3Q14 Venture Investment in Recycling & Waste Technology: Something Old, Something New

Two fundraising events in the Recycling & Waste sector piqued our interest last week. First, Finnish company Enevo raised an $8 million Series B round for its planned network of trash can sensors, which provide data on how full a garbage bin is and allow municipalities to optimize collection routes accordingly. Secondly, India-based Attero disclosed a $15 million Series C addition for its e-waste offering.

The latter was noteworthy because we’ve seen other start-ups similar to Attero gaining traction recently. Shanghai-based Aihuishou raised funding in July for its online e-recycling platform, while German company Teqcycle raised funding from Deutsche Telekom and Barkawi Group in February for mobile device trade-in and reuse solutions. In the U.S., e-waste kiosk maker ecoATM’s $350 million acquisition by Coinstar operator Outerwall in July 2013 was likely one catalyst for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ and Silver Lake’s $105 million fourth-quarter investment in eRecyclingCorps.

Whereas electronics recycling has clearly exhibited no shortage of venture-backed entrants and business models, last week’s bet on Enevo looks to be a rather new and unique case. We’re not aware of any other company deploying sensor technology for such an application (we welcome a correction if this is an oversight), and 2014 has thus far seen other such applications of niche high-tech solutions enter the sector – including investments in Pellenc (optical sensors for sorting) and AMCS Group (waste/recycling collection-route data).

If you’re interested in tracking innovation in the Recycling & Waste sector or any of the other 17 sectors Cleantech Group tracks, subscribe to i3 and get access to start-up profiles and investment trends. Additionally, our 2Q2014 Innovation Monitor report for the Recycling & Waste sector gives a dive deep into emerging trends and companies we’re following.