Clearwater International has advised BGF and the shareholders of ReBOUND, a technology platform helping brands such as ASOS, Gymshark and Sweaty Betty manage their returns sustainably, on its sale to Reconomy Group (Reconomy), the provider of outsourced, asset-light services to the circular economy.
Founded in 2014 by Graham Best and Phil Smith, ReBOUND is a global leader in managed returns services, helping brands understand what’s being sent back to them and why, as well as providing a range of options on what to do with inbound items.
The company specialises in working with fashion brands to offset the environmental impact of packaging, shipping and processing returns, helping brands calculate the most carbon-efficient routes, eliminate wasted transport miles and recycle goods wherever possible.
The acquisition is the latest in a line of investments as part of Reconomy’s strategic growth plan as the company pursues its ambition of becoming the leading global, asset-light circular economy platform. The Reconomy Group already includes many innovative, technology-enabled sustainability service providers, including RLG and Cycleon, the European returns logistics and compliance specialists, and Valpak, the UK’s largest packaging compliance scheme and data insight provider.
The transaction combines ReBOUND’s specialist returns platform with Reconomy Group’s vast portfolio of technology-enabled environmental services, including those provided by Reverse Logistics Group (RLG) and Cycleon, that help organisations tackle sustainability in a meaningful, cost-effective way. The addition of ReBOUND positions the Group as the leading global expert in asset-light, sustainable ecommerce returns and reverse logistics, just as COVID’s online shopping boom has increased the need for leading retail brands to manage their environmental impact.
ReBOUND will continue to operate under its own name while collaborating closely across the Reconomy Group, sharing technology, data and services as it continues to develop ways for retail to transform their returns practices. The addition of ReBOUND adds further breadth to the Reconomy Group offer, ultimately benefiting customers who will be able to manage returns in one place alongside resource management, setting and monitoring a common set of KPIs.
The Clearwater International team consisted of Managing Partner Phil Burns, Partner and International Head of TMT Carl Houghton, Director Richard Ellis, Associate Directors Finn O’Driscoll and Kirsten Handley and Executive Carly Sinicrope.
Graham Best, Founder and CEO, ReBOUND said: “Thanks to the lockdown-inspired ecommerce surge, retail faces an environmental crisis and this is the ideal partnership to help brands diffuse that ticking time bomb. At ReBOUND we’ve always prided ourselves on helping retailers recognise the value of their returns data. Uniting with Reconomy Group’s incredible resources now means there are boundless opportunities for retailers to apply that data to tackle returns sustainably, from knowing which worldwide recycling services are available to tap into, to supercharging advanced analytics to sell items that customers actually want to keep.”
Paul Cox, CEO, Reconomy said: “Adding ReBOUND to the Reconomy Group is a very exciting development and we extend a warm welcome to the whole team. Their innovative approach, underpinned by great technology and a focus on providing an excellent user experience, makes for a perfect fit with Reconomy. Sustainable returns have taken on even more importance during the pandemic and represent a challenge for many businesses looking to achieve high environmental standards. ReBOUND’s expertise, combined with the Reconomy Group’s existing returns activity, will offer clear, unique benefits to our customers as we continue to build an unrivalled set of services to help drive the circular economy on the global stage.”
Carl Houghton, Partner and International Head of TMT, Clearwater International, said: “We’ve seen several pre-existing trends in tech accelerate to warp speed in the new world. A business like ReBOUND, which delivers market-leading ecommerce enablement in returns management was always going to attract a lot of interest and we’re delighted that it has found such a good home in Reconomy.”