Global environmental services giant Suez has acquired a stake in smart waste and recycling startup Rubicon Global — a partnership that will “revolutionize the waste industry,” according to the two companies — and will use Rubicon’s technology in its fleet of vehicles.
Paris-based Suez, a $15 billion multinational, led Rubicon’s current funding round, which raised more than $50 million. The companies did not disclose Suez’s investment amount.
The deal allows Suez to reenter the US market by working with Rubicon, which will share its best tech practices and data, according to a Rubicon spokesperson. Suez already owns Waste Management’s former assets overseas.
The partnership will also speed up the deployment of Rubicon’s cloud-based hauler management platform, customer portal and mobile apps in Europe and grow Rubicon’s stature in the $60 billion industry in the US, dominated by giants Waste Management (revenue: $13 billion) and Republic Services ($9 billion), according to Forbes. The investment brings Rubicon’s valuation to $800 million.
Rubicon, the Uber of trash, connects companies and municipalities with commercial waste haulers that bid for their business. Once its haulers get the trash, Rubicon then works with its vendor network to recycle, repurpose or convert to energy the materials it has collected. It also shares the revenue from recyclables with the organizations generating the waste.
Rubicon says this cloud-based business model drives down waste management costs and creates new revenue streams for its customers.
Last month Rubicon landed its first municipal customer, Atlanta, which will this month deploy smartphones loaded with the Rubicon hauler mobile app into the Atlanta Department of Public Works’ entire fleet of residential solid waste, recycling and yard waste trucks.
The Suez partnership will focus on improving service for municipalities through smart city innovation, helping city governments improve residential waste and recycling services through data collection and analysis, as well as fleet optimization and efficiency.
Suez says it aims to accelerate the digital transformation of its Recycling & Recovery Division in Europe, by improving its customer portal and creating digital platforms dedicated to scattered waste volumes. The goal is to optimize the collection of small quantities of waste produced by many customers that are geographically dispersed.
Jean-Marc Boursier, Suez’s group senior executive VP in charge of Recycling & Recovery in Europe is now a Rubicon board member.
“This is a new day for the global waste and recycling industry and an extraordinary opportunity to change the world,” said Nate Morris, founder, chairman and CEO of Rubicon Global in a statement. “Waste is an issue that affects every single person living on the planet. Through technology and innovation, we can make it less expensive and more responsible, and this partnership with Suez will help us do just that.”
Last year Rubicon partnered with data company Trucost to help its customers also measure their monthly greenhouse gas emissions — and GHG savings — from recycling, composting or anaerobic digestion.