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London Tech Week

Greyparrot nabs $11M to improve recycling rates via AI & analytics

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Image credits: Greyparrot

The London-based startup employing AI & computer vision to monitor, analyse and sort tonnes of waste at scale, has just ended its Series A collecting $11M in funding. This capital infusion will enable Greyparrot to further its global footprint, expanding to new waste types consequently including some of the world’s heaviest polluting industries such as construction and demolition. The team expects to also double down on its R&D.

Recognised as a technology pioneer by the World Economic Forum 2021, a PWC “NetZero Future 50” 2022 awardee, a member of “Europe’s 100 Hottest Startups” by WIRED in 2021 and among the Top 100 most promising AI companies worldwide by CB Insights, the firm’s vision is to eventually create a world where every bit of waste is valued as a resource. This investment round was led by Una Terra and saw participation from investors including Closed Loop Partners, Unreasonable Collective and Speedinvest.

Employing AI to better unlock the financial value of waste

Waste is the fourth largest contributor to climate change, with 2.1B tonnes produced each year. There however exists limited data on this enormous amount, which means there lacks systematic transparency on its composition as well as accountability on how waste is managed. This explains the dire recycling rates which have stagnated at 10% at best. Despite efforts by consumers to recycle, poor packaging design and ineffective sorting have meant that most of what goes into recycling bins still ends up in landfills. Increasing regulation fuelled by consumer concerns about pollution is mounting pressure on the $1.6Tn waste management industry to clean up the planet.

Greyparrot utilises cutting edge AI computer vision systems, deployed in sorting facilities around the world to monitor, analyse and sort large waste flows at scale. Its system provides waste analytics and data-derived insights to waste managers, producers and regulators in an effort to increase recycling rates and introduce accountability to the waste value chain.

Ever since its founding in 2019 by the team comprising the experienced commercial leader Mikela Druckman, serial entrepreneur Ambarish Mitra and AI experts Nikola Sivacki and Marco Paladini, the Greyparrot AI-powered computer vision system has analysed over 10B packaging items in sorting plants to date. Its clients cover 60% of the waste management market and include industry leaders such as Suez, Biffa and Veolia.

The company has gathered an unprecedented amount of data on product packaging, policies and packaging designs, enabling the execution of data-informed decisions by stakeholders along the entire waste value chain. Furthermore, suppliers of recycling hardware have integrated the Greyparrot AI model into their sorting equipment and robots. This use has shown that Greyparrot will enable the industry to elevate the performance of its sorting infrastructure with AI intelligence.

Closed Loop Partners Founder & CEO Ron Gonen explained, “Greyparrot’s AI-powered system has the potential to track billions of packages and materials in the recycling value chain which will lead to a number of major efficiencies. Their technology can integrate easily with existing recycling infrastructure, improving efficiency and material capture rates. Closed Loop Partners looks forward to working with their team as they grow their reach and impact around the world.”

The startup remains on track to double its team and deploy hundreds of Greyparrot systems worldwide, thus diverting 30,000 tonnes of waste from landfills. “Providing access to granular waste data can also have a big impact at a macro level, helping to shape government policies around recycling and influencing the decisions producers make about their packaging,” added Mikela Druckman, Greyparrot’s co-founder and CEO.

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