Recycleye, the London-based technology company using advanced artificial intelligence and robotics to turn the world’s waste into resources, has raised a £3.5 million seed round.
The company’s seed round takes its total funding to-date to £4.7 million since it was founded in 2019 by CEO Victor Dewulf and CTO Peter Hedley.
Already relied upon by resource management firm Biffa and ReGen, and three of the five largest waste management companies in Europe, Recycleye will use the funding to scale and enhance the accuracy, scope, and capabilities of its world-leading machine learning and robotics technology.
In addition, it will continue to bolster its team, expand into new European markets, and further consolidate within existing territories (including the UK, France, and Italy), and expand its product line beyond vision systems.
The recent IPCC (UN) report on climate change, ahead of COP26 in November, has further highlighted that increasing recycling is one of the world’s ‘most pressing global challenges’, with 2 billion tonnes of waste produced annually, according to World Bank.
Using advanced machine learning to train the ‘world’s most powerful recycling robots’, Recycleye prevents valuable recyclates from being lost as a result of ‘inefficient and ineffective’ manual labour.
The company says it empowers recycling facilities to increase the purity and subsequent value of their output, increasing the resale value of bales fivefold. By lowering operational expenditure, Recycleye can save facilities up to £2 million each year, it claims.
By lowering the cost of recycling with artificial intelligence and robotics, we’re breaking this threshold and building a world where our removal chains are fully integrated back into our supply chains
The company counts Microsoft, NVIDIA, Imperial College London, and FANUC as key technological and strategic partners.
“Waste is not recycled when the cost of recycling exceeds the value of the sorted material. By lowering the cost of recycling with artificial intelligence and robotics, we’re breaking this threshold and building a world where our removal chains are fully integrated back into our supply chains”, comments CEO Victor Dewulf, who left investment banking at Goldman Sachs to study for a PhD in Machine Vision so he could gain the skills to tackle the recycling problem, and tested the company’s AI by throwing waste items on a treadmill.
“It’s startling to see just how inefficient and reliant on archaic, manual processes the waste management industry is. To ensure our team understands the pain of human picking, and the need to replace it with technology, we take them on retreats to trash dumps across Europe. We are delighted to be backed by Promus Ventures, a VC firm with a track record of backing and scaling deep tech companies with world-changing ideas like ours.”
At Biffa’s Aldridge facility, Recycleye Vision has been installed to automate the quality assessment process, classifying individual items on their PP, PET and HDPE lines.
Mick Davis, Chief Operating Officer for the Recourses and Energy Division at Biffa, comments: “It is great to have the opportunity to partner with Recycleye at our Aldridge facility. The technology gives us a much better picture of the waste we are collecting as well as optimising the processes at the plant.
“From spotting hazardous material which could damage machines to identifying metrics which can improve working patterns, the AI technology can help transform the way that our waste is screened and sorted.
“This is not only a positive step forward for Biffa, our employees and customers, but better for the environment and the Government’s increased recycling rate target.”