San Diego Business Journal

EcoATM Gets Accolades

Monday, October 22, 2012

EcoATM, the San Diego business that collects unwanted cell phones through automated kiosks that dispense the purchase price to customers, captured one of two small business of the year awards from the Consumer Electronics Association.

The firm that was founded in 2008 was recognized along with another small business, GrandCare Systems, in CEA’s inaugural Innovation Entrepreneur Awards, judged by a panel of media and industry professionals.

The panel also awarded small business executive of the year honors to Sandy Gross, co-founder of Polk Audio.

“Each of the winners epitomizes the entrepreneurial drive and spirit of innovation that powers our industry and the American economy,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO.

Founded in 2008 by Mark Bowles, ecoATM has about 150 kiosks operating in the nation, mainly at larger shopping malls. The kiosks accept unwanted or damaged cell phones and other electronic devices, automatically assess the value of the device, and pay the customer on the spot.

The release of the Apple iPhone 5 has resulted in an uptick in ecoATM’s business as many consumers cash in their old phone to get the upgraded model.

The company says the average refund rate on an iPhone 4 or 4S is $175.