Sophomore finds success in green business

January 17, 2012 — by Minu Palaniappan

Sophomore Jason Li

When sophomore Jason Li acquired his 4th generation iPod Touch from an Apple Store in November of 2010, he no longer had use for his previous one. Li tried to auction his old iPod Touch on eBay to salvage value in his old device, but no one showed interest. Li soon gave it to his sister, who was eager to get her hands on her first Apple product.

Li was disappointed that Ebay wasn’t attracting any attention to an iPod Touch. And so began the idea for iReTron.

The difference between iRetron and Ebay is simple. iRetron targes high-tech products trade while Ebay hosts trades that include household appliances to clothes and to many more products.

iReTron is the “easiest, safest, and greenest way for people to earn cash for their old electronics,” Li said.

When people sell products such as mp3 players and cell phones to iReTron, iReTron refurbishes them and re-sells them to individuals who can’t afford brand-new electronics.

Li, along with a Winston Shen, a graduate from Los Gatos High, has built a website in which transactions and trades are made. Products are sent to Li. He in turn examines the product, judges its value and condition and sets a market price.

Li’s business is already making a profit. During the trade process, a device is sold to iReTron, and iReTron soon sells the device for a slightly higher price, but the product is still sold at half its retail cost.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Li said. “By reusing electronics, we’re taking advantage of their complete potential. We may not be able to stop [consumption], but we can extend our electronics’ lifespan.”

With a little bit of business advice from economics teacher Todd Dywer, Li had a business in the making.

iReTron launched mid-summer and has completed more than 300 transactions.

“It’s better than Craigslist and easier than eBay. IRetron requires nothing more than an email and even kids can use it,” Li said.

iReTron also has a growing database that contains more than 5,000 different electronic models.

In recent months, iReTron has seen great success in the Bay Area. It has attracted attention from news stations such as ABC 7 and has been featured in newspapers and radio stations. Li has also spoken at many conventions on behalf of iRetron.

Li says that Shen works on the technical aspect of the company while he works on design, company management and marketing.

Li’s new business still has along way to go, but as more customers join, Li will be able to sell electronics to those who want good prices while helping the environment as a whole.

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