‘Uber of waste’ valued at $1 billion after new investment
Tech company Rubicon Global, a start-up dubbed the ‘Uber of waste’ has been valued at $1 billion (£740 million) following a $50-million (£36.9 million) investment from Mexican private equity firm Promecap.
Following a difficult year for the company, the latest investment from Promecap is positive news for the Atlanta-based company, with CEO and founder Nate Morris saying to Forbes: “It’s been a challenging year, but we’ve had incredible highs. Having a foreign entrant investing is another very strong signal that will continue to put pressure on the market.”
Rubicon was established in Kentucky in 2008 and has experienced a heady rise since then, last year winning its first municipal contract in Atlanta and teaming up with French firm SUEZ to advance the digitalisation of its services in Europe, after building a network of 5,000 collection businesses, with input from informal taxi service Uber’s founding Chief Technical Officer Oscar Salazar.
Rubicon uses its software to connect waste collectors to waste producers, enabling dispatchers to see which of their vehicles is making the most pickups while letting the clients to see how much residual waste and recycling they are creating and how often they need to use the service.
The investment from Promecap, brings a wealth of experience and know-how to Rubicon. Run by the Chico family, one of whom, Fernando Chico Pardo, is a long-time associate of Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, Promecap has business interests in infrastructure and waste and will allow Rubicon to expand within the US market and beyond.
While Rubicon’s advance in the waste world has been significant, it has not proved without its pitfalls as it tries to break into a market that is dominated by the big waste management companies.
In June, Rubicon replaced its CFO less than two years after their initial appointment, while Rubicon terminated the contract of a new employee after they were accused of having downloaded thousands of pages of documents upon leaving previous comoany Waste Connections, a US waste management firm, while coming under fire at the US waste industry’s annual WasteExpo event as the big waste companies scorned the claim that Rubicon’s model was more environmentally friendly than others.
Despite this, the company has made great strides, underlined by its $1-billion valuation, and plans to expand its US operations to 15 cities by the end of the year.