AMP Robotics raises $91m for AI-based recycling

AMP Robotics raises $91m for AI-based recycling

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

AMP Robotics in Denver, Colorado, has raised $91m to boost the development of its artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies for the waste and recycling industry.

The  Series C financing was led by Congruent Ventures and Wellington Management as well as new and existing investors including Blue Earth Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), Tao Capital Partners, XN, Sequoia Capital, GV, Range Ventures, and Valor Equity Partners. This new round of funding follows a $55 million Series B financing led by XN in January 2021. 

AMP’s proprietary technology applies computer vision and deep learning to identify and recover plastics, cardboard, paper, cans, cartons, and many other containers and packaging types reclaimed for raw material processing. The company’s AI platform, AMP Neuron, has recognized more than 50 billion objects in real-world conditions, making it the largest known dataset of recyclable materials for machine learning. 

“Advancements in robotics and automation are accelerating the transformation of traditional infrastructure, and AMP is seeking to reshape the waste and recycling industries,” said Michael DeLucia, sector lead for Climate Investing, Wellington Management. “By bringing digital intelligence to the recycling industry, AMP can sort waste streams and extract additional value beyond what is otherwise possible.”

AMP will use the latest funding to scale its business operations while continuing its international expansion from the US.

Demand for robotics to retrofit existing recycling infrastructure continues to grow. The new capital will enhance manufacturing capacity to support a fleet of approximately 275 robots around the world and further AMP’s ongoing development of AI-enabled automation applications for recycling. This includes AMP Vortex to recover film and flexible packaging. AMP also has three production facilities in the Denver, Atlanta, and Cleveland metropolitan areas.

“Our focus from the outset has been our application of AI-powered automation to economically and sustainably improve our global recycling system,” said Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics. “We’ve been fortunate to attract a passionate team, loyal customers, and visionary investors along the way. With this new funding, we’ll accelerate our efforts to modernize and expand our recycling infrastructure, aiding society’s path to a circular economy.” 

“AMP’s technology is rewriting the economics of recycling, marrying purpose with profit for our recycling partners,” said Abe Yokell, co-founder and managing partner of Congruent Ventures.  “It is a privilege to be able to support such a mission-driven team as they have grown from an eight-person operation to an industry leader.”

“We look forward to supporting the AMP team in scaling cost-effective waste management solutions for the circular economy using technology, efficiency, and automation,” added Kayode Akinola, head of Private Equity at Blue Earth Capital. “AMP is helping to promote emissions reductions and resource efficiency whilst meeting a growing demand for recycled materials.” 

Through its secondary sortation model, AMP recovers mixed paper, metals, and a portfolio of #1-#7 plastics in a variety of form factors and attributes with high precision and purity, with a special focus on plastic blends uniquely enabled by AI. The company resells these commodities, including bespoke chemical and polymer blends needed by processors and manufacturers, to end-market buyers. 

Brian Barlow, co-founder and co-CEO of SIP, added, “Given our unique focus on technology-enabled infrastructure systems, we’ve supported AMP since its early seed fundraise and seen it grow AI into an essential piece of the industry. We look forward to continuing to provide strategic guidance about how its technology can be commercially scaled into the physical environment, including AMP’s secondary facilities.”

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