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In our 5 minutes with profiles, MEF members talk about their business, their aspirations for the future and the wider mobile industry.

This week, the CEO of Pandas, Fanis Koutouvelis, introduces the Pandas trade-in platform and how the company helps MNOs and retailers create seamless buyback experiences.

What does Pandas do?

Pandas exists to help MNOs and tech retailers achieve 1-for-1 circularity in mobile devices – for every new device sold, we believe that another one should be traded back so that we can reach a fully circular economy.

To achieve that, we’ve designed and built a 360° trade-in platform that completely transforms the buyback process of our partners. Through our patented technology, we are able to create omnichannel trade-in journeys for their consumers, grading any smartphone device with precision and providing the most intuitive customer experience possible – all with economics that make sense for the business.

In a few words, the Pandas Platform is made to provide the backbone of any well-designed and profitable trade-in program.

When did you launch and what growth have you seen?

Pandas was launched in 2020 as the result of a 5-year R&D project on wireless communications. Since then, we’ve seen rapid growth, deploying our platform to numerous businesses in 10 countries across the globe and engaging some of the biggest investors in the mobile sector such as Marcelo Claure and DST Global.

All the above wouldn’t be possible without the team we’ve been fortunate enough to build, both in senior management and product development. The future is certainly exciting!

What are your main goals?

We want to enable circularity in our industry and trade-ins sit at the center of this cycle.

We believe that the current buyback process is due for an upgrade. It lacks grading accuracy, simplicity, and the right technology to make it work.

Pandas is bridging the gap between a fine-tuned trade-in program for the business and a great CX for the end user. Without both, MNOs and retailers will struggle to scale their buyback operations.

Where do you see your company in three years’ time?

So far, Pandas has been heavily innovating both software and hardware technology and sealing partnerships with key players in the telecommunications industry.

Over the next few years, we believe that Pandas’ technology will lead the trade-in market, and we expect to see considerable growth in our network. Many new partnerships are underway as we aim to bring our much-needed technology and know-how to as many MNOs and retailers as possible and power device circularity. 

What aspect of mobile is most exciting to you right now?

The latest advances in AI and machine learning and their application to UX and supply chains are undoubtedly some of the most significant breakthroughs in mobile technology in the last decade. 

Pandas has an active role in this space, developing our own algorithms to provide more grading accuracy and an even better, more personalized, and well-timed buyback experience to our partners and their customers.

What’s the most critical issue that will hit mobile within the next 12 months?

The concept of embracing and supporting circularity is definitely critical. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, increasing by 50 million tonnes each year, with smartphone devices leading the way. Thankfully, we are starting to see the industry taking action towards advancing sustainability. Recently, 12 of the world’s leading telecom operators committed to reaching up to 30% trade-in rates by 2030; a considerable step that will set an example for the rest. 

Pandas is here to support initiatives like these and showcase that when trade-ins are at the heart of commercial strategy, it’s a win-win for the planet, the customer, and the business.

Apart from your own, which mobile companies are the ones to watch in the year ahead?

Apkudo is certainly a great example of a company innovating in device supply chain automation—an important stage of the circularity cycle that is taking place after Pandas’ trade-in solution. On the other hand, Reebelo’s impact on the refurbished device market and customer satisfaction is noticeable and will definitely grow over the next few years.

Fanis Koutouvelis

CEO, Pandas

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