Good news, gadget hounds! The new “try before you buy” subscription service called YBUY is exiting its public beta, backed by $750,000 in seed funding. The concept is simple, and should have major appeal for the gadget-obsessed: for just $24.95 per month, you can test drive the latest electronics, home and kitchen gadgets for 30 days before deciding to purchase or return the items.
At launch, the site is serving up highly sought-after gadgets like the iPad 2, Dyson heaters, Jawbone headsets, iRobot Roombas and more.
The gadgets are shipped to customers for free, and the package also includes a return label for free shipping on the way back to YBUY if you decide you’re not interested in purchasing. However, if find that you can’t bear to part with your shiny new iPad 2 (as is the exception, of course), you can proceed to purchase the item minus the $24.95 you already paid.
The company says it will also discount items under regular retail prices to make buying through YBUY more compelling. This isn’t always the case, though. For example, YBUY lists the iPad 2 for $499.99 and the Jawbone Jambox for $199.99 – those are the going rates. Explains CEO Stephen Svajian, “for manufacturers, we provide an easy-to-use sales channel that allows them to offer refurbished products to consumers without the added cost of marketing and sales.” In other words, not all the gadgets are the cheaper (but manufacturer-certified) refurbs.
The Manhattan Beach, Ca.-based startup was founded by serial entrepreneur Stephen Svajian and Kevin Wall, a Managing Partner at Craton Equity Partners and CEO of Live Earth, among other things. The company’s $750,000 in seed funding comes from the founders themselves and other angels.