AMP Robotics, a Denver, Colorado-based startup that creates robotic systems that can automatically sort recyclables, today announced it has expanded its Series C round to $99 million, thanks to an investment from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund. That’s more than $91 million when the round closed in November.
The expanded Series C, which included investors including Congruent Ventures and Wellington Management (who co-led), Blue Earth Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Tao Capital Partners, XN, Sequoia Capital, GV, Range Ventures and Valor Equity Partners, brings AMPs total increased to approximately $178 million.
“The capital will help us scale our business, including deploying technology solutions to retrofit existing recycling infrastructure and expand new infrastructure based on our application of AI-powered automation,” Founder and CEO Matanya Horowitz told e-mail. email to MinRegion.
Horowitz founded AMP in 2014 after completing his Ph.D. from Caltech. While doing his PhD, he said he saw how powerful computer vision was becoming and began exploring several areas where the technology could be most useful, including recycling.
“After visiting a recycling facility and seeing not only how demanding the conditions were, but also how challenging a work environment can be, I realized that this industry offers an attractive opportunity for robotics,” said Horowitz. “The convergence of machine learning and robotics presented exciting opportunities to automate tasks that have historically been labor intensive, expensive, inconsistent and limiting.”
It’s also lucrative. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the recycling industry contributes nearly $117 billion to the U.S. economy and processes 130 million tons of valuable raw materials annually.
Horowitz claims that landfill plastics represent significant losses to the U.S. economy — an average of about $7.2 billion in 2019, according to the Department of Energy (DoE). Of the estimated 44 million tons of plastic waste managed domestically in 2019, about 86% was landfilled, 9% incinerated and 5% recycled, according to the DoE.
Reclaiming plastic packaging in the US and plastic for the food supply alone could generate profits of $2 billion to $4 billion a year, Horowitz estimates.
AMP’s main customers are recycling facilities, which use the startup’s flagship product, a robotic sorting system called AMP Cortex, to sort, collect and reclaim plastic, cardboard, paper, cans, boxes and other containers and packaging types. AMP claims that Cortex can perform 80 to 120 picks per minute while remaining accurate as to what it sorts where.
Recently, AMP, which employs a team of about 200 people, unveiled a more compact solution called AMP Cortex-C alongside an integrated, self-contained range of facilities for waste management companies. Horowitz says the company’s robot fleet of about 275 is now deployed in more than 100 centers, including several owned by Waste Connections, its largest customer, and AMP’s AI platform has managed more than 75 billion objects to date. has identified.
“Our broad product suite directly addresses the core challenges of operating recycling facilities, and we have some other amazing technology coming soon,” added Horowitz. “We have a number of bigger opportunities ahead of us, from opportunities in Europe and around the world to large, fleet-wide deployments of robots and deployment of fully automated sorting facilities. The capital will help us build the technologies and team to support these opportunities.”
In this regard, AMP plans to expand its secondary sorting business in the US at its three manufacturing facilities in the Denver, Atlanta and Cleveland metro areas. In addition to providing robotics infrastructure and software to customers, AMP resells recyclable raw materials such as custom chemical and polymer blends to end-market buyers.