With technology and communications speeds getting ever faster and applications & software eating storage space for breakfast, modern technology becomes redundant quite quickly, causing near constant IT refresh cycles and creating a problem of how to securely dispose of the equipment. New Business talks to Karl Neary and Oliver Mason, founders of KOcycle, a company that offers secure and ethical solutions to securely process redundant kit as well as driving additional revenue streams for their clients.

KOcycle is a relatively new company in an industry where every piece of IT hardware potentially holds the company crown jewels in terms of sensitive data. What motivated you to start an IT recycling company and were you already in that world? 

Coming from an enterprise IT background, our “world” certainly wasn’t a million miles away. We had experience working on various IT lifecycle projects on behalf of our clients, and we immediately saw the value to them in offering these services alongside the gaps which currently exist in the market.The industry is relatively unchanged – since the first piece of technology was sold, there have always been buyers looking to purchase it in the second-hand space, so being an IT partner is far more than purchasing “redundant” technology. What’s redundant to one person is often valuable to somebody else.These gaps are where the opportunity exists, and our ability to both fill, and innovate, within the space is the reason KOcycle continues to grow at a rapid pace.

We have all seen the results of councils shipping dumped kit off abroad, for bank info or other data details to be harvested from them. How can you guarantee total security?

We have indeed, and let’s face it – in today’s data security climate, one data breach is one data breach too many. In our experience, security is delivered by a fusion of people, processes and technology. From the second a client’s redundant technology is collected by KOcycle staff, to the second it’s been data cleansed at our ISO 27001 accredited facility it’s accompanied by a process that mitigates as many risk factors as possible.  We’re committed to adhering to the highest regulatory standards and constantly review our obligations to clients and how we can continue to exceed them, as evidenced by our continued growth.

Do you have any “cradle to the grave” partnerships  with IT resellers where there is a built in recycling arrangement as part of the sale contract?

Absolutely, one thing we immediately recognised from our experience within the Value Added Reseller ‘VAR’ was the current gaps in the IT Disposal market. From observations during previous projects, we felt traditional IT Disposal providers were not delivering anywhere near enough value for the IT lifecycle process to be deemed as an attractive – or indeed interesting – topic for a sales representative to talk to clients about during a traditional sales cycle. We have spent time presenting the KOcycle vision to our partners within the Value Added Reseller market and in particular on the value that the IT lifecycle process offers from both a client, and a commercial, perspective. Our unique experience of working on all sides of the sales cycle allows us to support huge global opportunities and maximise value for both our partners and their clients.The sales teams we support now work with their clients to use the residual value in redundant technology to fund the replacement technology, a unique and very different approach to the traditional IT Disposal industry.

A business involved in any form of recycling naturally scores highly on the social responsibility charts, is this a key part of your ambitions for the company?

Every corporation has a responsibility to help its community benefit from the value that it creates. In our instance, we come across a lot of technology that is in perfect working order but otherwise deemed redundant.Through our Giving Back Scheme, we have been able to provide technology to local nurseries and charitable organisations where budgets are either minimal or non-existent. And from a wider community perspective, we can remarket technology at prices that allow all segments of society to access technology they simply couldn’t afford at regular RRP. Whilst we’re a business and must keep the meter running, our focus is very much on adding value to our clients, partners and wider communities.

What would be success for you in your first five years of business?

We can give you the standard “biggest player in the market” response but, quite honestly, it’s been such an amazing, fun journey so far and we’ve felt success so many times already that it’s hard to comprehend where we can take the business and industry over the next  five years! From a social perspective, if we can educate our audience on the value of reusing technology to a point that it becomes part of an overall social and economic strategy, this would be a legacy that all of us involved with KOcycle would be honoured to leave behind.

Our clients are global, so we’re already looking at setting up KOcycle facilities in other European cities so it’s very much a case of watch this space.