction volume just six months after the global expansion.
Founded seven years ago, the startup collects electronics from consumers and sells them to corporations. It has 260 physical stores and close to 2,000 auto recycling machines. It claims to have serviced 35 million users.
Aihuishou has in the past formed partnerships with JD.com, Xiaomi Inc and other smartphone brands for its electronics recycling business. It said that it will look to go past the RMB1 billion transaction volume mark by end of this year.
It raised a $2 million Series A led by Morningside Venture Capital in 2012, followed by a $10 million Series B led by International Financial Corporation. In 2015, it raised a $60 million Series C led by Tiantu Capital, and subsequently a $58 million Series D led by PE firm Cathay Capital and Fortune Venture Capital.
A study issued by United Nations University’s Sustainable Cycles programme said the amount of e-waste in Asia has gone up 63 per cent in the last five years. In China, e-waste more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.
A report by BBC said that e-waste mining has the potential to become a big business, as consumer electronics are a rich source of metals.