Making the world a better place?


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elcome to the TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.

With Disrupt only a couple of weeks away, I am getting my ears ready to hear startups promise that they are making the world a better place. As cliché as it is, it could well be true, and it’s at least worth trying. — Anna

Happy returns

Have you heard of reverse logistics? If you haven’t, you are surely familiar with the concept behind it: e-commerce returns.

Mexico-based entrepreneur Agustin Shutte told my colleague Christine Hall that in Latin America, the reverse logistics process “is a mess” — and it’s a mess his company Devolut is hoping to fix, with $600,000 in pre-seed funding.

But on a global level, Devolut is not the only startup in this space. There’s YC Combinator alum Rever and Philadelphia-based ReturnLogic. But Shutte told Christine that U.S. company Happy Returns, which PayPal acquired in 2021, is the one he’s most hoping to emulate, with a network of “city points.”

More than the physical footprint, though, what caught my attention is how many of these return-focused startups say they are using AI in some form. For example, Devolut is working on leveraging AI to make new product recommendations as part of the return and exchange process.

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