Jayant Jha, the CEO of Yantra stands across a banner in a formal suit

In 2013, if you owned a Blackberry and wanted to get it repaired, it was an uphill battle. Finding a trusted repair outlet that understood the technology of a smartphone and was ready to repair it within a reasonable time frame was a challenge. This was the exact problem that Jayant Jha faced, and he was disappointed that he might have to shelve his phone. This experience motivated him to do some market research on “phone repair” and eventually co-found Yaantra - a company that provided doorstep repair services for branded smartphones in Delhi.

The collaboration

Yaantra, formerly known as Gadgetwood is a leading electronics refurbishment company. Says its CEO and co-founder Jayant Jha, “We started our operations in India in 2013 and began selling on the Amazon Renewed program in Jan 2017. In the last 2 years we have seen our online sales grow more than 10X and consider online sales on Amazon as our key channel to sell refurbished products directly to consumers especially in smaller towns where reaching consumers is hard otherwise.”

To the uninitiated, Amazon Renewed offers customers high quality open-box and refurbished products from Amazon qualified sellers. Renewed products are tested to work and look like new with minimal to no signs of wear & tear, come with relevant accessories and are backed by a minimum six month warranty provided by the supplier. Yaantra has been selling on Amazon Renewed since 2017.

Technology for all

Technicians at work in the Yaantra lab working on refurbished phones

“Our vision is technology made accessible to everyone and we saw Amazon with its pan India presence as the best partner to achieve this business goal,” says Jayant Jha. Yaantra sells tens of crores worth of smartphones every year on this platform alone. They are working aggressively with Amazon to reach more consumers in this rapidly evolving segment. Yaantra has also tied up with 35,000 smaller reselling partners in 600 towns and cities across India. 50% of these are tier 2 and tier 3 towns like Trichy, Mangalore or Meerut where people can now own quality, refurbished smartphones with warranty.

Yaantra’s their growth can be attributed to some key features, like giving a warranty for their repair services. They also had a website and App where customers could book service slots. In 2016, they steered their business towards smartphone refurbishing due to heavy market demands. “Various e-commerce players wanted trusted partners who could restore returned electronic goods to be resold on their platforms. There were some consumers who couldn’t afford to buy new smartphones, while others wanted an upgrade or exchange of their existing phones. In a fragmented market with many unorganized mom & pop repair shops and a few branded service centers, Yaantra brought some much-needed structure,” says Jha.

Soon, Yaantra attained a 5S compliance for their comprehensive smartphone repair services, pushing smartphone refurbishment to the next level. Jayant Jha sees a major upside in consumer demand in the organized refurbished sector in the next 3 years. Yaantra’s understanding and ability to handle the sophisticated technology of different smartphone brands sets them apart from other small stores in the market. They provide a unique 30-minute doorstep repair service as well. All this has helped the company sell over a million refurbished phones in such a short span of time.

Making the earth greener

Yaantra buys, repairs and resells used smartphones closing the loop and creating a circular business economy. Jayant talks about the lifecycle of a phone, “While most people use a phone for 9 to 12 months, it’s actual life is 4 or 5 years. This means we can refurbish it twice in its lifetime and 3 different people can use it.” Every refurbished phone they sell is one less in a landfill today!

For the future, Yaantra is testing many other categories to focus on like IoT, smartwatches and even laptops to some extent.

Their focus on quality and affordability has won many hearts over. “This is the best product in this price range. It's absolutely brilliant. I have been using it for over a year now and it's amazing!” reviews Adrija Ghosh after buying a Refurbished smartphone from Yaantra on Amazon.

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