Revolutionizing Smartphones: An Interview with Yug Bhatia, Founder of ControlZ

Discover how ControlZ is redefining sustainability in the smartphone industry with their innovative approach to renewed devices.

Q.1. Can you briefly introduce ControlZ and its mission?

Ans. Founded in 2017 by Yug Bhatia, we are a Gurgaon-based company with a mission to make a positive impact. Recognizing the growing demand for increasingly popular smartphones and the potential of pre-owned devices, we introduced the concept of “renewed” smartphones in India. This category directly addresses environmental concerns by promoting conscious resource use. These meticulously renewed smartphones look and function just like new, offering a high-quality alternative to buying brand-new ones. ControlZ’s mission is to extend the life cycle of smartphones and inspire conscious consumption.

2. What inspired you to create ControlZ and focus on the renewed smartphone category?

Ans. The inspiration came from a two-fold realization. Yug, our founder identified a growing demand for high-quality smartphones in India, but also a growing concern about the manufacturing waste by the smartphone industry that no one talked about. He saw an opportunity to bridge this gap by creating a market for meticulously refurbished, “renewed” smartphones. We offer a sustainable alternative to buying new, reducing waste generated by smartphone manufacturing along with an effort to promote conscious consumption.

3. How does ControlZ’s approach to renewing smartphones contribute to environmental sustainability?

Ans. Our innovative smartphone renewal process significantly reduces their environmental impact. By extending the lifespan of existing devices, we minimize the need for new phone production. This drastically cuts down on waste and the substantial carbon footprint associated with smartphone manufacturing, which can be over 85% of a phone’s annual impact!  In essence, we promote a circular economy for smartphones, encouraging resource reuse and minimizing the tech industry’s environmental footprint..

4. Can you elaborate on the environmental benefits ControlZ has achieved, such as reducing e-waste and conserving resources?

Ans. As discussed above, increasing the lifecycle of a smartphone contributes largely to the reduction of waste produced. By extending the lifespan of existing devices, we’ve prevented millions of phones from ending up in landfills. This translates to real environmental benefits:

Reduced Water Usage: ControlZ has saved an estimated 70.18 billion litres of water. It takes a staggering 13 tonnes of water to produce a single new phone.

Land Conservation: We’ve conservatively prevented the use of 9,90,000 square meters of land typically needed for mining materials in new phone production.

Lower CO2 Emissions: Our efforts have helped avoid the release of an estimated 44,412.5 tonnes of CO2, a significant contributor to climate change.

5. How does the Renew Hub contribute to your sustainability goals, and what makes it an example of sustainable architecture in India?

Ans.  Our Renew Hub in Gurgaon isn’t just any smartphone renewal facility – it’s the world’s most sustainable one!  This visually stunning and eco-conscious workplace perfectly embodies our commitment to balancing technology with environmental responsibility.  Built using the principles of adaptive reuse, the Renew Hub extends an existing building, minimizing the need for new construction and further reducing our environmental footprint.

We’ve utilized bamboo as a primary building material and incorporated features like a solar power plant, rainwater harvesting systems, and even initiatives for biodiversity preservation. But sustainability isn’t our only focus.  The Renew Hub houses cutting-edge technology that allows us to achieve efficient renewal results in record time.  We boast ESD 2.1 protection, air showers, clean rooms, temperature control, and ISO9001:2015 – QMS certification, ensuring precision and the highest quality in everything we do.  The Renew Hub is a shining example of sustainable architecture in India, proving that innovation and eco-consciousness can go hand-in-hand.

6. What steps does ControlZ take to ensure renewed smartphones are ‘as good as new’?

Ans. At ControlZ, we take pride in our meticulous component-level renewal process. Each phone goes through a rigorous disassembly, diagnosis, and renewal to ensure it looks and functions just like new.  Our mission?  To extend the life cycle of smartphones and set a new standard in the industry.

While some competitors may offer basic refurbishment, our commitment to quality and sustainability sets us apart.  Here’s what makes our process unique:

Comprehensive Component-Level Repair: We focus on repairing individual components, retaining up to 80% of the original parts whenever possible. This minimizes waste and ensures your phone functions flawlessly.

Rigorous Quality Checks: After renewal, each device undergoes extensive testing to meet our high standards for appearance and functionality. You can be confident your “renewed” phone will perform just as well as a brand-new one.

Our commitment to quality and meticulous renewal process is what makes ControlZ the unrivalled leader in the smartphone renewal category.

