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ControlZ: Refurbishing Smartphones for a Sustainable Future

ControlZ: Refurbishing Smartphones for a Sustainable Future

In today's fast-paced world, the allure of owning the latest smartphone is undeniable. 

However, this seemingly innocent trend of upgrading to the newest model is casting a shadow on the environment, leaving behind a colossal carbon footprint. 

As the urgency for sustainable practices intensifies, the need for eco-conscious choices in the tech realm becomes more pressing. 

This is where ControlZ steps in, with a mission to revolutionize the smartphone market and breathe new life into pre-owned devices.

Founded by the visionary 21-year-old Yug Bhatia in June 2020, ControlZ is redefining the refurbished smartphone landscape. 

It's not just about extending the life of used phones; it's about crafting a comprehensive solution that bridges the gap between aesthetics, functionality, and environmental impact. 

Bhatia's venture seeks to refurbish smartphones to a standard of excellence that rivals the experience of using a new device, while simultaneously promoting a more sustainable future.

ControlZ's approach sets it apart from the current market of pre-owned devices. While basic refurbishment involves limited parts replacement to make a device saleable again, ControlZ's unique edge lies in its commitment to comprehensive component-level renewal. 

Bhatia explains that the current market for pre-owned smartphones lacks standardization and quality guarantees, which ControlZ aims to rectify by elevating the pre-owned smartphone experience.

Yug Bhatia's inspiration stemmed from a dual passion for smartphones and a family ethos of sustainable practices. 

But it was the events of 2020, including the global pandemic, that underscored the crucial role of pre-owned smartphones in providing affordable connectivity during challenging times. 

Armed with this awareness, Bhatia embarked on a mission to unlock the potential of the pre-owned smartphone market while addressing the pressing issue of electronic waste.

The mechanics behind ControlZ's renewal process are intricate and innovative. When a used smartphone arrives at the Renew Hub in Gurugram, it undergoes a meticulous quality check utilizing advanced automation technology. 

ControlZ's skilled engineers work diligently to restore the device's functionality and aesthetic appeal. 

The battery is replaced, and other critical components such as the camera, display, sound, and printed circuit board assembly are examined, repaired, and renewed. 

The refurbishment process entails disassembling, diagnosing, and meticulously renewing each part, with up to 80% of the original components retained. The ultimate goal is not to merely change parts but to rejuvenate the entire device, ensuring that each refurbished phone meets stringent standards of both appearance and functionality.

ControlZ's vision extends beyond individual devices—it's about redefining the trajectory of smartphone lifespans and reducing the carbon footprint inherent in manufacturing new devices. 

A significant portion of a smartphone's carbon footprint is generated during the production process. By breathing new life into pre-owned devices, ControlZ seeks to mitigate the environmental toll associated with constant manufacturing.

To date, ControlZ has successfully refurbished and sold 60,000 units, primarily focusing on Apple and OnePlus phones. 

The renewed devices are priced between Rs 9,799 and Rs 39,999 for iPhones and Rs 6,499 to Rs 46,999 for OnePlus phones—representing a remarkable 60% cost reduction compared to new devices. ControlZ's journey has been marked by exponential growth, projecting a revenue of Rs 50 crore in FY24 and setting its sights on a significant milestone of Rs 100 crore in FY25, after generating Rs 25 crore in revenue last year.

As the used smartphone market is predicted to reach a value of $10 billion by FY26, ControlZ is well-positioned to capture this burgeoning opportunity. While bootstrapped thus far, the company has ambitious plans to fuel its growth trajectory. 

ControlZ aims to raise $2 million in debt funding this year to expand its operations. This growth strategy includes establishing an in-house research department and ramping up its renewal capacity to a staggering 6 lakh devices per year, from the current 20,000. 

In the dynamic landscape of tech innovation, ControlZ emerges as a beacon of conscious consumerism, blending sustainable practices with cutting-edge technology for a brighter future.


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