Vendidit, a software platform for the secondary market for retail returns, launched in early February.

Vendidit spun out of Renew Logic, which Gary Stephens co-founded and serves as CEO. John Paul DeJoria, the billionaire entrepreneur behind Patron Tequila and Paul Mitchell, is his business partner in both companies.

Stephens’s previous career included working on the Windows 95 launch team, being head of Windows NT updates under Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, and building a third electronics recycling company to $400 million from scratch. His positive contributions to ethical business practices and industry improvements led to testifying before Congress in 2018 about innovative, diverse employment policies. Beyond tech, Gary’s diverse passions include race car driving, piloting, and philanthropy – particularly helping dog rescues.  

Here are the key takeaways from the podcast interview:

  1. Renew Logic’s Focus: Renew Logic specializes in the secondary market, particularly in dealing with end-of-life cycle products and overstocked items from various industries, such as electronics, home improvement, and consumer goods.
  2. Partnerships and Environmental Focus: The company has partnerships with other businesses, including former competitors, to ensure that electronic devices and other products don’t end up in a landfill. They are passionate about protecting the environment and are growing their business in this segment.
  3. Impact of the Global Pandemic on Returns: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the volume of merchandise returns, with nearly a third of all purchased items being returned. This surge in returns has highlighted the inefficiencies in the market for connecting buyers and sellers in the aftermarket.
  4. Challenges in the Reverse Logistics Industry: The reverse logistics industry has historically been inefficient, with little attention paid to efficiently managing returned merchandise. Vendidit aims to address this gap with its software solutions and marketplace platform.
  5. Positive Reception and Growth: Vendidit’s software solution has received a positive reception, with many stakeholders surprised by its efficiency and ease of use. The company has experienced rapid growth since its launch.
  6. Austin as a Startup Hub: Austin, Texas, is an ideal location for startups due to its supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, diverse talent pool, and community of like-minded individuals concerned about the environment. Gary emphasizes the importance of building relationships and plugging into the local community.
  7. Philanthropic Endeavors: Gary is passionate about philanthropy, particularly animal rescue and welfare. He uses his piloting skills and resources to transport rescued animals to their forever homes, advocating for responsible pet ownership and spaying/neutering.
  8. Entrepreneurial Advice: Gary advises aspiring entrepreneurs to be resilient, surround themselves with supportive peers, and plug into local resources and networks. He emphasizes the importance of tenacity and leadership in achieving entrepreneurial success.
  9. Recommended Book: Gary recommends “Make It So,” a leadership companion book based on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The book contains valuable leadership lessons that translate into practical insights for business leadership.

The podcast is embedded below; you can also listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.