The 25-year-old students, Henrik Nilsson and Rickard Hannerell are sitting on the patio at the home of Henrik's parents in Skåne, deleting hard drives in the late summer of 1995. They are excited, and a little tense. They will shortly be signing a contract for a shop lease in Lund and start selling used computers to students and others looking for a computer at a good price. If all goes well, if their business concept works, there may be more shops. They are highly motivated and want to build up their own business. But if anyone had said that their small company 15 years later would turn over several hundred million Swedish kronor, be the market leader in the handling of used IT equipment, and operate throughout Europe, they would probably have smiled. But only briefly, and they would then move on to think about how their business concept could be developed.
The phones start ringing
The company is originally called Combac Data and later Megabyt data before assuming the name Inrego. The shop in Lund and the unconventional second-hand business quickly become a success, it seems there is a desperate need for computers among the students of Lund. During the daytime the two entrepreneurs work in the shop and call companies in search of used computers. In the evenings and at night the computers are made ready for a second life.
Business is booming and a new shop opens in Uppsala in 1998. The state now launches the home PC scheme with tax subsidies for newly purchased computers. This proves to be a mortal blow to the second-hand market. Takings drop and Henrik and Rickard are forced to look for new avenues. They discover that driving schools are looking to computerise the theoretical knowledge part of the driving test and develop a package deal to suit – the phones are soon ringing off the hook again.
Nothing is sacred
The two businessmen learn a hard business lesson: the market will always change and they must too if they are to survive and make a difference for their customers. The philosophy is written in stone at Inrego or as one employee puts it: "a major part of working here is to question old truths and to come up with improvements. Nothing is sacred." The transition to cater for the corporate market requires a different and more structured approach, but the change of course proves successful. The traffic schools are followed by regular schools, and later, municipalities and companies. Sales begin in Denmark and Finland. The company is now headquartered in Stockholm where all handling and logistics are managed.
A circular economy
The demand for second-hand IT products is always greater than the supply, and therefore Inrego begins buying equipment from other countries. Over time they build a large network of hundreds of suppliers and retailers in Europe and the US. This makes it easier to both buy and sell products – at the right price.
In parallel, services are developed to help organisations to reuse their old IT equipment in a safe, sustainable and cost effective manner. Soon Inrego implements global projects where IT products are collected from 30 different countries and transported to the company's facility for data deletion, reconditioning and reuse.
Inrego has played an important role in building up the market for the sustainable reuse of used IT equipment and today it is Sweden's largest retailer of reused IT products. Hundreds of thousands of computers now pass through the company every year and business continues to grow rapidly. With an increased focus on sustainability issues in the community, more people are realising that reuse is an important component in the creation of a circular economy and smarter IT consumption