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38. Optoro

Selling excess inventory

Adam Vitarello (left) and Tobin Moore, co-founders of Optoro
Source: Optoro
Adam Vitarello (left) and Tobin Moore, co-founders of Optoro

Founders: Tobin Moore, Adam Vitarello
Date launched: 2008
Funding: $90 million
Industry disrupted: Retail liquidators

Retailers and manufacturers in the U.S. contend with a massive amount of returned and excess inventory. Optoro, a Washington, D.C.-based start-up, is aiming to do something about that. The company specializes in the field of reverse logistics.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2015 DISRUPTOR 50

In plain talk, that means it's developed a technology platform that can help companies find buyers for excess inventory rather than sending it to liquidators who likely wind up dumping it in overcrowded landfills. The inventory is sold directly to consumers through a variety of online sites such as eBay, Amazon and Optoro's own site, called BLINQ.com.

The company estimates that 15 percent of all goods on retailers' shelves are either returned or just sit there unsold, representing about $500 billion worth of inventory. Optoro won't identify which retailers it's working with but claims they are among the biggest in the country. Optoro's green angle has attracted $90 million in investor money, including funding from Al Gore's Generation Investment Management.

"The traditional returns processes create significant environmental waste and financial losses. ... Our solution provides our customers with higher recovery, streamlined processes, better data and increased transparency." -Tobin Moore, co-founder and CEO, Optoro

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