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Apkudo, a platform for managing connected devices, raises $37.5M • TechCrunch

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Apkudo, a Baltimore-based startup developing a platform to help manage, sell and test connected devices like smartphones and laptops, today announced that it raised $37.5 million in a Series C funding round co-led by Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund and Piper Sandler Merchant Banking with participation from MissionOG, Harbert Growth, Grotech Ventures, Lavrock Ventures and Point Field Partners. Sources tell TechCrunch that the round, which brings Apkudo’s total raised to $75 million, values the company at around $300 million post-money.

Co-founder and CEO Josh Matthews says that the proceeds will be put toward expanding Apkudo’s engineering teams, building out the company’s go-to-market function and establishing a physical presence outside of the U.S.

“Management chose to raise now so that we can respond appropriately to the intense market demands for the Apkudo platform,” Matthews said. “Our customers are also asking us to expand with them beyond mobility and into compute while also working together in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”

Matthews, an embedded operating systems engineer by training, started Apkudo in 2011 with Ben Leslie, who he met while a student at the University of New South Wales in Australia. The two sought to build a service that companies could used to figure out supply chain logistics for devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and wearables, with the goal of maximizing the value from those devices’ resale, repair and reuse.

Martin Aares, head of asset management at Closed Loop Partners, emphasized the sustainability piece of Apkudo’s mission, pointing out that less than 20% of electronics are collected, refurbished or recycled worldwide — translating to an estimated $50 billion in lost value each year. “There is so much value within the connected devices already in the market today,” he added. “Increasing their useful life and keeping these valuable materials in circulation, and out of landfills and the environment, is a critical part of accelerating the circular economy.”

Through Apkudo, companies like mobile carriers can build device trade-in experiences for customers. Apkudo handles things like grading and pricing devices. But it can also perform testing, whether in-lab or in the field.

According to Matthews, Apkudo uses AI across a range of tasks, like predicting which retail stores, shipping hubs and distribution centers have the highest probability of lost or stolen devices. During inspections, Apkudo’s algorithms attempt to distinguish between smudges, scratches, chips and cracks to assess the overall condition of a device.

“Apkudo is how all the players in the connected device supply chain can now get real-time answers to device inventory, quality and pricing questions — not only within their own organization, but across their global partner network,” Matthews said. “Instead of raising enormous amounts of venture capital and then hoping to find product market fit, the Apkudo platform was built capital efficiently by solving for the needs of the most sophisticated buyers.”

Apkudo’s customers include big names like FedEx, T-Mobile and Asurion, and Matthews says that the size of the company’s customer base grew 30% from last February. He didn’t reveal revenue figures, but let slip that 180-employee Apkudo’s annual recurring revenue grew around 141% year-over-year.

No doubt bolstering business is the growing demand, broadly, for supply chain management solutions. Global sales of supply chain management software are forecasted to increase to $24.5 billion in 2025 from $14.3 billion in 2019, according to Markets and Markets. That’s in spite of the fact that VC funding of supply chain startups shows signs of waning.

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