AMP Robotics raises 91 million in Series C financing to support waste infrastructure modernization
AMP Robotics Corp. has raised $91 million in corporate equity in a Series C financing, led by Congruent Ventures and Wellington Management as well as new and existing investors including Blue Earth Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), Tao Capital Partners, XN, Sequoia Capital, GV, Range Ventures, and Valor Equity Partners. This new round of funding follows a $55 million Series B financing led by XN in January 2021.
"Advancements in robotics and automation are accelerating the transformation of traditional infrastructure, and AMP is seeking to reshape the waste and recycling industries," says Michael DeLucia, sector lead for climate investing at Wellington Management. "By bringing digital intelligence to the recycling industry, AMP can sort waste streams and extract additional value beyond what is otherwise possible."
AMP will use the latest funding to scale its business operations while continuing its international expansion. Demand for robotics to retrofit existing recycling infrastructure continues to thrive; among demand for recycled commodities of all types, the industry needs the capacity to meet the 2025 goals of companies' consumer packaged goods post-consumer recycled (PCR) content commitments. The new capital will enhance manufacturing capacity to support a fleet of approximately 275 robots around the world and further AMP's ongoing development of AI-enabled automation applications for recycling. AMP also has three production facilities in the Denver, Atlanta, and Cleveland metropolitan areas. The funding will help drive further growth of the company's secondary sortation business in the United States.
"Our focus from the outset has been our application of AI-powered automation to economically and sustainably improve our global recycling system," says Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics. "We've been fortunate to attract a passionate team, loyal customers, and visionary investors along the way. With this new funding, we'll accelerate our efforts to modernize and expand our recycling infrastructure, aiding society's path to a circular economy."
The recycling industry contributes nearly $117 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and the industry processes 130 million metric tons of valuable commodities annually. The global waste and recycling services market is expected to grow considerably in the coming years amid heightened consumer concern about the environmental impacts of waste.
Of the estimated 44 million metric tons of plastic waste managed domestically in 2019, approximately 86 percent was landfilled, nine percent was combusted, and five percent was recycled, according to a recent Department of Energy report on plastics. Landfilled plastics represented significant losses to the country's economy in 2019: an average of $7.2 billion USD in market value. The recovery of U.S. plastic packaging and food-service plastic alone could represent a pool of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $2 billion to $4 billion per year.
"AMP's technology is rewriting the economics of recycling, marrying purpose with profit for our recycling partners," says Abe Yokell, co-founder and managing partner of Congruent Ventures. "It is a privilege to be able to support such a mission-driven team as they have grown from an eight-person operation to an industry leader."
"We look forward to supporting the AMP team in scaling cost-effective waste management solutions for the circular economy using technology, efficiency, and automation," adds Kayode Akinola, head of private equity at Blue Earth Capital. "AMP is helping to promote emissions reductions and resource efficiency whilst meeting a growing demand for recycled materials."
AMP's technology applies computer vision and deep learning to identify and recover plastics, cardboard, paper, cans, cartons, and many other containers and packaging types reclaimed for raw material processing. The company's AI platform, AMP Neuron, has recognized more than 50 billion objects in real-world conditions.
Data is seen as key to improving recycling and recovery rates for a circular economy. As part of the National Recycling Strategy released last year, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited measurement standardization and increased data collection as one of its five objectives. AMP continues to break new ground in the application of data for recycling with its material characterization software, which digitizes the real-time flow of recyclables with precision and consistency. Better data provides opportunities to identify gaps in material capture, transparency on what recyclables are and are not recycled, and a basis for standardized measurement vital to improving the national recycling system.
AMP's AI also makes secondary sorting technically and economically feasible. Through its secondary sortation model, AMP recovers mixed paper, metals, and a portfolio of #1 to #7 plastics in a variety of form factors and attributes with high precision and purity, with a special focus on plastic blends uniquely enabled by AI. The company resells these commodities, including bespoke chemical and polymer blends needed by processors and manufacturers, to end-market buyers.