Robots can change the economics for recycling, making the recovery of materials more economically viable. EverestLabs, developer of RecycleOS, this week said it has raised $16.1 million in a Series A funding round.
The Fremont, Calif.-based company said it will use the funding to invest in scaling and go-to-market capabilities, including further commercialization of its RecycleOS operating system, robotics, and unique end-of-arm tools.
Recent socioeconomic issues are further driving investments in robotics and artificial intelligence to improve material recovery within manufacturing recycling facilities (MRF), said EverestLabs.
That includes international policies such as China’s National Sword policy, which mandates minimal contamination in recyclables. Other drivers include ever-changing national and state policies, high turnover in sorting jobs amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and brand and packaging company commitments to minimum recycled content goals in new packaging by 2025.
The company said its value proposition has been validated by public and private companies, as well as municipalities across the U.S. For example, EverestLabs cited Sims Municipal Recycling Sunset Park in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“EverestLabs’ mission to improve performance in our industry is welcome, and we are excited to see what the company will achieve,” said Tom Outerbridge, president of Sims Municipal Recycling. “Since installing four EverestLabs robotic cells in our commingled recycling facility — the largest in North America — in spring 2022, we’ve seen cost savings and improved materials recovery within a short period. We look forward to continuing work with EverestLabs to expand our investments in the coming months.”
RecycleOS built from the ground up
EverestLabs said it built RecycleOS from the ground up to target recovery and decarbonization challenges. RecycleOS is the only full-stack automation for recycling plants, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, and packaging manufacturers that increases the recovery of recyclables by two to four more than manual processes and at a cost three to four times cheaper than traditional systems, it claimed.
RecycleOS provides daily actionable data, enabling MRFs to confidently make strategic decisions about operations.
“Further, RecycleOS makes the tracking of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and extended producer responsibility (EPR) an asset for every company in our ecosystem,” said the company.
“EverestLabs is thankful to our customers, investors, and employees for believing in our mission and sharing our vision to achieve the decarbonization of packaging by empowering MRF operators, the unsung heroes of recycling,” said JD Ambati, founder and CEO of EverestLabs. “This funding will enable us to continue investing in our technology and our employees to support global customers.”
“It is exciting to see EverestLabs graduate from the BGV seed program and bring state-of-the-art AI software to improve the efficiency of the materials recycling industry,” said Ron Sege, partner at Benhamou Global Ventures. “The team at the company has already made an impact on the circular economy by demonstrating that significantly more reusable material can be recovered at lower cost and with increased safety.”
EverestLab investors support circular economy
The funding was led by Translink Capital and joined by NEC Orchestrating Future Fund and existing investors Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Sierra Ventures, Morado Ventures, and Xplorer Capital.
As part of this funding round, Kaz Kikuchi of Translink Capital will join EverestLabs’ board.
“The materials recovery facility industry represents a major market with a $9 billion opportunity in the U.S. alone, yet MRFs are losing billions in missed revenue from recyclables that end up in landfills or that could have been sold in bales to manufacturers,” said Kaz Kikuchi, principal of Translink Capital.
“EverestLabs’ AI-enabled RecycleOS solution has proven that it is uniquely positioned to solve this challenge, significantly improving MRFs’ operational efficiency and cost savings, and alleviating labor shortage issues — all of which are critical as the recycling industry continues to evolve and play a key role in the future of global sustainability and the circular economy,” Kikuchi said. “We are thrilled to support EverestLabs’ mission and vision to transform the recycling industry through innovative technologies.”