NetcyclerNetcycler, a Finnish startup, wants to get us to recycle all the pretty things we own but don’t need anymore. After talking to the founders they are also keen evangelize their own version of cradle to cradle thinking and want to make more than just money, even though that is part of the plan as well.

The service itself is still in closed alpha (we have invites though, see more about those below), although to me it’s a full blown Beta and working just fine. You can put your stuff for people to see,  include a photo, description and all the usual stuff. In addition to this there’s quite a nifty way to find what you’d like to get in exchange:  You can also create a Wish, where you tell the service what you’d like to get in return. After you have done this, it will automatically offer you that, if someone is willing to exchange such a product.

Creating wishes and being able to exchange goods in what the founders call a ‘trade ring’ is what sets the service apart from many of its competitors that offer a simple way to swap products. The ‘trade ring’ will significantly increase the chances that you will find something useful and by creating wishes it will also automatically let you know when that happens.

baby clothes

The company enables you to swap almost anything that can be found in your house, but just as in e-commerce, the company is looking into tapping the lucrative market of mothers that have young kids and pick up the low hanging fruits first. As we know kids will grow out of their clothes and toys in no time and young mothers have the time to browse the web to find what they need.

The company is building its business model around value added services like the transportation of the goods that have been exchanged by Netcycler users. The actual exchange of goods and giving goods away will always be free of charge.

Netcycler was founded by two Finns, Juha Koponen and Jussi Koskinen. Koponen worked previously  in various senior roles at First Hop, for example Research Director, VP of Product Development and VP of Services, before it was acquired by Airwide Solutions in December 2007.  Koskinen came from Detection Technology, a manufacturer of silicon detector components for medical and security imaging. He was responsible for company’s sales and US operations and later for business units.

The founders told me that along with Finland the company is currently focusing on the German market which has much more potential and size, but also more competitors compared to the Northern Europe. That said, Koskinen told me that the real competitor for the company is the habit of buying new goods instead of recycling the old.

We have 30 invites go give out. When signing up, you should write “Arctic” to the empty field that says: “Please tell us why you would like to join Netcycler”. If you’re not among the first 30, don’t worry, you will still get an invite but need to wait for your turn as there are about 1000 people on the queue. The first 30 will get an invite right away. Time to start swapping stuff  people.