WHERE DO DISCARDED computers go? Most wind up on the scrap heap. A lucky few get a fresh lease of life at the 3,000 sq. ft. facility of ReNewIT in Bengaluru.

Six years ago, Mukund B.S. and his cousin Raghav Boggaram decided to refurbish computers and sell them cheap. “Less than 10% of Indian households own a computer. We wanted to change that,” says Boggaram. The restored machines are sold for as little as Rs 5,000.

ReNewIT buys old desktops and laptops from corporates, quoting a price based on the machine’s value, not just its weight. The company wipes out the data using a defence-certified software before getting into the actual refurbishment.

The big break came two years ago, when Microsoft made ReNewIT its first authorised refurbisher in India, subsidising licensed copies of its operating system and software installed in the computers. ReNewIT planned to target non-profits, but discovered that startups wanted cheap computers even more. Today, about 25% of ReNewIT’s business comes from bootstrapped startups.

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