With an origin story that parallels the beginnings of the very computers they destroy every day, Urban E Recycling has gone from a small, garage-based start-up to a growing business that shows no signs of slowing down. Urban E Recycling specializes in data destruction and electronic recycling that includes computers, cell phones, laptops, telecom systems and other office electronics. They ensure that all electronics are recycled, “safely, ethically and responsibly.”
In August 2012, Greg Rabinowitz and his partner, Dell Funk, started the company with $1,000 and a vow to stay debt free. With the rapid growth of the company, it is a vow that they have managed to keep. Rabinowitz said that just two weeks after they opened up shop, they realized the garage was not going to be big enough and they would need a lot more space to keep up. While scouring Craigslist, he found a company that was renting out a portion of their warehouse with access to a loading dock and a forklift. Rabinowitz jumped at the opportunity and secured 500 sq. ft. and from there, Urban E Recycling hit the ground running.
Nine months later, the company expanded to 1,200 sq. ft. of warehouse space, but the company kept growing, and now they are up to 5,000 sq. ft. With the rapid rate of growth, Rabinowitz realized it was time to purchase his own forklift and start hiring employees. They turned to the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County for help after Funk met Carol Johns, a certified business consultant for the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County that specializes in business strategies, at a networking event. Rabinowitz and Funk turned to Johns for human resource help. They needed help developing job descriptions and building an employee handbook. At the time, they had four employees. Johns also assisted them in developing a business plan.
When the company first started it was just the two of them, Rabinowitz full-time handling the manual work day-to-day and Funk part-time handling the marketing and creating a web presence. Now Funk is full-time and the company has 10 full-time and one part-time employee.
They are currently handling 1.5 million pounds of electronic waste a year, and they would like that number to increase to 3 to 5 million pounds within the next two years. Rabinowitz said:
"That would put us in a 20-to-25,000 sq. ft. facility and employ 15 to 25 people."
The most beneficial thing that Funk said the company has received from the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County is the knowledge that help and resources are just a phone call away.