Startups for years tackling the recycling crisis took place in relative anonymity. But for those who hold out — or have survived the lean times — investors are now rewarding them with growing support, three founders told me this week at TC Sessions: Climate 2022 in Berkeley.
“Traditionally, it was very difficult to raise in space. I’ve seen that change a lot in the past year,” said Miranda Wang, co-founder and CEO of Novoloop, a plastic upcycling startup.
There were several catalysts behind that change, most of which can be traced to COVID.
“I don’t know if anyone remembers, but it was hard to get toilet paper there for a while,” said Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics, a robotics and AI vision startup specializing in the sorting of recyclable materials.
“We saw that the demand for toilet paper translated into the demand for recycled content, which translated into the demand for our systems at a time when it was very difficult to get people to work and people were afraid to touch packaging that may have come from households that had Covid. It was an accelerator for our company.”
The shortages in the COVID supply chain coupled with new business models have led to an increase in investor interest, the panelists said.