7. What are some of the biggest challenges ControlZ faces in promoting renewed smartphones, and how do you address them? 

Ans. Educating consumers about the benefits of renewed smartphones is an ongoing journey for ControlZ. Here are some of the biggest challenges we face, and how we’re tackling them:

Bridging the Refurbished vs. Renewed Gap: Traditionally, “refurbished” phones carry a perception of lower quality. We emphasize a clear distinction – our approach goes beyond basic refurbishment. We focus on meticulous component-level renewal, ensuring each phone functions and looks “as good as new.”. 

Perception of Quality: Some people may associate “renewed” with lower quality. We address this by emphasizing our meticulous renewal process, component-level repairs, and rigorous quality checks. We also offer transparent warranties to build trust.

Brand New vs. Renewed: The allure of a brand-new phone is undeniable. We combat this by highlighting the cost savings and environmental benefits of choosing a “renewed” option. We showcase the exceptional quality of our renewed devices, demonstrating they can compete with brand-new phones in terms of performance and appearance.

8. How do you ensure the quality and reliability of your renewed smartphones compared to new devices?

Ans. At ControlZ, we go beyond just “refurbished.” We understand that quality and reliability are paramount, which is why our renewed smartphones are practically indistinguishable from brand-new devices. Here’s what sets us apart:

Meticulous Quality Control: Unlike companies that offer a wide range of models, we focus on a select few. This allows for in-depth quality control, ensuring each phone undergoes rigorous testing and standardization.

Rigorous Testing: Every device goes through a series of tests to guarantee a premium user experience. You can be confident your renewed phone will perform flawlessly.

Streamlined Expertise: Our unique know-how extends beyond the renewal process. We’ve streamlined everything, from managing our supply chain to optimizing inventory. This ensures consistent quality and exceptional service.

By prioritizing quality and a meticulous approach, ControlZ has become a leader in the pre-owned smartphone market. We offer unparalleled quality and service, providing you with a renewed phone you can trust.

9. How do you create aspirational value for pre-owned smartphones among consumers?

Ans. ControlZ lets you experience the power of premium smartphones without the premium price tag. We offer meticulously renewed devices at a fraction of the cost, making flagship features accessible to everyone. You get the phone you crave without breaking the bank, and our focus on a seamless customer experience ensures owning a ControlZ renewed device feels just as exciting as owning brand new.

10. What role do you see consumer awareness playing in the success of sustainable initiatives like ControlZ? 

Ans. At ControlZ, we believe informed consumers are key to the success of sustainable initiatives like ours. When you understand the environmental impact of buying new electronics, you’re empowered to make conscious choices.

Here’s how consumer awareness fuels our mission:

Demand Drives Change: As consumer awareness grows, the demand for eco-friendly products and practices like renewed smartphones increases. This motivates businesses like ControlZ to innovate and promote sustainable solutions.

Ripples of Impact: Educated consumers spread the word, influencing their peers and families. This creates a ripple effect, amplifying the positive impact of sustainable practices.

Building a Culture of Reuse: Greater consumer awareness translates to wider acceptance of renewed smartphones. Together, we can foster a culture of responsible consumption and reduce e-waste.

By working together, informed consumers and businesses like ControlZ can create a more sustainable future for the electronics industry.

11. How has the market responded to your products and the idea of renewed smartphones?

Ans. The market response to ControlZ and the concept of renewed smartphones has been very positive! We’re seeing a growing shift in consumer mindsets, with a greater appreciation for both affordability and sustainability. Here are some encouraging signs:

Increased Demand: We’re experiencing a steady rise in demand for our high-quality renewed smartphones. This shows that consumers are embracing the value proposition we offer.

Shifting Perceptions: The perception of “renewed” smartphones is evolving. We’re actively working to break down misconceptions about quality, and consumers are increasingly recognizing the advantages of renewed devices.

Industry Recognition: ControlZ is being recognized as a leader in the renewed smartphone market. This industry validation motivates us to keep innovating and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

Of course, there’s still room for growth, but the positive market response so far is a strong indicator that ControlZ is paving the way for a more sustainable future in the smartphone industry.

12. What message would you like to convey to consumers on World Environment Day regarding sustainable consumption and environmental responsibility? 

 Ans. Today, we celebrate World Environment Day, a reminder of the vital role each of us plays in protecting our planet. Sustainable consumption is key to a healthier Earth. By making mindful choices, such as opting for pre-owned and refurbished products, reducing waste, and supporting eco-friendly brands, we can collectively reduce our environmental footprint. Every small action counts, and together, we can create a more sustainable future for generations to come. Let’s commit to responsible consumption and embrace practices that nurture our environment every day.