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Thought Machine, Skiller Whale investor backs Recycleye’s vision for AI-driven waste collection with $17M

Image credits: Recycleye

Recycleye, a London-based AI-driven waste robotics company, has secured $17M in a Series A financing round led by deep-tech venture capital firm DCVC (also backed Smartex).

Existing investors, including Promus Ventures, Playfair Capital (Skiller Whale, CryptoFacilities, Omnipresent, Thought Machine, Cauldron, Qureight) MMC Ventures, Creator Fund, and Atypical, were joined by new Madrid-based investors Seaya Andromeda. 

Series A follows $5M previously raised in 2021 and $2.6M secured to date in European and UK government innovation funding.

The latest fund will enable Recycleye to scale its technology to revolutionise global waste management.

“The opportunity for applying AI waste sorting technology to the global waste management sector is staggering, even when only 8% of waste is currently recycled,” added Victor Dewulf, CEO and co-founder. “With this investment, we can scale our operations to target a market which we estimate to have a SAM of $114bn globally today, but with the potential to increase by 14 times to $1.6Tr when the cost of sorting is reduced”.

Disrupting global waste management

Founded by Victor Dewulf (CEO) and Peter Hedley (CTO), Recycleye brings advanced machine learning, computer vision, and robotics to the global waste management industry.

The UK company uses AI-powered waste-picking robots — Recycleye Robotics, where objects are scanned and identified at an unrivaled 60 frames per second.

This is twice as fast as the industry standard, claims the company. In addition, each item is seen on average 30 times as it passes along the conveyor belt, with double the chance of being accurately identified before picking.

Recycleye says it was developed for use with the waste generated by households and businesses and can operate 24/7, 365 days a year, currently picking up to 33,000 items per robot over a 10-hour shift while capturing compositional data to enable strategic decisions by plant managers. 

“We believe that waste does not exist, only materials in the wrong place,” says Hedley. “Our mission is to provide intelligent sorting technology that delivers dramatic financial and environmental returns to global waste management. This new investment will help us to fine-tune our world-leading solutions further, underpinned by the solid maintenance network our clients need to generate more output value”.

Consequently, the company claims this solution is turning the world’s waste into resources and delivering data essential for dynamic decision-making in a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). 

Recycleye claims its engineers can retrofit the company’s technology into existing sorting facilities over a weekend to minimise plant downtime. 

Installed at the end of the sorting process, Recycleye robot models can pick contaminants and valuable objects, depending on client requirements. 

Rory Brien, General Manager of FCC for re3 in Reading, England, says, “At FCC, we believe in being forward-thinking, so investing in the latest waste sorting technology was an obvious choice. Recycleye Robotics delivers the consistent purity in sorted material and reliable data that we need to run an effective facility”.

Kelly Chen, a Partner at DCVC, said, “Recycleye is a quintessential DCVC investment, using deep tech to fundamentally shift the economics and scale of the trillion-dollar problem of material recovery and recycling.”

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