Internet based swap and giveaway service about to launch in the UK

The Finnish Netcycler Ltd. will launch its UK service at in May 2011. This free online swap and giveaway web service has now been operating in a closed access-by-invitation-only mode in the UK for a few months. Those interested can still sign up for an invitation to access the site before its official launch. The readers of Green Pepper will even receive their invitations during the same day, by writing the name of the blog in the extra information field on the signup page. The service currently operates in Finland and Germany and has gained a great amount of positive user feedback and media interest. At the moment, Netcycler has more than 26 000 registered users and the number is exponentially on the rise.

Netcycler’s concept is that you can swap your old, unwanted items for things you actually want and need; get free stuff and give away stuff for free. The service uses a unique tradering technology that cleverly matches offers and wishes and this way increases the odds for good trades to happen. Using Netcycler is free of charge – the company’s revenue comes from additional services such as the integrated postal service.

Netcycler aims at encouraging people to reuse products in order to reduce the environmental burden of consumption. Acquiring secondhand items instead of buying new ones has several environmental benefits: it decreases the need for new raw materials, reduces green house gas emissions caused by production and transport, and decreases the amount of waste that goes to landfills. Netcycler supports the use of existing products until the end of their life cycles. When you no longer need something, the service will find someone who does. It offers an alternative for consumption centered lifestyle, an easy way to minimize shopping while still getting everything you need.

In addition to the environmental benefits, using the service saves money. People swap one item for another without any monetary traffic. Users define the value of their offers by making wishes. Each swap is different, and the items being swapped do not have to be within any fixed product category: a trade ring swap might include an MP3 player, children’s clothing, and a bookshelf. Other real-life examples of swaps on Netcycler are for example a coffee maker for an optical mouse, a wok pan for a children’s purse and red wine glasses for a mobile phone. “I acquire most of my family’s household items using Netcycler,” reveals CEO and co-founder Juha Koponen. “The idea came from my own experiences,” he continues. “I realized how much unneeded stuff people have lying in their homes that could be put to use by someone else, and how trading those items was not easy enough.”

In autumn 2010 Netcycler received a capital investment of €725 000 (approx. £615 000). The investment was made by the current private investors together with Cleantech Future Fund and Start Fund Vera. In addition, Netcycler has been selected for the Young Innovative Companies program of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. With the new funding, Netcycler will expand its environmentally-oriented internet service to additional European countries. “This will enable us to further develop the service and enter new countries,” says Koponen. “We want to take reusing products further by making it as easy as buying new.”

“The value of the world trade for new products is over 5 trillion euros. Netcycler wants a share of that,” co-founder Jussi Koskinen continues.

“Netcycler provides an easy solution to everyday life that makes good use of technology and saves both the environment and money,” comments Timo Linnainmaa from Cleantech Invest Oy, which manages the Cleantech Future Fund. “We see great growth potential in Netcycler. With this capital investment we can boost Netcycler’s growth and expand to new markets,” says Keith Bonnici, manager of Start Fund Vera.